World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Mahea Uchiyama

Founding Artistic Director of the KaUaTuahine Polynesian Dance Company, Mahea Uchiyama has been a student of dance since her early childhood, raised within the discipline of the classical hula tradition. She has performed both solo Middle Eastern Dance, and Tahitian dance with her company several times in the Festival, and in People Like Me in 2002.


In weekend three of the 2005 Festival, Mahea provided narrative interludes with grace and poetic style. Her silken voice and staturesque presence was captivating, and the segments helped to illuminate the theme of Transformations.



groupTITLE OF PIECE: Nā Hiti Nā Manu Erua
CHOREOGRAPHY: Hirohiti Tamatahotoa
DANCERS: Tamisi 'A'awapuhi, Leah Kekailoa Aguilera, Kehindeuwimani Apara, Rachel Kōnane Brown-Tornillo, Alma Kaipo Buenavista, Brazil Buenavista, Lani Cantu, Melanie Wai'oli Kōlea Chan, Ku'uwehilani Cid, Christina Deang, Lora Kehaulani Dinga, Michelle Lanakila Hollis, Juvie Ha'alia Luna, Shannon Olario, Jolyn Puamana Overton, Rosalie Kala'i Ragasa, Meridith Kawēkiu Roberts, Amy 'Ilikea Wehiwa Santana, Hazel Sarmiento, Sophie Kapono Schulman, Loughlin Hemolele Stohlman, Mark Tangi, and Hoku Uchiyama
MUSICIANS: Alan Kekoa Aki, Sam Almira, Stephen Chipp, Hugh Humphrey, Pili Moreno, Aaron Sencil, Māhealani Uchiyama, and Cyrus Yamat

KaUaTuahine offers a suite of dances accompanied by a drum orchestra. Nā Hiti Nā Manu Erua means "the dual bird spirit of Na Hiti" and is based on a legend of the sacrifice of a young child who later returns to his family in the form of a beautiful white bird. The child brings a message of peace back to his people who live near the river Na Hiti.

In this style of Tahitian dance, the color red symbolizes royalty and celebration. The bold red of the costumes reflects the exuberance of the people upon hearing the bird's message of peace. Red and black feathers along with mother of pearl are worn as adornment, but the use of western style jewelry and makeup is restricted.

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