May is just around the corner and you know what that means? Intense training for Samoan Fire Knife Dancers that are competing in this year’s World Fire Knife Championship at the Polynesian Cultural Center in La`ie, HI!
Every year, dancers from around the world come together to a tiny town on the North Shore of O`ahu and compete in this prestigious event. Being at the cultural center is just beyond belief… and watching competitors come from Japan, Tahiti, Samoa and throughout the United States is truly a humbling experience.
This year, proves no different except for the fact that Mikaele Oloa will be defending his title yet again. He is the current Champion and currently holds quite a few records in the Samoan Fire Knife Dance World:
- The youngest to win the senior title at age 15 in 2005
- The first to compete with 3 and 4 knives simultaneously (2005)
- First to compete with the double-hooked knife founded by his father, Isitolo Oloa (2005)
- First to win the World Title 5 times (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2016)
Not only that, but the Mauga Mu Fire Knife Dance School continues to be arguably the most decorated school in the World nearly cleaning out two of the three divisions held at the event last year.
Yes, the pressure is on, but regardless of the results, this is not an easy competition. With it’s cultural core deep rooted in the danger of warrior instincts, we take a deep breath and spend a moment to say our deepest prayers for a safe competition for all dancers. Even though what you see on the stage is a competition, back stage is a elite Brotherhood (and Sisterhood) where everyone loves each other, respects the talent and courage it takes to do this and supports each other through all cultural, gender and language barriers– “Brothers-in-Fire.”
See you in La`ie!