Ra'atira - Owner, choreographer, costume desginer
I have been a dancer for over 24 years now. Being born and raised on the island of Oahu, I was surrounded by the vibrant and colorful culture of Polynesia. I started my hula training with Hula Halau O' Kamuela under the direction of Kumu Hula Paleka Mattos and alaka'i Kau'ionalani. For the next two years the halau or group entered in the Keiki Hula Competitions where we had taken overall winnings, placing 1st in all categories. After a highly competitive yet very structured start to my dancing, I wanted to become grounded in the Hawaiian culture and learn more about the roots and meaning to the dances I have learned to love. The next couple of years were spent studying hula under the direction of Kumu Hula Macey Hoakalei Hina Kamau'u, whose family is known to have studied under Queen Liliokalani.
During high school, my body had the need for a faster pace movement and I joined my first Tahitian dance group Te Vai Ura Nui under the direction of Cathy and Charles Temanaha. With Te Vai Ura Nui I was captivated by the art and culture by hearing the Tahitian language, learning the competitive side of ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance), and I also traveled to Tahiti for further cultural immersion. I attended various workshops given by Tahiti's well-known Ra'atira Makau Foster and her daughter Kohai from Tamariki Poerani. With Te Vai Ura Nui I also learned the entertainment/production side of Polynesian dancing by performing at many different malls, parties, and festivals. With them, I learned dances of Tahiti, Samoa, and New Zealand. In 2004, I joined Tahiti Toa under the direction of Maeva and Elton Goo. With Tahiti Toa I was fortunate enough for Maeva to see the strength and dedication I had as a dancer, that she had bestowed unto me the responsibility of teaching the dance group. I also learned the professionalism aspect of dancing when we were contracted with the Marriot in Waikiki to perform shows on a weekly basis. With Tahiti Toa I learned the beautiful art of costume making and design. Unfortunately, due to my demanding college career, I left Tahiti Toa to finish my bachelor’s degree.
During my time in college, I expanded my dancing repertoire and joined the dance team under Roxanne Blumerick. With her I learned and performed jazz and contemporary numbers, and most importantly learned to express my passion more aggresivley yet gracefully and controlled. After completion of my degrees I joined Maohi Nui under the direction of Mervin Lilo and Agnes Matila Manuma. With Maohi Nui I participated in competitions, performances, costume making, and workshops.
In 2012, I moved from Oahu to Portland, OR and noticed right away the lack of any Tahitian groups in Oregon. In 2013, I joined a Vancouver, WA group Ora Nui under the direction of Roxie Gabriel and Charlie Okada. However, in 2014 I decided it was time for the beautiful state of Oregon to have its own pupu ori (Tahitian dance group) to be proud of and I founded Teva Oriata Polynesian Dance Troupe.
I am very excited to share my passion and love for the Polynesian culture with the pacific northwest. Teva Oriata actively trains, performs, and competes, with students of all experience levels, both male and female. This couldn’t have been possible without the countless blessings and tremendous support I’ve had from family and friends and of course the very diverse and wonderfully friendly people of Oregon. Thank you for your time.
Year - Genre - Group - Director
1995-1998 - Hula - Hula Halau O' Kamuela - Paleka Leinaala Mattos
1998-2000 - Hula - Hoakalei Hina - Macey Kamau'u
2000-2004 - Tahitian - Te Vai Ura Nui - Cathy and Charles Temanaha
2004-2006 - Tahitian - Tahiti Toa - Maeva Goo
2006-2007 - Jazz/Contemporary - Chaminade University - Roxy Blumerick
2007-2010 - Tahitian - Maohi Nui - Agnes Matila Manuma
2012-2013 - Tahitian - Ora Nui - Roxy Gabriel & Charlie Okada
2014-present - Tahitian – founded Teva Oriata Polynesian Dance Troupe
2017 - 1st place winners of Hula Wahine division - Hapa Haole Hula Competition - 3 Days of Aloha Festival