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Tahitian dance competition draws statewide participants

Posted: January 20, 2013 1:36 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2013 1:43 p.m.

Hana Andersen, left, and Tiffany Pascua compete in the Vahine ages 14-17 category at the Te Mana Ori Tahitian Solo Dance Competition held at Castaic Middle School on Saturday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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Exuberant dancers gyrated to drum beats in the Santa Clarita Valley recently as the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company hosted its second Tahitian dance competition.

Some 35 entrants were judged in the Te Mana Ori Tahitian Solo Dance Competition, considerably more than entered last year for the event, said Gladys Farrell, who owns and directs the Castaic-based company with her husband, Kin.

Competitors in the Saturday event were judged based on their creativity, how well they execute basic moves and how well their movements match up to the beat of the drums, Farrell said.

Tahitian dance is largely energetic and exuberant and is usually set to a series of drum beats.

The beats are well-known to participants and are named after Tahitian islands, Farrell said.

Competitors came from all over California, but none was from the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company because the company hosted the event and wanted to avoid any potential bias, Farrell said.

The five-year-old dance company teaches other Polynesian dance styles besides Tahitian, as well as Hawaiian hula.
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