By Kelly Johnstone
Members of the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company are practicing their moves in preparation for the first annual Santa Clarita Valley Pacific Islander Festival, which takes place Saturday, May 10 at Williams S. Hart Regional Park. Hosted by the dance company and the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, the free event will offer an array of activities representing the cultures of Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand and Samoa for the community to enjoy.
Following the opening ceremony at 10:00 am, the Ukelele Club of Ventura County will take the stage to perform contemporary Hawaiian songs in both English and Hawaiian. Local dance companies will perform throughout the day, starting with Kealoha and Company at 11:15am, followed by the Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company and Tina’s Ports of Paradise. At 2:15 pm, enjoy a special performance by Jeff Keana aina, the 2008 Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Story Telling and Falsetto Singing Contest winner, an annual competition held in Hawaii.
Parents can take their kids over to the park’s animal barnyard to check out the pigs, geese, and cows. Or if you’re hungry, stop by the food vendors to get a taste of authentic Polynesian dishes, like teriyaki chicken, chicken long rice, malasadas (Hawaiian doughnuts) and shave ice. The closing ceremony begins at 8:00 pm with a special performance by Samoan fire knife dancers. Then join hands and say good night with a rendition of Hawai’i Aloha.
Tyana Farrell, a company member and dance teacher at Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company said the festival aims to celebrate cultural diversity within Santa Clarita and promote the value of William S. Hart Regional Park.
“It’s a family event; kids, moms, dads, grandparents, everybody,” Farrell said. “It’s our culture so we love to share it, it’s a part of us. You get to have different food, to see different music and dance performances… [It’s] just something that you wouldn’t see every day and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Come for the fire knife dancers.”
The Kalakeke Pacific Island Dance Company teaches Hula and Tahitian dance classes on Wednesdays at 5p.m. in William S. Hart Hall. For more info on classes and Saturday’s festival, visit www.SCVHula.com