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"Hawaiian Nights" show takes you to Polynesia

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-08-28

Take a trip through Polynesia with the Renaissance Resort's "Hawaiian Nights" dinner and dance show. The special outdoor production lets you sit under the stars, while being entertained by the "Tihati Dancers", who come straight from Hawaii. You will also be delighted by the wide selection of fine food and desserts. The price is affordable, and it is a great place to have a night out with friends or family. It is one of the best nightly shows offered on Okinawa.

The "Hawaiian Nights" show is offered twice a night, every day except for Wednesdays. Show times begin at 7 pm and 8:30 pm, with each show lasting about forty five minutes. Dinner starts 30 minutes prior to each show, with a huge "all you can eat" buffet that lasts through the entire performance. You can enjoy several fine dishes, with selections from Hawaii that include grilled mahi mahi, pai ai, aku poki, lomi lomi salmon, and roasted pig. There are also several other excellent choices to satisfy your hunger. You can choose from steamed chicken, spicy sausage, pasta, short rib steak, sweet potato, and salad. The dessert area has plenty of tropical fruits and ice cream to help you end a perfect dinner.

If you are still hungry, you can make trips back and forth to the buffet table, while the dancers start their performance. Your host will explain each of the dances in both English and Japanese, providing you with some background information, and the origins of each dance. One of the nice things about the "Hawaiian Nights' performance is that you will not only see dances from the Hawaiian Islands, but also from other exotic places in Polynesia. The young women will dazzle you with their fast hip movements during a Tahitian dance, and the men show you strength and agility with a "Maori" dance from New Zealand. Other performances bring to you the culture of Samoa and the Cook Islands. One of the highlights of the night is the awesome fire dance performed by Kekipi Higa, who will have you watching in disbelief as he twirls sticks of fire through the air and around his body. Of course, there are also plenty of intoxicating dances form Hawaii that will put you in the "laid back" island mood.

In between dances, you will also be entertained by the antics and comedy of the dancers. They not only dance, but they involve the audience in their performance whenever possible. They develop a good rapport with the crowd right away, breaking down cultural barriers. You get the feeling that each one of the dancers really enjoys showing you the dances and culture of Polynesia.

"There is no one dance in particular that I like better than the other. All the dances have the same meaning to me, explained Papa Malu, one of the female dancers. "It's just the same as Polynesians - we are all cousins. We are all related."

Although all of the dancers are from Hawaii, they all have different ethnic backgrounds. Their cultural diversity is linked together by their love of dance and through a genuine brother and sister feeling.

Fire dancer, Kekipi Higa, said, "We try to share our cultures. We try to express ourselves as Polynesians all over the world." Higa, whose great grandfather was from Okinawa, speaks with pride about the dance group's dedication to Polynesian dance and culture.

Both dancers said that they are looking forward to seeing Okinawan traditional dance during their stay here. They also are enjoying everything in Okinawa, from the beaches to the food. "The Okinawan people are great. They are very hard working and loving," said Malu.

All the dancers expresssed their hopes in having more people come to watch their show. Enjoy the summer weather and the star filled skies of Okinawa with "Hawaiian Nights". You'll find yourself drifting across the sea to Polynesia and then back to the paradise of Okinawa. Tickets can be bought in advance for 5,250 at the following places: Renaissance Resort in Onna - son, Boston Club Restaurant in Chatan, or the Co Co Gardens Resort in Ishikawa. Tickets at the door cost 6,006. Be sure to make reservations for large groups. The Renaissance Resort is located on Highway 58, about 15 minutes by car heading north from Kadena Circle.

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