Theater club

Aloha Dance Club will bring island dances from New Zealand to Hawaii

The Aloha Dance Club will showcase Polynesian culture at the group’s Spring Semester Showcase on Saturday. Credit: Courtesy of Selesitila Harvey

The Aloha Dance Club will feature dances from several Polynesian islands during its spring semester showcase on Saturday.

The Aloha Dance Club, created in April 2021, is complete their first full year as a student-run Polynesian dance club focused on raising awareness of Polynesian cultures through traditional dances, said Devon Harvey, a fourth-year medical student and co-chair of the club. The showcase will take place at 6 p.m. at the US Bank Conference Theater in the Ohio Union.

The group aims to spread the spirit of Aloha – the breath of life – through Columbus in the form of dance, according to its student organization page.

For the showcase, the group will present dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand and Samoa, said Selesitila Harvey, a graduate student in social work and co-president of the club, as well as the wife of Devon Harvey. According to the group instagramthe showcase is called “E Tumau Le Vā Fa’aleuō”, or “How firm your friendship is” in Samoan.

“All our dances are traditional from each of the islands we represent”,
Grace Ma’ae, a first-year athletic trainer and social media director for the organization, said. “In Polynesian culture, our dances imitate lyrics, much like telling stories with music.”

In addition to the organization’s dances, the show will also feature live Tongan music, a Columbus-based Polynesian dance troupe Mahana Productions and a children’s class performance, Devon Harvey said.

“It’s kind of a great collaboration, and we’re excited to be able to show it off and spread the Aloha with everyone,” he said.

In addition to its spring showcase, the organization offers several performance opportunities for members throughout the year, Devon Harvey said. The dancers held a fall semester showcase in December and also performed at events within the Columbus community, such as at the Ronald McDonald House in March, according to the group. instagram.

Due to the number of traditional dances and cultures covered by the organization, preparations for the showcases begin the first week of the semester, said Devon Harvey. They take each dance in turn, waiting for everyone to know the dance before moving on to another, he said.

“It was nice to be able to use these dances that [my dad] taught me and to teach it to other people to keep these dances alive,” said Selesitila Harvey.

The costume is another aspect of the showcase that takes up a big chunk of the semester, Devon Harvey said. The dancers make their own costumes with the dues money and they learn to make them together, he said. However, having to ship materials from the Polynesian islands where the costumes originated — which involves customs and the possibility of additional fees — makes this feat even more difficult, said Selesitila Harvey.

“Although we may not be able to get everything we need, we try to keep it as traditional as possible,” she said.

Devon Harvey said that in addition to traditional clothing, the dancers aim to incorporate other traditional costume elements into their costume in the future, including the kōwhaiwhai, which is a design that depicts a fern, and tattoos. drawn faces.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the club and enjoy its performances, said Devon Harvey. The main goal of the organization is to share and teach others about Polynesian cultures, he said.

“We all come from Polynesian descent,” said Selesitila Harvey. “So that means a lot to us, but we like to share with everyone.”

Admission to “E Tumau Le Vā Fa’aleuō” is free and cookies will be provided.