Adel Fruean of the samoaobserver wrote that the official launch of the Le Tiumasalasala Dance Theater was held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel earlier this year. Le Tiumasalasala Dance Theater director, 32-year-old Eterei Maiava Salele, said the troupe has 14 dancers including herself and was formed in August 2018. “The launch was to officially introduce Le Tiumasalasala into the community as a dance group and introducing all the programs and everything that we will be doing this year,” she said.
Ms. Salele added, “The production has been planned since last year and I had assistance from my two Fijian choreographers: Glenville Lord and Tulevu Tora. We all met through the late Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai because we were the core dancers for Seiuli. I am very blessed to have them come in and help out. The meaning of the show besides our launching was also to portray a lot of social issues that our country faces and also the world,” she said.
The dance group brings something different and unique in expressing themselves, culture, language and heritage through dancing. They believe that dancing is another way of showcasing arising issues that needs to be addressed and the consequences the Pacific Islanders face.
The dance group will focus on the celebration of life hence the name of the production, according to Eterei. “Alive is a reference of our thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for life which we have been blessed with. But we also looked at some serious issues are and using performing arts to portray the message that this is reality and it is happening. An example of one of the issues we conveyed through one of our performances was domestic violence.”
“I believe that putting it in a live show, showcases a different effect because people get to see and witness how it looks like. Another piece we did was climate change and the strongest production we did was injustice,” she added.
Finally, Ms. Salele said, “The name of our group refers to the full costume of the daughter of a high chief in a village which is known as a ‘taupou’ but the significance of the name is that it holds Samoan culture which is our identity and we intend to carry it with us wherever we go.”