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Four-Night Event Features World’s Best Fireknife Dancers “People’s Choice” Online Vote Following Friday, May 11 Performances

Laie, Hawaii – May 03, 2012 – For the first time in the competition’s 20-year history, all four-nights of the World Fireknife Championship, May 9-12, will be live streamed on WorldFireknife.com. Over the past two decades, the competition has become immensely popular among kamaaina (Hawaii residents) and visitors alike and now fans can catch every death-defying move live on any computer or mobile device.

Following the first night of finals on Friday, May 11, fans can also vote online for the new “People’s Choice Award,” recognizing their favorite competitor. Voting opens at 9 p.m. (HST) Friday night and closes at 8:45 p.m. (HST) the next evening on Saturday, with the winner announced at the championship ceremony that night. To view the live stream and to vote visit WorldFireknife.com.

“The live stream enables us to share the beautifully fierce art of Samoan fireknife dancing with people across the globe. It also gives family members who cannot be there in person the opportunity to see their love ones compete,” said Raymond Magalei, Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) director of marketing. “Every year the judges have their work cut out for them as the finalists are always so closely matched. The People’s Choice Award is a fun way for the fans to have their voices heard.”

The preliminary senior competition will take place at PCC’s Hale Aloha on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:45 p.m. (HST), followed by senior semi-finals, open group and Junior Pacific competitions on Thursday, May 10, at the same time and in the same venue. Beginning Friday, May 11, three finalists will move to PCC’s Pacific Theater to take part in a two-night battle for the championship during intermission of the Ha: Breath of Life evening show at approximately 8:15 p.m. (HST). Friday’s performance of Ha: Breath of Life will be followed by an online “People’s Choice Award” voting at WorldFireknife.com. The top three will battle again during the show’s intermission on Saturday, May 12. The 2012 World Fireknife Champion will be crowned following the conclusion of Ha: Breath of Life at 9 p.m. (HST) with a victory ceremony held in the champion’s honor. At that time the “People’s Choice Award” will also be announced.

Competitors are judged on specific criteria including the vili tasi (one hand spin) and vili lua (two hand spin), among others. A full list of criteria can be found in the “Judging” tab of WorldFireknife.com. The “People’s Choice Award” will not be based on the same criteria and is awarded purely on fan voting.

The modern fireknife dance stems from the Samoan ailao, a warrior’s knife dance performed with the nifo oti, or “tooth of death.” This dance was displayed before battle to frighten the enemy and, afterwards, to celebrate victory. Today, the art of fireknife has become one of the most intense, skillful and beautiful of Samoan traditions. The modern version consists of spinning a sharp knife with both ends ablaze at high speeds, and requires acute precision and acrobatic finesse. The fire is very real, and dancers often, and sometimes intentionally, make contact with the flames.

For more information or to make reservations, visit WorldFireknife.com, or call the PCC ticket office at (800) 1-844-572-2347 .

Founded in 1963 as a non-profit organization, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has entertained more than 36 million visitors, while preserving and portraying the culture, arts and crafts of Polynesia to the rest of the world. In addition, the PCC has provided financial assistance to nearly 17,000 young people from more than 70 different countries while they attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii. As a non-profit organization, 100 percent of PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support education.