There were no towels used, only palm fronds and dry leaves. The fire knife dance dates back to the ancient Polynesian demonstration of ailao, which was a Samoan warrior's display of strength using a war club and was typically performed at ceremonial processions. [1] These war clubs were often edged with the teeth of sharks, saw fish, swordfish, and other sea creatures. When European and American whalers and traders began commercial ventures in Samoa, they introduced the natives to the long-handled blubber knife and the hooked cane knife. Samoan Fire Knife Double, Wick Made of Kevlar, Sold Each - Polynesian Competition Spec. In the mid 20th century, the ancient traditions were commercialized and westernized. "Siva afi" redirects here. Some of the moves performed in shows now are more modern and flashy than traditional battle preparations. [4] Upon his departure, the Tongan monarch delivered a short speech that praised the brave fighting qualities of the Samoan warriors and conceded victory to his once-subjects. The “father” of the Samoan Fire Knife Dance was 84. The bride changes into her second wedding gown and performs a traditional Samoan dance (Taualuga) for the guests. Over time, the performing implement has changed. Eventually, the exposed portion was part of the handle. The fire knife is a traditional Samoan cultural implement that is used in ceremonial dances. One common claim is that the word "nifo'oti" means "tooth of death", but this is not linguistically accurate as Samoan syntax places the modifier after the subject; according to Samoan grammar, the term "nifo'oti" would actually mean "dead tooth", hardly as intimidating as the former translation. Traditional competitions were hotly contested. It’s exciting to see the culture of Samoa take center stage with participation from people around the world.”. During night dances, torches were often twirled and swung about by dancers, although a warclub was the usual implement used for ailao in remembrance of the three brothers Tuna, Fata, and Savea and their defeat of the Tongan invaders. MAUGA MU: The Fire Knife Dance Club. [1] These war clubs were often edged with the teeth of sharks, saw fish, swordfish, and other sea creatures. A fast, energetic slap dance, the fa’ataupati is performed by men wearing traditional lavalava and women wearing puletasi, a two-piece garment. These anava were frequently carved with serrated edges and jagged "teeth" which characterized the unique Samoan weapon called the "nifo'oti". The seeds of rebellion were planted, according to legend, by three brothers—the "sons" of Atiogie, namely Savea, Tuna, Fata—and a fourth Toa warrior, Ulumasui (who was actually a grandson of Atiogie). Local high schools showcase their Samoan cultural skills in chiefly oratory, cultural games and in the song and dance presentation. Now, when one travels to Hawaii, it is quite common to see commercial 'Fire Knife Dancing' performed with wooden or aluminum poles wrapped in towels. Siva AFi Nifo Oti Samoan Fire Dance Blade Torch Polynesian Fire Dancer Hawaii Luau ALOHABRUSHART. The Samoan fire knife dance is more than a popular spectacle that adds sizzle to a Hawaiian luau. Other Samoan dances include the Maulu'ulu, which is an all-female dance that is more elegant. 5 out of 5 stars (52) 52 reviews $ 300.00. Pork is the most popular meat eat… Boy performing a Samoa fire dance - siva afi Samoan dance traditions reflect contact between Samoan culture and other cultures from the East and West. The sasa is a group dance performed sitting to a drum rhythm. The Fire knife dance or Siva Afi is the most popular Samoan dance among tourists in Samoa. In 2010, the event expanded to four nights including a two-night, three-person final competition. There’s even a Junior World Fire Knife Competition, which spotlights youngsters ranging in ages from 12 to 17. He had won a scholarship from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Samoan culture has many visually exciting dances, or siva, such as the Siva Afi (“fireknife”), in which dancers twirl and toss a single- or double-bladed knife lit on fire. The characteristic metal hook of these tools was readily incorporated into the Samoan wooden nifo'oti, which bears the unique hooked element whether carved from wood or forged from steel. From shop Kpohana. Fire was a part of Tavita's dance as he found it just as it was described in the book from the library. This story struck him deeply, because he had never heard of this from his elders. Slow and fluid, the siva is a graceful storytelling dance that is traditionally performed by a young woman. Then, they utilized their nifo oti, which have remained the same design for the last millennia as those favored when the Samoans were actually head hunters, to behead the victim, while the hook carried the trophy. The Samoan warriors arrived to prepare their entertainment for Tu'i Tonga Talakaifaiki. Samoan Fire Knife Dancers The grand finale of many Polynesian revues and luaus, the thrilling fireknife dancer astounds audiences with dazzling displays of athleticism, fire and danger. As night set in, the Festivities and party progressed, more "bush gin" was consumed, and the Samoan warriors "performed" for the king. The knives used by performers in American Samoa are still made of machetes, although they are often dulled for younger dancers. Many other Polynesian Islands have implemented the Siva Afi into their own Island shows especially in the Islands of Tahiti, Hawai'i, Cook Islands Fiji and Tonga. He eventually returned to Samoa to bring back this part of the Samoan Culture that was unheard of until he performed. 