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Spirit of Tahiti coming to the PCC

The vibrant spirit of Tahiti will take the stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) 13th Annual Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti festival and dance competition from July 13-14. Attracting visitors and locals alike, the festival features tamarii (youth) and taurearea (adults) dancers from around the island who will compete in both the solo and group divisions. “It’s always a thrill to see the talent each year, especially when showcased though the different skill levels ranging from the eager-to-learn tamarii to experienced taurearea,”said Alfred Grace, PCC’s chief operating officer. “Sometimes we even see tamarii as young as three who come to display their skills and, even though they can only participate as exhibitioners, their passion for Tahitian culture at such a young age is always a joy to watch.”Due to popular demand, this year’s festival will welcome back the “invitational division,”which will feature only the most skilled and graceful dancers, many of whom have won the title of “Best Tahitian Solo Dancer”in a major heiva (celebration of Tahitian culture). The invitational division will run from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on July 13 in PCC’s Tahitian village. The solo and group performances will conclude the festival in the Pacific Theater on July 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Every year we time our Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti festival to coincide with the annual Heiva, or celebration of Tahitian culture, held in Papeete, Tahiti,”added Grace. “We are proud to have carried on this tradition for 13 years, paying tribute to Tahitian culture.”The group competitions include both otea and aparima styles of dance, while the solo competition focuses strictly on otea. The otea is the best-known Tahitian style of dance and incorporates fast, rhythmic movements and swishing hau skirts. The aparima, literally translated as “kiss of the hands,”is a slower dance that uses the hands to tell a story similar to the Hawaiian hula. Tane, or male, dancers will be judged on their paoti – the masculine style of ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) that features sharp scissor-like movements of the legs. Dancers are judged in each category based on their skill, grace and for their otea, speed. All dancers will also be judged on their costume, the coordination and timing of their dance with the drumming, and the overall presentation of their performance. Admission to the event is $10 for adults, ages 12 and up, and $6 for keiki, ages five to eleven. Kamaaina Annual Pass holders, full-day ticket holders and keiki under the age of five receive free admission. (http://www.Polynesia.com)

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