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The Samoan Studies Institute (SSI) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) invites the public to a special preview of the performances that members of the Students Association for Faasamoa (SAF) will give at this year’s Festival of the Pacific Arts next month in the Solomon Islands.

The performance will take place this Saturday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at the ASCC Gymnasium, and is free and open to the public.

As previously reported in the local media, the SAF members have been selected to join the contingent representing American Samoa at the Festival, and this Saturday’s performance reflects their wish to share their talents with their community and especially the many that have made it possible for them to make the trip. SSI Director Okenaisa Fauolo-Manila estimates that the performance will last “about an hour”, and will showcase the material the SAF students have been working on daily for the last several weeks. “We’ve divided our show into three sections, contemporary dances, traditional dances, and a mixture of the two. We’re the only dance group that will represent American Samoa at the festival, so we strived to have as wide a variation as possible to our repertoire while still keeping it authentic.”

In addition to the honor of representing their home, Fauolo-Manila stressed that the experience of attending the festival provides a unique educational experience for the SAF students. “Over the course of the preparations, the students have upped their game in terms of lifelong skills such as discipline, responsibility and the core Samoan values of respect and team work. From an academic perspective, experiencing the different cultures of the Pacific will bring to life the concepts we try to impart through SSI courses like Pacific History and Pacific Geography.”

A total of 22 students have committed to making the trip next month, and the SSI staff accompanying them will include Fauolo-Manila, performance leader Nunuimalo Apisaloma Toleafoa, instructor Sia Achica and cultural artist Patrick Mafoe. “We are very fortunate to have John Fanene, Valentino Faumuina, Valerie Faumuina and Loso Iaulualo also traveling with us to help with the music,” said Fauolo-Manila.

The SSI Director also expressed her gratitude to those who cannot attend the festival themselves but have helped make it possible for the SAF students to go. These include ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i, the Student Government Association and their advisor Maxine Tuiolemotu, counselor Annie Panama, and the ASCC maintenance staff who ensured the readiness of the SAF group’s daily practice space.

“Of course we’re also very grateful for the parents of these students for allowing them to make this important journey. We hope they will all join us this Saturday so that we can share our performance with them as a small expression of thanks for their big help.”

For more information on the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, visit