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Female choreographers open Pacific Dance Festival

16 June 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

The evolution of dance was a common theme in last night's opening for the Pacific Dance Festival in Auckland. 

Wahine Toa showcased strong choreography from four Pacific women: Tepaeru–Ariki Lulu French, Ufitia Sagapolutele, Losalia Milika Pusiaki and Julia Mage'au Gray.

Traditional versus modern was a strong narrative in all the stories expressed through dance.

Ave by Ufitia Sagapolutele. Photo/ PRN. 

It was the first professional piece for Samoan choreographer, Ufitia Sagapolutele. 

The 23-year-old's dance was a mix of contemporary hip-hop and traditional siva samoa.

She says she wants to empower Pacific creatives to go against the grain. 

"I know that it might be controversial because I don't have a full traditional Samoan piece," she says. "But challenging ideas is what art is all about."

Ave by Ufitia Sagapolutele. Photo/ PRN. 

Tongan choreographer, Losalio Milika Pusiaki followed through with the theme, with a piece where modern dance challenged traditional dance.

Pusiaki says she's learnt to embrace the old and new styles of the art and hopes Pacific peoples do too.

"It's a message for parents and their children to accept each other," she says. "There's the traditional side but there's also the contemporary side."

It was Pusiaki's first time contributing to the Pacific Dance Festival. She says dance plays a vital role in the Pacific community.

"That's where our identity, our values and our culture is preserved," she says. 

The festival will run till June 24, at the Mangere Arts Centre. 

South Meets West by Losalio Milika Pusiaki. Photo/ PRN. 

South Meets West by Losalio Milika Pusiaki.

Samoan choreographer Ufitia Sagapolutele (centre) with her dancers. Photo/ PRN. 

Malia Pusiaki (left) with Tongan choreographer Losalio Milika Pusiaki. Photo/ PRN. 

Tags: Pacific Dance Festival, Ufitia Sagapolutele, Losalio Milika Pusiaki,