5 out of 5 stars (60) … Each May, competitors from around the world gather on the island’s North Shore to display their fire knife skills. After that, for years he taught the dance and judged many contests in Samoa and other countries. Letuli Olo Misilagi was the first man to add fire to the traditional Samoan ailao, or knife dance. “(In 1946), I was asked to perform my knife dance at a Shriners Convention in San Francisco,” he wrote. Tribal performers of fire knife dancing (or Siva Afi as it is called in Samoa) dance while twirling the knife and doing other acrobatic stunts. The space in which dance is conducted has been interpreted as a microcosm of Samoan society. The modern fire knife dance has its roots in the ancient Samoan exhibition called ailao – the flashy demonstration of a Samoan warrior's battle prowess through artful twirling, throwing and catching, and dancing with a war club. The use of the umu is a hallmark of the traditional Samoan cooking. $179.97. Polynesian historians and authorities on Samoan cultural history state that the training of Toa warriors in the art of hand to hand combat with the Nifo Oti, the serrated-edged Samoan war club, came into prominence between 900 - 1200 AD. The Superintendent of the Mormon school where Tavita was teaching at the time was able to calm the audience and assure them that no harm would come to them. However, it did not actually become a tool for fire dance until the mid-20th century, after Uluao Letuli performed the first ailao (Samoan knife dance) on fire. Before the introduction of metals, the most common clubs that were wielded and displayed in the ailao fashion were elaborately carved heirloom clubs called anava. by:Trick Concepts 5.0 out of 5 stars 1. The warriors then stormed the beach, recovered the weapons and set them ablaze as they proceeded to drive the Tongans in a bloody battle all the way across the island, from east to the westernmost point of Upolu. Fire Twirling Baton 3/8" 4.3 out of 5 stars 7. There was fierce fighting all the way to the sea, whereon the Tu'i Tonga reached his superior navy vessels and called out to those on the land. These performances are often part of Luau festivities or Polynesian shows that include Poi Ball performances. They danced and pointed out the locations of the buried weapons to other Samoan warriors, who were waiting in small paopaos (canoes) offshore. It’s a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation, with each adding a new layer of style, boldness, and skill. Flaming Sword of Samoa is available at Hawaii bookstores as well as through the publisher. Samoa has a long history of Siva afi or firedancing. This particular design is an open wrap with a tie string so it is highly suggested that you use tights underneath. Samoan Fire Knife Dance Lava Lava Kpohana. The Samoan fire knife dance is more than a popular spectacle that adds sizzle to a Hawaiian luau. The art of dipping poi balls into fuel and lighting them on fire did not occur until the mid 20th century, as a progression of the Samoan fire knife. Film and edit by Amir Zakeri Music was created by my brother Alexander. This Lava Lava is a wrap-around the dancer uses when performing the Samoan Fire Knife Dance. Freddie Letuli, (April 30, 1919 as Uluao Letuli Misilagi in the village of Nu'uuli in American Samoa – 2003), originated the fire knife dance in 1946 at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, previously dancing in Hawaii and Los Angeles with two knives. The three brothers and their nephew eventually lead a wide-scale campaign of civil disobedience, which ultimately escalated into the military overthrow of Talakaifaiki. In 2007, the championships were expanded to welcome competitors in a duet category and a women's category. The Tongans had ruled parts of Samoa (Upolu and Savai'i) but were not able to conquer the Eastern Samoan Islands, namely Manu'a and Manono, whose warriors famously held off Tongan and Fijian invasions on numerous occasions. The baton twirler, then the fire-eater. The Samoan fire knife dance is more than a popular spectacle that adds sizzle to a Hawaiian luau. In his recently published book, Flaming Sword of Samoa: The Story of the Samoan Fire Knife Dance (2004, Watermark Publishing), Letuli revealed how he got the idea to add fire to his knife dance routine. The competition began in 1992 and is always held during the third week of May. He was rewarded for the notices and tourists he encouraged to visit his beloved homeland with the High Chief Title, A'e, from the head of state Malietoa Tanumafili II. Fa’ataupati. Boy performing a Samoan fire dance (siva afi). It is customary for the older family members to eat first, followed by the younger ones and the children. Originally a knife dance using the Nifo Oti, it's grown into an activity that is done all over the world and eve Siva afi -- Samoan Fire Dance He was determined to incorporate this treasure into his island dance routine. 