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Top Junior and Group Competitors Emerge in 2nd Day of World Fireknife Championship

Top Junior and Group Competitors Emerge in 2nd Day of World Fireknife Championship

Final competition continues Friday and Saturday nights

Laie, HI – May 13, 2011 – Midway through the 19th Annual World Fireknife Cha mpionships, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has anointed the winning competitors of the Junior and Group divisions, with two days of fiery competition remaining to determine this year’s World Fireknife Champion.

Thursday’s winners were:

Junior Pacific Division
Ages 6-11:
1. Hale Motuapuaka of Aiea, Hawaii
2. James “KJ” Ahloy of Laie, Hawaii
3. Desmond Talia of Honolulu, Hawaii

Ages 12-17:
1. Malo Matau of Laie, Hawaii
2. Keenan Chung of Kaneohe, Hawaii
3. Achilles Tafiti of Laie, Hawaii

Open Group Competition
1. Brandonlee, Jeurell and Malaki Lavatai
2. Jaz and UaMana Castillo
3. Hale Motuapuaka, Mila and Taleon Lele, and Natalie-Rose Oloa (featuring “secret weapon” 6-year-old “HJ”)

Finals Continue
The World Fireknife Championships continues Friday with the first of two days of championship finals, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on both days in the 2,675-seat Pacific Theater, home of PCC’s evening show, Ha: Breath of Life. Following the completion of Thursday’s semi-final competition, three leaders have emerged:
● 3 Time World Fireknife Champion, David Galeai of Laie, Hawaii
● Julian Maeva of Pago Pago, America Samoa
● 2008 World Fireknife Champion Viavia “VJ” Tiumalu of Orlando, Florida

Competitive fireknife performances will be held during Ha: Breath of Life intermission on Friday and Saturday, providing added spectacle to an already visually and culturally dynamic experience. The 2011 World Fireknife Champion will be crowned at the conclusion of Saturday’s evening show in a prestigious victory ceremony held in the champion’s honor.

In addition, prior to the World Fireknife Championships final face-off Saturday evening, the Pacific Theater will also serve as a venue for the annual We Are Samoa, High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival. In the festival, Hawaii high school students will demonstrate their own cultural knowledge of Samoan traditions with exhibitions in basket weaving, coconut husking and fire making, among other events.

The modern fireknife dance stemmed 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 afterward to celebrate victory. Today, the art of fireknife dancing has become one of the most intense, skillful and beautiful of Samoan traditions. The modern dance consists of twirling a sharp knife, with both ends on fire, at high speeds and requires acute precision and acrobatic finesse. The fire is very real, and dancers often make contact with the flames, some times intentionally.

Admission to daytime activities at the PCC is $10 for adults, ages 15 and up, and $6 for keiki ages five to 14. Kamaaina Annual Pass holders get in free. To join in on the final two nights of fireknife competition, visitors must purchase a reserved seating ticket to the Ha: Breath of Life night show each evening. Advanced reservations are highly recommended as the event sells out every year.

For more information or to make reservations, visit www.polynesia.com, or call the PCC ticket office at 1-844-572-2347 or. On Oahu, call (808) 293-3333.

Founded in 1963 as a non-profit organization, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has entertained more than 34 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 17,000 young people from over 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.