Southern Utah University’s Pacific Islander Student Association presented “Tales of Her Majesty” for their annual showcase performance on March 16-18. The PISA club paid tribute to queens, chiefesses and goddesses of the islands of Fiji, Hawai’i, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga.
With practices six days per week since the beginning of the semester, the dancers were ready for the showcase weekend to celebrate their culture through song and dance. Even through nervousness and excitement, when hundreds of guests were in attendance every night of the three-day event, the over 80 performers did not disappoint. They rallied together to bring to life a tribute to the women of Polynesia.
The women celebrated throughout this showcase ranged from the last reigning monarch of Hawai’i in the early 1890s, Queen Lili‘uokalani, to the myth and legend of Samoan Princess Sina.
Noaese Taeatafa, alumni and now student success advisor at SUU who has been a part of PISA for the past five years, said, “In years past, nobody’s ever placed an emphasis on the role of women for showcase. I thought it was a great opportunity to display some of the women that have helped each of our individual islands and cultures.”
Napa Nu’usa, senior and returning dancer from PISA, shared, “This year’s theme was really cool because we talked about female figures from the islands. In a lot of historical references, you don’t really hear a lot about what the females do, so it was really nice to share their stories and highlight them.”
During Saturday’s show, the last performance of the weekend, dancers were already buzzing with excitement in anticipation for next year’s showcase. However, it was a bittersweet moment for seniors who shared their last show with the audience.
“What I’m going to miss the most about PISA is honestly just the people,” shared Davi Kauweloa, a senior and second-year returning dancer for the Hawai’i section. “I was born in Hawai’i, and then I moved to Las Vegas, so I never really grew up with my cultural background. But being a part of PISA, for even this short amount of time — it really does feel like my Hawai’i family.”
Nu’usa shared similar thoughts to Kauweloa. “The club is a support group. We don’t have to see each other all the time, but when we do see each other, it’s always a good time,” he said. This is the group you know always has your back.”
For those interested in watching a recording of the full PISA showcase, “Tales of Her Majesty,” click here.
Article by: Kamele Lung
Photos by: Asher Swan