OCEANSIDE — The final day of the weeklong Samoan Cultural Celebration was held at the Pier Amphitheater and celebrated with song, dance, prayer and food July 10.
Close to 1,000 gathered to enjoy a day of performances that included The Vineyard Christian Hula Mai Kalani, First Samoan Cong Church Choir and Samoan Fireknife Dancers.
A highlight of the gathering were the dances performed by Soldiers for Christ. The troop of 55 performers wowed the crowd with traditional Samoan dances. The final dance that portrayed Taupoe, the purest woman in the village, was performed by 10-year-old Jazz Leasau. As part of the dance, spectators showered Taupoe with money to give thanks to God.
Soldiers for Christ dancers range from children to adults. Many dancers start performing at a young age. Petu Leomiti, a dancer for Soldiers for Christ, says he has been dancing his whole life. “You depend on God to lead you,” Leomiti said. “He gives you the dance moves.”
The spirit of the celebration is to bring the Samoan community and greater San Diego County community together. “We need each other to build each other up,” Easter Leasau, choreographer of Soldiers for Christ, said.