Kia Mau Festival: collaboration and cohesion shine in the raw TINĀ
Performed by a strong cast of women, TINĀ explores the concepts of motherhood and mana wahine.
Kia Mau Festival: TINĀ by Collectif TULOU and O Le Pa’a Ona Vae by Samoana Nokise. Xavier Muao Breed review – Villages of Sāmoa: Lotofaga (Aleiptata), Matatufu, Falelatai, Falefā
The work of the dance, TINĀ which means “mother” in Samoan, is an overview of the concepts around motherhood and what it means to be a teine toa or a strong woman of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean).
There is collaboration and cohesion between the five strong, beautiful and graceful Pacific women on stage, with raw choreography and performativity. The feeling of brotherhood among the performers and the understanding of one’s own mana is fascinating, even with the slightest movement.
Highlights include a solo section with Faith Schuster, performing Siva Sāmoa (Samoan dance), with robotic and messy movement, reflected in a pre-recorded Samoan song; the climatic groups sections which highlight the performances and technical prowess of the TULOU collective and the incredible Siva Sāmoa, choreographed by Idalene Ati, to complete the work.
* Creative associations celebrate the extraordinary pioneers of Atamira in TE WHEKE
* Indigenous art showcased at the Kia Mau festival
* Pacific War Service honored with conch sculpture
The transitions between each section of TINĀ need more attention to transport audience members from one part of the story to the next. The work has the potential to be developed and shown in a range of performance spaces, particularly where Pasifika can access the work.
TINĀ was not just a celebration of Pacific women and Pacific mothers, but a statement that contemporary dance vocabulary and works belong to all women, regardless of body shape, technical background and origin cultural.
Ufitia Sagapolutele, Lyncia Müller and Schuster, along with guest dancers Lavender Ta’ale Tuigamala and Funaki Taulanga, redefine what it means to be a contemporary dance practitioner in Aotearoa, New Zealand and inspire other young women of the Pacific to move however they want and feel good about themselves.
“E sui faiga ae tumau faavae”, the alaga’upu Sāmoa or Samoan proverb conveys the message that although our practices may change, the foundations remain the same. The show The Pa’a Ona Vae, of Samoana Nokise and her powerful troop of movers (Jacob Ioapo, Wahia Te Pouri Felise, Petesa Maea), is a perfect example of this proverb.
The cast explores the evolution of Siva Sāmoa (Samoan dance) – incorporating elements of contemporary dance while retaining traditional dance techniques such as se’e (gliding of the feet) and a spirituality that underlies Siva Sāmoa. They take their ancestors, their family and their village with them through the choreography.
O Le Pa’a Ona Vae represents Samoan storytelling at its best – clean, mature choreography taking audience members on a malaga (journey); the ability of performers to move between female and male movement qualities; the nostalgic voices and sounds of the Sāmoa – the guitar igi (Samoan guitar picking technique); the hymns and pese (songs) that transport me to a family tona’i (feast) and gathering, or to the rooms of a church; and the reminder of how physically demanding and difficult Siva Sāmoa can be, when done with all of his spiritual, emotional and physical being.
Both TINĀ and O Le Pa’a Ona Vae symbolize an exciting time in the arts sector in Aotearoa, where more of our artists who have moved to Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, share the measina (gifts) of our Pacific homelands – the culture, the practices, the languages and songs through contemporary works.
TULOU Collective and Samoana Nokise shared their creative talents at the Kia Mau Festival by putting alofa (love) and fa’aaloalo (respect) at the center of their practice and uplifting their collaborators in the process and the product. Respect, admiration, and support for these Teine Toa were shown through the villages who stepped forward to support them. Mālō lava le galue – Thank you for all your work.