She was only three feet tall, maybe six years old and she was twirling a knife. Did I mention this knife was on fire?
Last year Cale and I attended the 7th International Siva Afi Competition (follow the link to get the details) finals. Last year we only saw the older competitors in the junior division. The younger kids had been eliminated the night before. They may have had amazing skills for their age — but the division includes much older, more experienced dancers who went on to the finals.
This year we went to all three nights of the competition. On the second night we were there for the semi-finals for the junior division. We got to watch these tiny performers show off their impressive skills.
The first night of competition was the senior preliminaries. More than a dozen dancers strutted their stuff; twirling, throwing and occasionally dropping large, sharp, flaming knives.
I thought I recognized one of the dancers and when the top five competitors were announced, I found I was correct. One of the semi-finalists graduated from my school the year before. He had performed at our Prize-Giving.
We went back the second night with someone to root for. Unfortunately, my student didn't make it to the final three. The finals night came down to a dancer from Disneyland Hong Kong, a dancer from the Maliu Mai bar and restaurant and a dancer from Savai'i.
The eventual champion was Hong Kong. Though he dropped his knives a few times, he was doing moves far more complex than the others, including some sort of back round-off meets hand-spring thing while twirling flaming knives.
I thought the Maliu Mai guy's performance deserved second place, but he only came in third. The dancer from Savai'i was very good, but the Maliu Mai guy had amazing stage presence and was equally as good.
Once again, the siva afi competition was spectacular, the intermission performances were fun, the MCs jokes were quirky and we discovered that Laumei Faiaga has delicious fries and spring rolls. All in all, an awesome experience.
More pictures on the flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/seereeves