4.5 out of 5 stars (31) 31 reviews $ 35.00. Today, of course, the Samoan fire knife dance is a show-stopping staple in Polynesian revues or luaus. Samoan dance is most famous for the siva afi, or fire knife dance, nowadays the capper to nearly every Polynesian revue and luau. And just like that, I had an idea to add ‘sizzle’ to my fire knife dance.”. That is added to the knife Tin 1946 by a Samoan knife dancer named Freddie Letuli, later to become Paramount Chief Letuli Olo Misilagi. After he read this information, in his spare time, he researched anything that he could find about his homeland. In Samoan culture, all girls are taught from a young age to do this dance… From shop ALOHABRUSHART. The wooden handle gradually lengthened and the blade got shorter. Therefore, the most probable derivation of the term "nifo'oti" stems from the resemblance of the weapon's hook to the curved horn ("nifo") of a goat ("'oti"), or from the serrated teeth ("nifo") that formed the weapon's cutting edge ('oti). Favorite Add to Printed Samoan Fire Knife Dance Malu Kpohana. The traditional Samoan dance is the siva. On Sundays, large meals are cooked in the umu and served to all family members. When pronounced with the glottal stop, the word 'oti does not mean "death" at all; as a verb, 'oti means "to cut" as in 'otiulu ("hair cut"), or, as a noun, it refers to the domestic goat. The history of the dance is hundreds of years old and is supposed to highlight a warriors prowess in battle. It is probable that the danger of sharpened blades and the demand for multiple daily shows by top performers has caused the sharpened blade to disappear entirely from commercial performances. Originally it was created by machete wrapped in tissue or towels on the ends. It was originally composed of a machete wrapped in towels on both ends with a portion of the blade exposed in the middle. [2] It was conceived on the Island of Upolu between the years 1200 - 1250 AD, coming into cultural prominence during the reign of King Maui Tagote. After many cuts, burns, and narrow escapes, he was able to perfect this dance, to the point where he performed it nightly at clubs and shows throughout not only the San Francisco area but the entire country. “A number of entertainers were practicing their routines at Golden State Park. Notice the strain in the performer's face and body. Siva afi is a spectacular fire knife dance. This was while WWII was being fought in part in his beloved South Pacific. The towels are set afire during the dances thus explaining the name. The Samoans buried weapons (nifo oti) in the sand all around the beach area as they plied the Tongans with "bush gin". Bride’s traditional dance: After the ceremony, the reception occurs immediately. Since Uluao’s fire knife performance was such a success, the rest of the Polynesian dancing instruments such as poi, staff, and hoop were quickly modified to become fire-dancing toys. Fish and other seafood are widely eaten in Samoa. Siva Afi Entertainment has been teaching Samoa's youth the art of Fire Knife dancing for over 22 years. The Malietoa title is taken from the opening phrase of that speech: "Mālie toa, mālie tau," meaning "great warriors, well fought.". The Expulsion of The Tu'i Tonga Talakaifaiki (King of Tonga) & The Birth of Malietoa (King of Samoa), The Birth of Siva Afi. “I stared at the fire-eater, then the baton twirler. Mauga Mu home of the world reknown Samoan fire knife dance champion, Mikaele Oloa and his family! It’s a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation, with each adding a new layer of style, boldness, and skill. The fire knife is a well known traditional Polynesian (Samoan) cultural specific prop used by various ceremonial dancers. As such, they are often performed at accelerated speeds. Tribal performers of fire knife dancing (or Siva Afi or even "Ailao Afi" as it is called in Samoa) dance while twirling the knife and doing other acrobatic stunts. From shop Kpohana. The Samoan Siva Afi has become an integral part of any Polynesian Luau or show. The lava lava is sewn for a more contoured fit and is naturally worn short for increased The young man Tavita Vaoifi revived the Samoan ailao Siva Afi dance to eventually bring it home to Samoa from Hawai'i. [1] Today, modern competitions are held annually at the Polynesian Cultural Center to name the World Fireknife Champion. Letuli was performing in San Francisco and noticed a Hindu Fire eater and a little girl with lighted batons. Ancient legend speaks of 400 warriors who trained with their Nifo Oti. One more linguistic issue remains to be worked out in regards to 'oti (with the initial glottal stop) and "oti" (without the glottal stop). Mauga Mu is a name that is spreading like fire with its growth in multiple locations throughout O'ahu and its popularity beyond the Pacific. Driven westward from Aleipata, Upolu (where the Tu'i Tonga's birthday festivities were underway) to the coast of Mulifanua, the Tongan king and his bodyguards were cornered against the sea. From shop ALOHABRUSHART. The Siva Afi was originally performed with the Nifo Oti, which was very dangerous. Enjoy. Although today many commercial performers perform the dance with short staffs or knives without blade, this is not authentic fire