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, Mikaele Oloa will be defending his title yet again. He is the current Champion and also 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! It’s cultural core is deep rooted in primal warrior instincts; therefore, we must also take a deep breath and spend a moment to say our deepest prayers for a safe competition. Although what you see on stage is an intense competition between the best dancers in the world, back stage is truly a different story. The mood is that of an elite Brotherhood (and Sisterhood). Each competitor may come from a different cultural background, religion, gender or speak a different language, but there is no barrier that will keep them from expressing their love and respect for each other. Each competitor understands the dangers of what they do and what each other will put on the line once they reach the stage– a dynamic experience that only the brave few will ever know. Truly “Brothers-in-Fire.”
See you in La`ie!