Portrait of the Chuukese Dance Troupe at the Shanghai World Expo
Shanghai, China (FSM Information Services): August 30, 2010 - The 17 Chuukese Dancers from Namoluk Island of Chuuk State performed the "Tokia" dance, also known as the Stickdance, at the Pacific Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo throughout the weekend of August 28 and 29, in honor of the FSM National Day being celebrated by Vice President Alik and the 16 member FSM Delegation.
Contrarily to the Yapese dance tradition which is passed on from one generation to the next, within only certain family members of the village; the Chuukese dance is danced by all boys in Namoluk. Traditionally the dance, performed with bamboo sticks, was part of a form of intense physical training for the village warriors. Today, the dance is an integral part of the children's cultural studies classes in school.
Lander Elieisar, coach of the dancers and their chaperone for the Shanghai trip, selected the lucky few to participate in the performances for the World Expo. "We have been practicing every single day since mid July, in preparation for this event," said Elieisar proudly. When asked how the dancers felt about performing at the Shanghai World Expo, Elieisar said they were "happy, excited, overwhelmed and shocked!" For more than half of the Chuukese dancers, this is the first overseas trip they have ever participated in.
The Chuukese dancers became highly acclaimed at the Expo, especially their evening performance on the outdoor stage located in front of the Pacific Pavilion. The Chinese audience, present by the thousands on the evening of August 28, were themselves in awe, as they observed the raw intensity of the Tokia.
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