One of the most sought after educators of Polynesian & Pacific Rim studies, specializing in indigenous traditional & contemporary Polynesian dance, music, costume, art, history, & performance, Paul Tavai-Latta is a recognized educator on Maohi (Polynesian) culture. Paul & his Dancers continue to set standards & break records for Polynesian Dance & Entertainment in Canada and now abroad!

 

His Polynesian education began as a child with his adoptive Polynesian family - the Tavai family of Rarotonga, Cook Islands & continued on years later to advance education at Brigham Young University (Hawaii) where he studied & performed at the Polynesian Cultural Centre (Oahu). Paul Latta holds the only Master's Degree certification in Hula & Pacific Dance in Canada! He was awarded this honour in 1983 by Master Kumu (teacher) Mr. George Lanakilakeki'ahi'ali'i Naope of Hilo, Hawaii, the creator & founder of the world famous "Merrie Monarch Hula Festival" of Hawaii & official judge of Canada's "Festival Polynesia / Pacific Rim 1983!", "Canada's largest all Polynesi dance competition" founded in 1980. See "Festival Polynesia" for annual "recaps". Paul was honoured in 1983 by Mr. Naope who bestowed upon him his personal Uniki graduation title name of "Paul Ma'e Ma'e Kapua O Kahala". It was then with Uncle George's blessing "Hula Hâlau Ma'e Ma'e Kapua O Kahala" proudly became the name of the Polynesian Division of our school. Paul is also the youngest member to be inducted into the "Hui O Na Kumu Hula" of Seattle, WA. With over 40 years of entertainment and 38 years of teaching behind him..., Paul still considers himself more a student of Polynesia than ever before, dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the Polynesian culture, and with no signs of slowing down...Paul brings the South Pacific to life in all that he does!

 

 

 HISTORY

 

 

Born July 22, 1960, this 'Leo' of British, French, Italian and Mediterranean decent. Paul & his sister Michelle were adopted 'Island Style' into the Tavai Polynesian Family of Titikaveka Village, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, one of Tahiti's & Rarotonga's most respected Polynesian families, who shared their rich history, culture & traditions in the true Polynesian way…...'living it!' This early introduction to the Polynesian way of life fostered Paul's life-long passion, commitment & love of the Tavai family and the South Pacific's culture, music, dance & its people! Paul was raised in Rarotonga and throughout the South Pacific for many years, attending public schools, where music, dance and culture were commonplace.

 

Paul and his sister Michelle with their parents, Pat & Colleen continued their travels over many years living in Mahina Tahiti, Mo'orea, Bora Bora, Suva Fiji, Auckland New Zealand, Honolulu Hawaii, Mexico City and Los Angeles California. His mother was a dancer with the original "Royal Tahitians", Tahiti's premier & best-known dance troupe. His father was a candidate for Minister of Tourism & Cultural Affairs for the Cook Islands while employed by the Cook Island Trading Co. Paul's return trip to Rarotonga in 1993 was extra special as he received official family documents as a member of the Tavai family. Thus "Tavai's Polynesian Review!" has since been the name of Paul's International Touring Shows & his annual year-end recital "Tavai's" Finale Spectacular. This "Show of Shows!" a 2 1/2 hour Polynesian Spectacular is held every June and is open to everyone! (Tickets go on sale every May) Paul, now a true "Island Boy" returned to Canada after many years in the South Pacific. He began performing at his school for any occasion, and enthusiastically joined in the local dance culture immediately, signing up for weekly Tap, Jazz, Stage, Musical Theatre, Flamenco, Highland / Irish music, Singing and acting classes, taking in as much as possible, studying under such well known local instructors, such as Dann Minor, Daydee Rutherford, Pamela Carr, Angel Monzon and Lorraine Graff while performing with his Parents, highly successful dance troupe "Tavai's Tahitian" (est. 1968), Canada's first authentic Polynesian dance school & professional dance company.

 

Paul's unrelenting passion for everything Polynesian, especially music and dance only grows stronger in Canada. He began performing, teaching and competing at every opportunity. Paul would take Polynesian artifacts to his elementary school daily for "show and tell" not telling his parents he was taking priceless artifacts from the house to "show all the kids" at school!!! Including one day dressing up his baby sister (at age 3) in full Tahitian dress, completely against her will, carried her and a drum and sticks to school for "show and tell!" to show his class what Polynesians looked and danced like! The teacher was aghast, Paul got a spanking, mom rescued Michelle, however the class "really liked it!" and frankly not much has changed in over 38 years!

