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
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 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.
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
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
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.
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,
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