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PCC’s ‘We Are Samoa’ Fest Has Fireknife, High School Contests

Mikaele Oloa of Waialua (right) tied for second place in the senior division with Laie's Malo Matau at the 2013 World Fireknife Championships at Polynesian Cultural Center - the first tie in its 22-year history. The 2014 competition is set for May 7-10 at the Laie attraction. Photo courtesy Polynesian Cultural Center.

Mikaele Oloa of Waialua (right) tied for second place in the senior division with Laie’s Malo Matau at the 2013 World Fireknife Championships at Polynesian Cultural Center – the first tie in its 22-year history. The 2014 competition is set for May 7-10 at the Laie attraction. Photo courtesy Polynesian Cultural Center.

They’ll be playing with fire – literally – at Polynesian Cultural Center from May 7-10.

The Laie attraction’s We Are Samoa Festival will include the 22nd annual World Fireknife Championships, as well as a chance for high school students to showcase their Samoan cultural savvy.

As its name would suggest, fireknife dancing, known as siva afi in Samoa, involves dancing with a blade wrapped in burning towels. The danger is real, though dancers are trained to deal with burns and cuts.

The dancing gets under way at 6:30 p.m. on May 7 (senior division preliminary) and May 8 (junior division competition, senior division semifinals and group competition) at Hale Aloha. Admission is $10 and $6, though annual pass holders get in free.

In order to watch the two-part final round, attendees will need to buy tickets for “Ha: Breath of Life,” as it will run during the show’s intermission at 8:15 p.m. May 9 and 9 p.m. May 10 in Pacific Theater. Tickets for the show start at $39.95, with special rates available for kamaaina.

Students will spend the daylight hours in a safer way from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10 as they participate in the High School Samoan Cultural Arts Festival, where they will show off their talents at basket weaving, coconut husking, fire making, costuming, dancing and oratory, among other skills. Regular day admission to PCC applies.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit Polynesia.com or call 293-3333.

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