 

Paul still "shows and tells" of Polynesia whenever and wherever he can. His classmates are now bringing their children and grandchildren to his classes …..(with permission of course!!!). Immediately Paul & Michelle became award winning young students, ("Top Student of the Year") novice trophy winning and championship competitive dancers ( winning Surrey Festival of Dance - Polynesian Section first only 100% perfect scores in Polynesian dance in 1969 & 1970 at age 8 and 5! ) they were also frequent, local stage performers and TV series special guests, (CBC'S Pete's Place'). Paul was motivated to use his Polynesian background, knowledge, inspiration, creativity and now a variety of dance disciplines to start his own school at age 11! As novice teacher he was ecstatic when his own Tap students won in competition their first year. In 1976, he entered his own brand new Polynesian School in competition. Paul was only 15 years old when his dancers took every top award in Tahitian, Hula and Maori. Thus the "Paul Latta Polynesian Dancers" were born. Only three years later, after winning their unprecedented third 100% perfect score were personally invited by Master Kumu Hula and producer Uncle Joe Kahaulileo to compete in the 1977 Tahiti Fete of San Francisco, the largest all Tahitian Festival in the in the US at the time! …..Not bad for a group of neighbourhood kids!

 

Paul credits his talents to his musical & artistic family, which has been in the performing arts for over 4 generations. His great grandmother, Arabella, originally from Hollywood, used to play the piano for the first silent movies! She also taught music and dance and conducted an all-male orchestra. His grandmother, Aline, the oldest child of Arabella, was a talented musician, singer, dancer & painter who married his grandfather, Victor Fry, an international fashion designer and tailor extraordinaire for the armed forces. Since 1969, and over the next 38 years, Paul has personally won countless local, national & international Polynesian & Tap Dancing championships.

 

But the crowning achievement has been that Paul & The Paul Latta Dancers have earned themselves the reputation of "Canada's Finest, Top Award Winning Polynesian Dancers!" winning virtually every award possible in over 100 national & international competitions & boasting an unsurpassed record of 22 100% perfect scores! They collectively have won over 5,000 trophies, bursaries, scholarships, trips, vacations, movie contracts, international bookings and & many other "Awards & Titles of Distinction"

 

 

 

PRESENT

 

Paul enjoys & continually works in many capacities in the field of entertainment & education Producer / Director, Choreographer / Instructor / Consultant, Entertainer, Musician / Drummer / Composer, Adjudicator, Pageant Coach, Colour Guard & Body Building Choreographer, Costume & Set Designer / Master of ceremonies / Cruise ship Instructor and lecturer. Paul has included acting to his credits, appearing in films, television specials, TV commercials, to his credits, including a made for TV Movie starring Katherine Hepburn.

 

5 movies, 22 100% perfect scores, thousands of shows, commercials, print ads, promotions, classes and over 20 international tours later,…… the dancers are still going strong!

 

An avid world traveler to entertainment capitals such as New York, Los Angeles & Las Vegas & Hawaii & frequent return / visitor to his first home, Tahiti, Rarotonga & the South Pacific, Paul continues his lifelong research, ever expanding his knowledge & understanding of Polynesian dance & entertainment & offering his valuable & continuously updated 'hands on' experience to his students & audiences at home & abroad.

 

--ALOHA--

 

 

RECENTLY

 

June 2011 - The 'Paul Tavai-Latta Polynesian Dancers' have just won the National title of "Best Polynesian Dance Group of the Year" for the 22nd consecutive year at the International Festival Polynesia / Pacific Rim Dance Competitions.

 

In January of 2008, and again in 2011, 15 members of the Halau went with Paul back home to Tahiti and Rarotonga for the 2nd and 3rd Tavai Family reunion in Titikaveka, where they also performed for the Staircase Nightclub, and appeared in several TV News spots, Newspapers celebrating their achievements in Cook Island dances, and acknowledgement for helping to raise over $1600.00 for the Children hospital.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST 10 YEARS

 

1996 saw the Paul Latta Polynesian Dancers win the Grand Prize 'Trip to Hawaii' and National Title of "Best Polynesian Dance Group of the Year!" (sponsored by Air New Zealand & Outrigger Hotels) at the International Festival Polynesia / Pacific Rim" Dance competitions of Canada! An International title and Grand Prize trip to Islands they have won every year since, and remain the undefeated Champions of Polynesian Dance in Canada!

 

Paul and his dancers performed 2 shows a day 'Live on Stage' for the first time as Featured Guests at the Outrigger/Ohana Hotels in Waikiki (& later Maui in 2000).

 

The Paul Latta Dancers are now the official visiting dance troupe from Canada for this Hotel chain, and have performed for the Hotel annually ever since, until the new renovations of 2006 entertaining the tourists daily throughout Waikiki. In addition they were the Opening Act for Germaine's Luau in Oahu, as Special Guests at the Hyatt Waikiki & at the world-famous Tihati's Polynesian Spectacular at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Waikiki.