knife dance and is unacceptable in Samoan cultural practices except for training purposes. Information from Viator Tour description. For the wrestler, see. Among them was a Hindu man named Abe Sing, who rehearsed his fire-eating routine. When he was able to come to America, he went to school, worked, and danced. Because of the close familial tribal ties with the aforementioned Islands and the Samoa Islands, the fire knife dance has almost become homogenized as part of those Islands' own culture. For approximately 200 years, the Tu'i Tonga Talakaifaiki established a long-term residence in ata Safotu, Savai'i, Samoa. There are fire knife dance competitions held throughout the Pacific, including the annual World Fire Knife Dance Competition at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) on Oahu. Siva Afi. Favorite Add to Samoan Practice Fire Knife Custom Siva Afi Fire Dance Prop Spin Tool Learning ALOHABRUSHART. They had wrapped both ends of their nifo-oti with dry palm sennit, which was then dipped into the fires to create a blaze on one end of the knife. Polynesian historians and authorities on Samoan cultural history state that the training of Toa warriors in the art of hand to hand combat with the Nifo Oti, the serrated-edged Samoan war club, came into prominence between 900 - 1200 AD. The ailao, a fierce traditional dance that involves the twirling of the nifo oti (war knife), was a pre-war ritual in Samoa used to psyche up warriors. The location for the Tu'i Tonga Talakaifaiki's upcoming birthday festivities was a beautiful famous stretch of beach in Aleipata, a region on the Eastern side of Upolu. The Tongans who were not killed eventually boarded boats and left Samoa for good. Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fire_knife&oldid=1000475137, Articles lacking in-text citations from July 2010, Articles needing additional references from July 2009, All articles needing additional references, Articles with multiple maintenance issues, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 2015: Joseph Cadousteau (Papeete, Tahiti), 2014: Viavia Tiumalu, Jr. (Orlando, Florida), 2013: Joseph Cadousteau (Papeete, Tahiti), 2012: Joseph Cadousteau (Papeete, Tahiti), 2011: Viavia Tiumalu, Jr. (Orlando, Florida), 2008: Viavia Tiumalu, Jr. (Orlando, Florida), 2007: Andrew "Umi" Sexton (Orlando, Florida), This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 07:44. The crowd in America, which came to find out what he had discovered about Samoa, were frightened when they saw him whirling the fire. Says event founder Pulefano Galeai, “This unique event combines great athletic skill, unflinching bravery and ever-present danger to bring out the best in these competitors. $49.95 - $57.95. Fire performance is a group of performance arts or skills that involve the manipulation of fire.Fire performance typically involves equipment or other objects made with one or more wicks which are designed to sustain a large enough flame to create a visual effect.. Fire performance includes skills based on juggling, baton twirling, poi spinning, and other forms of object manipulation. The towels are set afire during the dances, hence the name. Letuli died in July 2003 in Honolulu during the writing of the book. The umu is an earth oven where food is cooked by trapping it in a pit in the ground. Samoan warriors were called upon to dance and entertain the Tu'i Tonga Talakaifaiki during a birthday celebration for the King of Tonga. Along with performing, Freddie was also the teacher to the early fire knife dancers. Letuli Olo Misilagi was the first man to add fire to the traditional Samoan ailao, or knife dance. The Fire Knife Dance by devinsupertramp It was the favorite weapon of the Tui Manu'a Empire in the time of King Maui Tagote of the Eastern Samoan Island groups. Rice, taro, and coconut are other staples of the diet. Mrs. Tavita Vaoifi wrote, after being married to him for 12 years, from 1979 until his death in 1991 from Cyclone Val, the information about fire not being a part of the "Fireknife Dance" until 1946 is a mistake. Dec 1, 2012 - This photo captures the exciting finale in the physically demanding Samoan Fire Dance. The photo was taken in a low light setting in February 2010, with an Olympus digital camera. The female siva is with gentle movements of the hands and feet in time to music. It’s a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation, with each adding a new layer of style, boldness, and skill. The We Are Samoa Festival was established to perpetuate the values and traditions of the Samoan culture through learning and performance, thereby increasing knowledge, harmony, and respect for self and others. The ailao could be performed with any warclub, and some colonial accounts confirm that women also performed ailao at the head of ceremonial processions, especially daughters of high chiefs. Food is baked, smoked, or steamed in the umu. Their exhibitionists would almost rather die than seek medical care for injuries incurred while performing. A Samoan fire knife is used in traditional Pacific dance perfomances known as ailao. It was the favorite weapon of the Tui Manu'a Empire in the time of King Maui Tagote of the Eastern Samoan Island groups. 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