2,000 young cast members and teachers from 13 different Samoan schools feature in the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games Ceremonies, which started tonight with an immersive and uniquely Pacific-style Opening event. The joyous celebration of impactful sporting performance, personal development and international friendship will feature 904 athletes from 66 Commonwealth countries, mostly aged 14-18, aiming for 107 Gold Medals in 9 sports over 5 days of competition.
The Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games Ceremonies follow the overall theme for the Games with Inspiration and Empowerment of young people at their core. The Opening Ceremony was Samoas largest-ever cultural performance, featuring almost 1% of the entire island population, and was in two distinct parts: Traditional Samoa with a solemn and more serious re-telling of the Creation Mythology of Samoa with Tagaloalagi and the creation of the nine heavens through traditional dances and songs featuring an array of mauluulu, Siva Tia and siva afi; and Contemporary Samoa, a fun setting of Samoa today. Here the theme of contemporary Samoa highlights icons presented in a more informal setting, such as a local policeman directing traffic that leads to the performance of a Contemporary Ava Dance.
Dignitaries, spectators and athletes from around the Commonwealth, including the Samoan Head of State, Samoan Prime Minister, Commonwealth Secretariat Secretary General and President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, enjoyed traditional singing, dancing and Pacific entertainment. The event started with the parade of nations, with the previous Youth Games host from 2011, Isle of Man, given the honour of entering the field of play first.
Addressing the crowd, and asking the young athletes to show themselves as stars of the Young Commonwealth by raising their smartphones in to the air, Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE said: It gives me the greatest of pleasure to stand here before you at the Opening Ceremony of the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games a joyful celebration of impactful sporting performance, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships made on the level playing field of sport. Having been involved with the very first Commonwealth Youth Games back in the year 2000, I am so pleased and proud to see this very special event now taking place on your wonderful Pacific island nation.
Speaking before the Ceremony, Producer and Artistic Director of the Ceremonies, Tuilagi Seiuli Allan Alo Vaai, added: The Cultural Program is a platform to highlight the value and the need for continued development of the Arts in School curriculum in Samoa - Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. I would like to thank my creative team, Music Director extraordinaire Tuilagi Igelese Ete, Andrea Torres (Aerial Samadhi Hawaii), Inipene Simanu and the Samoa Teachers Cultural group (Traditional), Eterei Salele and the USP Outreach Dance Theatre team (Contemporary) and Leua Latai and the National University of Samoa Art Agency (Props) and many others.
Finally the talents and determination of the 2,000 cast of young students and teachers from 13 different High schools selected from Government, Church and Private schools has made working on this Production an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I hope that the Cultural, Artistic and Educational program is inspiring and empowering for them.Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games