Junior dancers dazzle at the domes

Saturday 1 May 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features, Go Local

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Junior dancers dazzle at the domes
Aporo Williams reclaimed his Mire Ura junior boys dance champion title with strong and robust dance performances on Thursday night. 21043007

Eleven junior dancers beat stage fright to put on memorable performances in the opening National Dancer of the Year event.

Ten-year-old Liahona Taio danced her way to the top of the Mire Ura junior girls competition claiming the championship trophy with her outstanding performances on Thursday night.

And in the junior boys’ section, Aporo Williams retained his title, winning on Thursday for his slow beat, fast beat and costume.

A first-time entrant in the event, Taio felt a bit nervy standing on stage in front of the 600 to 700 strong audience at the National Auditorium Domes.

“I was nervous at the start, I just thought of everyone disappearing and that I was by myself so I could stay focused.”

Taio loves everything about culture, and dancing is one of her favourites “because it’s natural and culture runs through our family bloodline”.

After winning the top award, Taio told Cook Islands News: “I was happy and I was thankful to all my sisters – being the youngest, they taught me so much about dancing and have always supported me, as have the rest of my family.”

In the past, due to the small number of entrants in the junior and intermediate Te Mire Ura, the event was held on the same night.

Because of the high interest this year, the contest was split into two evenings to cater for the increase in participants, with the intermediate section held last night.

The Tauranga Vananga/Ministry of Culture secretary Anthony Turua was stunned at the high standard of the dancers and overwhelmed at the large crowd.

“The calibre of the dancers spoke for itself,” he said, impressed and happy with the quality of the performances.

A flow on from the Rarotonga Schools Culture Festival held a few weeks ago could possibly have also contributed to the increase in contestants, with the children having built up their confidence from that event.

Young Pa Enua sports representatives who are visiting the island for the Cook Islands Youth Games also turned out on the night to watch the show.

After Thursday night, representatives from the Pa Enua met with Turua yesterday morning to discuss their future participation.

Because of the current economic landscape, due to Covid-19, participants from the Pa Enua were unable to be brought to Rarotonga, due to financial limitations, Turua said.

“However, we will certainly look at this in the future and bring this on board,” he said.

For the first time the event was judged electronically and there will be more training sessions for the judges to iron out difficulties.

A technical glitch at the start of the night was caused by moisture in a piece of equipment – it was replaced and the show went on.

Following are the Mire Ura Juniors results.

Junior Girls: Slow beat – Liahona Taio; Fast beat – Liahona Taio; Costume – Reanna Napa. Girls 2021 champion – Liahona Taio; Runner up – Savannah Nia; Third – Reanna Napa; Consolation – Nanny Aurupa, Elisapeta Tama, and Matangaro Tera.

Junior Boys: Slow beat – Aporo Williams; Fast beat – Aporo Williams; Costume – Aporo Williams. Boys 2021 Champion – Aporo Williams; Runner up – Liam Aviu-Kurariki; Third –Ngatokorua Simpson; Consolation – Derek Aerepo and Rutupau Samuel.