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Embracing Heritage Through Dance: Scholarship Prep Polynesian Dance Clubs Illuminate AANHPI Heritage

Embracing Heritage Through Dance: Scholarship Prep Polynesian Dance Clubs Illuminate AANHPI Heritage

Posted by Scholarship Prep on May 31, 2024 in

At Scholarship Prep, we believe in celebrating the rich tapestry of cultures that make up our diverse community. This year, our Oceanside and Orange County campuses came together for a special collaborative performance to commemorate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) Heritage Month. The event, held at our Santa Ana campus, was a beautiful showcase of Polynesian dance, highlighting the traditions and artistry of various island cultures.

The students' vibrant costumes and intricate dance moves captured the essence of the islands. One notable element of their attire was the “ie lavalava,” traditionally worn by both men and women in Samoa. Complementing their outfits were accessories such as flowers grown on the islands and leg pieces crafted from banana tree leaves. The boys also donned kukui beads around their necks, symbolizing peace and protection.

Adding to the authenticity of the performance was the Siapo backdrop, also known as barkcloth or tapa. This traditional fabric, made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, undergoes a meticulous process of harvesting, stripping, and decorating with natural dyes. The Siapo backdrop was a striking representation of Polynesian heritage and craftsmanship.

Our students dedicated months of practice in the After-School Program to perfecting their performance. Orange County's TK-8th graders started rehearsing in March, with practices held twice a week for the younger students and once weekly for the older ones. Meanwhile, Oceanside students began their journey in December and practiced twice weekly through May.

A highlight of the event was the participation of Tupua Productions, a renowned Polynesian dance group from Costa Mesa. Their dynamic performance concluded with an interactive segment where they invited student performers and audience members on stage to learn a fast hula.

The grand finale was a coordinated dance between the Oceanside and Orange County students, meticulously taught by Ms. Donna, Ms. Maugaotega, and Mrs. Parker. This dance was a heartfelt representation of the instructors' Samoan heritage.

At Scholarship Prep, we recognize the importance of learning about and appreciating different cultures. Through events like these, we provide our students with enriching experiences that broaden their horizons and cultivate a deeper understanding of the world around them.