PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Nov. 17) - Twenty-two-year-old Tamaru Colombel won the 2003 Fire Dancing Festival in on Friday after two days of competition among 13 dancers at the Hotel Le Méridien Tahiti.

Colombel will now represent French Polynesia in the world fire dancing championships to be held in Hawaii in May.

"Not only did Tamaru Colombel achieve an outstanding performance with a perfect mastery of the torches, but he also presented previously unseen movements while taking lots of risks," jury member Julien Faatauira told Tahitipresse.

By winning Tahiti’s 5th Fire Dancing Festival (Te Ahi Nui), Colombel will next head to Honolulu for the world championship competition at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He will face the 30 best competitors from the Pacific and the U.S.A.

This will not be Colombel’s first trip to Hawaii to represent French Polynesia. He won Tahiti’s 3rd Fire Dancing Festival in 2001 and finished second in the 2003 world championship in Hawaii.

"The day before the competition I injured myself with one of the hooks of the two flaming knives," Colombel said. "I competed with several stitches in my hand. What distinguishes me from the other dancers is the execution speed of my movements and sequences."

During the final competition on Friday night at the Hotel Le Méridien Tahiti, Jimmy Folituu, one of 13 candidates, injured his hand.

Torea Tani won the amateur category of the 2003 Fire Dancing Festival. The Matuatua team won the group category. The jury awarded a special prize to the youngest competitor, Temetani Teikiuahitini, who is eight years old. Another special prize went to Michael Mayer for his performance.

There was only one female competitor, so Temanuia Nobel finished in first place.

November 19, 2003



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