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Tahitian champ Mi Nei Oliveroffers own dance classes now

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Posted: Monday, September 18, 2000 12:00 am

Armed with a résumé that includes 11 solo Tahitian dance

championships and a confidence that belies her young age (20), Mi Nei Oliver

has taken over a twice-weekly show at Po'ipu Shopping Village, and is set to

begin offering Tahitian dance, drum and music classes at Kapa'a Neighborhood

Center.

Recently returned from Tahiti, where she learned Tahitian dance

under instructors like Victoria Tuiateikiutapu, Oliver received a certificate

of Tahitian dance proficiency from the government-run Conservatoire Artistique

Territorial, following five years of part-time study there.

She is the only

person on Kaua'i with a diploma signed by Louise Kimitete, a Tahitian dance

professor at the Convervatoire in Papeete, Tahiti, and until recently was an

assistant instructor on this island under Cynthia Poema

Langbridge.

Langbridge had been teaching Tahitian dance from Koloa to

Kilauea since 1996. Oliver has formed Urahutia Productions, and hopes that

company will enjoy continued success doing hotel and resort work, convention

shows, corporate events, and private functions.

The 1998 Kapa'a High School

graduate is studying accounting at Kaua'i Community College, and working

full-time with her new business, Urahutia Productions.

"Urahutia" describes

how female dancers gather together, and also describes how they used to pick

red feathers used for chief's attire in Tahiti.

The Po'ipu Shopping Village

show is each Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m., and Oliver has been involved with

it since 1996 as a dancer, choreographer, costume designer and scheduler of

practices and performances.

From 1996 to 1999, it was for Tiare Tahiti.

Now, it is for Urahutia Productions. Urahutia has done shows at the Princeville

Hotel, Marriott, Hyatt, Tahiti Nui, and numerous conventions and private

functions.

There are 15 dancers in Urahutia, and a rotating four perform at

the Po'ipu Shopping Village shows.

Born on Kaua'i as one of eight children

of Peter and Leiola Oliver of Anahola, Mi Nei Oliver is part Hawaiian,

Norwegian, French, and Portuguese, and from a performing family that still

provides much support for Mi Nei Oliver's efforts.

Brother Waika Oliver

plays drums and is learning the fire-knife dance. Wehi and Ha'aheo Oliver also

perform. Leiola Oliver does the costumes, Peter Oliver does the sound and

lights, and another sister helps collect foliage for costumes and other

decorations.

A brother in law from Tahiti dances with the troupe when he's

here, she said. Boyfriend Wilfred Kaui, III also drums for the group.

The

shows, public and private, are what she wants to be the focus of the business.

The troupe has done a private show for David Schwimmer, who plays the character

Ross on the hit TV show "Friends."

Paula Laumatia is manager of Urahutia,

and can be contacted at 1-808-223-8597. There is also an e-mail address,

urahutia@msn.com.

While the classes begin only at the Kapa'a Neighborhood

Center (registration can be accomplished in person this Wednesday, Sept. 20

from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the center), Mi Nei Oliver said if there is enough

demand, classes can be scheduled at other locations later on.

For now, the

Kapa'a classes are for girls and women only, ages seven and above, for all

skill levels, scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept. 27.

The 3 p.m. class is

for beginners, and the 4 p.m. class is for intermediate dancers who must have a

knowledge of the basic steps.

Students will learn traditional dance steps,

modern dance steps, drum dances (otea) and music dances (aparima). The fee is

$50 per student for the 10-week session, which meets once a week, each

Wednesday.

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