Posted on July 11, 2019

The Best Luau To See Fire Knife Dancing

 The Best Luau To See Fire Knife Dancing

by Hayley L., July 11, 2019

Brilliant Fire Knife Dancing
Flaming fire knife pyramids at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

As great as any luau show may be, the highlight of the night will always be the fire knife dancing performance.

Dancers perform incredible acrobatic stunts, twirling, tossing, and catching the knives as the audience looks on, mesmerized. How could you possibly top flaming blades?

As entertaining as it is, fire knife dancing is a form of traditional Samoan ceremonial dance steeped in history. Firstly, a long knife wrapped in oil-soaked cloth, with the blade left partially exposed. It is then set alight during the dance.

At today’s luaus, dancers use rods instead of knives for the safety of the dancers and the audience. However, doesn’t make the performance any less spectacular. It’s still men twirling fire!

Fire? Knives? Tell Me More!

In Samoan, it is called siva afi. Originally, warriors used a war club called a nifo oti, instead of knives. This was an incredibly dangerous act as the club’s steel would become crazy hot. Essentially, it was a flashy display of a warrior’s prowess in battle and great for keeping men battle-ready during times of peace.

Today competitive fire knife dancing is an internationally acclaimed sport, while fire knife dancing exhibitions and luaus performances are extremely popular. Likewise, many competitive dancers also perform at luaus.

Many luaus have amazing performances, but we think the Polynesian Cultural Center is the best!

Fire-knife dancing at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Dude with flaming blades!
Fire knife dancing is part of the evening performance

The PCC is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii, offering an intriguing—and often breathtaking—glimpse into the islands of Polynesia. It’s also home to a terrific luau and an evening show that offers the best fire knife dance performance around.

The Polynesian Cultural Center opened to visitors in 1963 and has undergone regular expansions and updates to provide visitors with a unique and incredible experience. Among these is their evening show Ha: Breath of Life, which features over 100 different performers, including expert fire knife dancers. It is a performance that has to be seen to be believed.

The PCC isn’t just about fire knife dancing, though. While you’re there you can explore the Polynesian cultures that have contributed to Hawaiian culture as we know it.

There are six “villages” to visit in the 42 acres that make up the Polynesian Cultural Center. Each village represents Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, or Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Visiting the villages offers you a unique opportunity to meet Pacific Islanders who share their culture with food, activities, dance, and music.

The World Fire Knife Dancing Championships

2019 World Fire Knife Champion Falaniko Penesa
2019 World Fire Knife Champion Falaniko Penesa

The Polynesian Cultural Center is also host to the incredible annual fire knife competition. The competition —using actual blades— has been held annually in May for over 25 years.

There are multiple categories, including men, women, and children in various age groups. Competitors come from all over the world to take part, and past winners have hailed from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and the Cook Islands.

If you happen to be on Oahu in May be sure to check out the competition for yourself!

Click here for more information on the Polynesian Cultural Center!

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