Water is Rising Dance Company with Spokesman
Virtually everyone on the islands of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu sings and dances. Music and dance provide a forum for creativity and invention. Always fresh and responsive to the audience, people constantly compose new songs and learn new choreographies for myriad occasions.
For this U.S. Tour, the groups will prepare a program of new songs and dances that express their deep connections to nature and their ancestral past; their art will convey their feeling about global warming and the desire that the world not forget their plight. The shared spirit and intense energy of these dancers and musicians gathered on one stage represent the legacy of their traditions and the joyful vitality of their collective ethos. In the islands, when different groups gather under one roof, no group wants to be outdone by the other. As a result of this, the music and dance on these coral atolls have evolved to a refined and complex art form. In contrast to Hawaii, colonial rule never stripped them of their cultural expressions. The vibrancy of their gestures, songs, and rhythms represent the unbroken legacy of these small island nations.
Mikaele Maiava (Artistic Director) Tokelau
I was born and brought up in Nukunonu - an atoll that is part of Tokelau. I went on scholarship overseas and worked 8 years at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Samoa Multi Country Office and within these years I had the opportunity to also work at the UNV HQ Bonn Germany for 2 months in 2008. I attended the first Indigenous People for Climate Change Forum in Alaska 2009, Climate Action Network Pacific meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Island 2009 as a Pacific Youth Warrior advocating for climate change. I am a dancer and choreographer for Tokelauan dance and have taken dance tour to Germany, featuring world culture night in Alaska and dance my way around the world whenever I get the opportunity. The highest point on our atoll is the tallest coconut tree. Tokelau is in the forefront of Climate Change and I just want the Development Countries during this Water is Rising Tour to have the chance to see our unique and beautiful culture through our dance and singing.
Francis Tebau (Tour Manager) Kiribati
I am the eldest in my family. I have graduated from school three years now, but continue to search for better opportunities. Right now, I am helping my family with their small business selling yagong fish. I have a great interest in computer technology and communications and I really love to dance. My family has been active in music and dance for as long as I can remember. As the administrative coordinator of Te Waa Mai Kiribati, I assist my Uncle Ioane Tekaai, the founder, in organizing our touring projects. While our group is only two years old, we have already received invitations to Taiwan in 2011 and to Peru in 2012. The Water is Rising tour will be our first opportunity to go to the United States and we are all very excited.
Andrew Semeli, Tuvalu
I am the son of the group leader, Samola Puga. I currently work at the parliament office as an assistant clerk. Prior to that, I worked as a police investigator. I graduated from the Divine Word University in Papau New Guinea. I am also a composer.
Published: Monday, September 12, 2011