Nephew continuing Seiuli Allan Alo's legacy
The Samoa Performance Arts & Creative Excellence (S.P.A.C.E), a performance arts academy designed to allow young people to express themselves through dance and music continues to grow.
S.P.A.C.E was created by the late Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai. Since his passing, the baton has been passed on and carried by his nephew, Valentino Alo Maliko and colleague Glenville Christopher Lord.
Mr. Maliko has a degree in Pacific Performing Arts from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts in New Zealand. He said he wants to continue to carry Seiuli's legacy through what the academy was created to do.
The academy has a roll of 18 students.
"When he passed away in 2017, I came over and I kind of saw that there was no one taking over the studio so I decided I might as well stay and continue on his legacy and try my best to," Mr. Maliko said.
" What he mainly stood for was to try and get the child street vendors off the street and use their talents."
He said business has been slow but he continues to motivate people that performing arts can be a career path for the many talented people in Samoa.
"Samoans and Pacific islanders were born natural singers and born natural performers, it's our everyday life routine," he said.
Asked if he will offer support to the child street vendors in learning performing arts, he stated that they are trying their best to work on the studio to get to a place where they can offer it again.
"We need to generate funds and we are offering dance classes in terms of hip hop, contemporary Pacific, we've got aerialists and we have got vocal classes as well," he said.
"The reason why we are trying to generate these funds through these classes and through the entertainments that we provide for companies is to complete the maintenance of what Allan had started. So we are trying to finish doing all the bathrooms, we want to put in a recording studio and make an office area."
One of his biggest achievements since co-directing S.P.A.C.E is being one of the Head Choreographers in the 2019 Pacific Games.
"It was an amazing experience," he said. "Everyone was really appreciative of the flavor that I brought with what I have learned and fuse it together with traditional Samoan dance."
He emphasized that their main focus for the students is to become their own choreographers.
"Through the process, since I have been here I have watched them all grow individually and seeing what I am teaching them and fusing it with their own kind of flavor. I think that's the most satisfying part, is to see them grow from ever since I have been here," he said.
His advice to everyone is don't give up, "even if you know it will be really hard especially if your family is not into the whole performing arts thing but as long as you don't give up and as long as you've got the passion and drive for it then anything is possible with God."
Co-director of S.P.A.C.E, Glenville Christopher Lord who is also the academy's aerialist trainer told the Samoa Observer that becoming an aerialist has its pros and its cons.
"Training is intense. Through hard work and training, you get to where you want to get to," he said.
"It takes commitment, it takes discipline, it takes passion as well. You will succeed if you put in that hard work, that extra effort and you see it through," he said.
According to him, they had recently opened up their aerial classes and currently have 3 local students who have registered for it.
"It may look difficult but its actually a fun thing to do but at the same time it teaches you discipline," he said.
"Doing aerial, you need to have full control of your mind while you are in the air. You can't be thinking about what is happening at home, what's happening here, what's happening there, you have to control your mind, discipline your body to be able to do what you need to do in the air."