American Samoan Dance Group Celebrates 20 Years

Le Taupou Manaia (LTM) is a recognized name in entertainment not just in American Samoa, but Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii and parts of the US where the group has toured. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Le Tapupou Manaia who celebrated with a 20th anniversary bash at the Tradewinds Pavilion in Pago Pago, American Samoa, last month. The group honored all of its former students, parents, friends and families who have helped the school over the years.

Established in 1999 in American Samoa with its mission statement: “Promoting Fa’aSamoa Preservation Through the Next Generation”, what sets Le Taupou Manaia apart from the rest is “Siva Fa’aTaupou” or “Samoa’s Princess Dance”. The group did this through the siva (traditional Samoan dance), teaching girls from an early age the proper dance movements and the meaning of songs and their proper portrayal in the form of siva. Since its formation, LTM has taught over 5,000 young tama’itai Samoa on the Siva-Fa’a-Taupou.

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LTM has sister groups in Orange County, California; Apia, Samoa; and soon to be – Auckland, New Zealand, where they will travel to launch on March 30, 2019 at Malaeola Community Center, in Mangere – a combined Tour with Le Taupou Manaia, Samoa and California.

One of the feats of the group is it’s the only one from American Samoa to win the siva competition at the Annual Teuila Festival in Samoa; this was in 2004. Also, in 2004 the Mayor of Carson, California presented a Certificate of Appreciation following a Cultural Exchange with Carson City Art Center. In 2005 the dance group represented the Samoan community in Hawaii during the State of Hawaii’s 100th year (Centennial Celebration). The Mayor of Hawaii declared July 8th in Hawaii “ LE TAUPOU-MANAIA DAY.”

Throughout the month of March 2019 the dance group went on a tour of New Zealand. They performed at the annual Pasifika Festival, Auckland War Memorial Museum; visited colleges in NZ and performed there – Baradene, Epson, Carmel, Mangere and Avondale. They also collaborated and exchanged with Pacific Dance New Zealand Dance Studio under the direction of Sefa Enari, and Leleiga O Aiga (LOA) from Honolulu, Hawaii, another dance group that participated in The Pasifika Festival, under the direction of ‘MANUSAMOA” Henry Andrew Sataraka.

LTM would like to honor and appreciate all of its former students, parents, friends, and families that have helped the school in many ways, over the years. Most especially, Le Taupou-Manaia’s choreographer, and co-founder, the late Solipo ‘Shevon” Matai and family; the late Adeline Pritchard Jones, the late Meleke Bolwes, and the late Tausalamasina Malietoa.

Congratulations to everyone!

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