 

In 2001, The professional troupe of 6 toured Japan for three weeks performing "Tavai's!" Polynesian Spectacular "Live!" 2 shows a night to sell out crowds!

 

In July of 2002, they competed in the Annual "Tahiti Fete" of San Jose, CA. Taking 2nd place in the grand 'Ote'a', and one of his best dancers, Natasha taking '1st Place!' in the 'Ori' (solo) division.

 

In September 2002, they once again competed internationally in the 1st Annual "Ka'Ohana Hula Festival" taking another 100% perfect score! For a hula described by Master Judge, Uncle George Na`ope as……"perfect!" 2002 marked our 32nd Year and full of excitement as they worked again for Disney Corporation and Famous Players Theatres as the opening 'Live Hula Show' for "Lilo & Stitch" and entertaining, teaching Hula to all the children at the Theatres!

 

September 2002, Paul's dancers, Michelle, Natasha, Rhea, Melanie and Denise were special guest models in Las Vegas at the Monte Carlo Hotel / Casino for the INBF North American Body Building and Fitness Championships show.

 

In October 2002, NBC TV Channel 8 Honolulu Evening News came to Canada to do a story on the 'Hawaiian / BC Connection' and featured Paul's Hâlau (School) in a feature story that aired in both Hawaii and the USA (later in Canada in January 2003).

 

October 2003. Paul embarked on a new venture, working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines teaching, performing and conducting seminars on board the luxurious "Radiance of the Seas" ship that tours Hawai`i

 

February 2004, Paul and 12 dancers returned to Hawaii for their 7th Annual 'Outrigger / Ohana Hotels' Performance Tour Winning the Grand Prize Trip to Hawaii and National Title of "Best Polynesian Dance Group of the Year!" at the International Festival Polynesia / Pacific rim" Dance competitions of Canada!

 

September 2004, Once again working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Paul & April performed "Live!" on board the "Serenade of the Seas" with their all new show, touring the islands of Hawaii... as well as acting as Tour Guides, conducting Special 'VIP' Tours for the clients of P.O.S.H. Travel of White Rock, BC.

 

October 2004, Performing for HMY Harmony Airlines as their exclusive Polynesian / Hawaiian promotional Cross Canada tour dance company! With Special Guests ... Victoria's Own - "Lilia's Polynesian Dance Company!"

 

March 2005, Winning at the 3rd Annual "Heiva I Honolulu!" Tahiti Fete, taking 2nd Place Top Overall for Ote 'a, Hivinau, Paoa, & 'Aparima. With his dancer Amada taking 1st Place in the Solo Ori, & Rhea winning the Prestigious title of "Miss Heiva I Honolulu".

 

March 2006, Paul took home First Place in the Ori (Solo) competition in the 4th annual "Heiva I Honolulu"

 

September 2006, Grand Opening of our new Toronto Ontario branch of "Tavai's Polynesia!" under the direction of Miss Eleyna Ke aloha Gomez.

 

March 2007, the release of the new Comedy movie staring Ice Cube "Are We Done Yet?" featuring Co-Director of the Paul Latta Dancers, Brenda "Nui Loa" as "Grandma Pulu".

 

July 2007, By special request, Paul taught 2 weeks of workshops for various Halau in Mexico as well as for the University of Mexico under direction of Kumu Hula / Event Planner / Host - Karen Cianca of Hula Halau Uhane.

 

Nov 2011 - We  performed  for the “Spirit of Edmonton CFL Grey Cup” Breakfast Party – Wall Centre, Vancouver!

 

In addition, the Hawaii Visitors' Bureau and The Outrigger Hotels of Hawaii, Signature, Marlin Travel , Uniglobe, P.O.S.H and many other Travel Agencies, as well as Royal Caribbean & Princess Cruise lines and Aloha, Continental, Hawaiian, Air New Zealand, HMY- Harmony , West Jet and other airlines have hired and many who are still in operation continue to hire the Paul Latta Polynesian Dancers as their ambassadors for promotional shows and launches throughout Western Canada!

 

Paul & his dancers are honored to be in the newly released Special Edition souvenir book "The Spirit of Hula" book, & Feature Image of National Geographic's newest Special Edition CD "Hawaii".

 

 

COMING SOON!

 

Nearly every last Sunday of the Month!
“PAULYNESIA!” – 4 hour ‘Open to All’ Tahitian & Hula Workshops
(See poster under "Workshops")

 

4 Locations for classes
Available for live shows all year!

 

Dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the Polynesian culture, Paul brings the South Pacific to life in all that he does!

 

Check out our All New “Coming Soon” link  on our Home Page for all our  up to date Events!

 

Mahalo & Aloha!

 

Updated March 2009

 

 

 

 

News article dated
Wednesday, March 26, 2003

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