Sachiko is a graduate of the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Music in Composition, a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance and a Postgraduate Honors in Dance studies. Sachiko founded the VOU dance company in 2007 to pursue her passion and spread the magic of music and dance from the Pacific across the globe. She has been working in the creative industries in many capacities such as producing, choreographing, facilitating and curating. Sachiko has performed, composed and choreographed works in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, New Caledonia, PNG, Canada the US, the Solomon Islands, Guam, France, England, Scotland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and of course throughout the paradise of the Fiji Islands. Her role as a director of VOU includes becoming proficient in many different skills sets such as financial management, strategic planning, human resource development, creative mentorship, logistics, teaching, marketing and many more! One has to wear many hats in the creative industries especially at different stages of a creative career.
Edward Soro is a VOU dancer of enormous energy and enthusiasm. He started dancing with the company in 2008 and since then he has toured with the company to Australia, New Zealand, India, China, PNG, the Solomon Islands, Guam, England, Scotland, France, Slovenia, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania. After graduating from the University of the South Pacific in Finance and Management and working for a prominent bank in Suva, Edward soon came to his senses and decided to quit his bank job and pursue his passion for dance full time with VOU. Since then he has taught with the VOU School and choreographed for the company but his most treasured accomplishment was travelling around the rural areas of Fiji learning and documenting traditional Fijian Chants and Dances. Edward has completed his Post-Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland and wants to go on to do his Masters in Fijian meke. He strongly advocates for the youth of Fiji to learn and take pride in their unique individual meke because if the younger generation choose not to learn and engage with their culture this treasured cultural knowledge will become extinct.
Giovanna Varea a full time choreographer & dance researcher for VOU Dance Fiji and is living her best life – pursuing a career in what drives her passion. DANCE. Young women like Giovanna are changing norms in Fiji and trailblazing new career pathways for local female performers on a national and international platform. She is an exceptional example to young girls in Fiji that you can pursue your passion for dance and be involved in change making for how the creative industry in Fiji is evolving.
She has choreographed a series of short films that have been commissioned by the LA Museum in response to their Fijian exhibition that is currently on display. Having grown up in the city, without having a chance to learn traditional Rotuman dance from her elders on the island of Rotuma, Giovanna wants to encourage youth to delve into their roots before we loose it. As a result she wants to focus her research projects on historical dances from her island of Rotuma as a means to preserve dances and chants for the next generation.
After being a star performer with VOU for many years, Sekove thought it was time to take his skills to the next level. Off the stage Sekove is a very shy person so he
wanted to try and challenge himself to grow and develop as a teacher to try and
conquer his fear of talking publicly and also develop his artistic side. He is already doing really well in the position and the children at the VOU School adore him! He is assisting Navi and Giovanna in rehearsal direction for the upcoming productions.
Evangeline is a very experienced dancer with VOU who has travelled the world and been a great example of professionalism for those dancers aspiring to work in the
dance industry. She represented Fiji in 2017 at the International Expo in Kazakstan where she stayed for 6 weeks performing Fijian cultural dances at the Pacific pavilion. In 2018 Evangeline was a part of the cast that travelled to Australia to perform in the full-length production ‘Veiqia 21’ for the women of the world festival in Brisbane. And also perform in “Melt, Sink, Disappear” which was a climate changed themed piece that was performed in the Ocean and commissioned to be a part of the Bleach Festival at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games.
Tom joined the Conservatorium of Dance in 2019. Before coming to VOU he was working part time as a barber and getting into trouble with the wrong crowd. After a run in
with the law and a brief time in jail Tom knew he had to completely change his
life because if he didn’t, he was headed in the wrong direction. Last year he
was working as a dancer with the HUB team and his commendable values and work
ethic has won him a promotion to become the manager of the Shangri-La team of
dancers in 2021.
Sevu has been with the VOU company for many years, he has been a teacher, a costume designer and has toured with the company through Asia, Europe and Australia.
Sevu is now the manager of the VOU company in China which is a challenging yet
rewarding role. Sevu has to choreograph new shows with dancers from around the
world such as places like Uganda, Argentina and Ukraine to make interesting
pieces according to festivals throughout the year. Sevu loves this challenge and is assisting VOU in getting more contracts to send Fijian dancers to live and work as performing artists in China.
Mere moved straight from the village of Kadavu to school at the Champinge institute in Suva because she had learning difficulties and special needs in regards to reading and writing. It was after only one year at this school in Suva that she auditioned for VOU, and only one year after being in VOU she flew off to the bright lights of Shen Zhen, China where she is based at Windows Of The World. Mere is very hard working and very level
headed. Since accommodation and food is provided for the dancers in China and
they earn a large salary, Mere saved all her income and after being in China
for 2 years she returned to Fiji for a holiday and managed to buy a house in
Suva. She now rents out this house in Suva and the rent goes to supporting her
Bernadette set the Shanghai stages on fire during her two month tour there with the VOU Dance company! She is a talented young Fijian woman proficient in the languages of Pacific, Hip hop and Fijian dance. She is from the Solomon Islands settlement in Kalekana that is notoriously a rough neighborhood. Determined to escape Kalekana and also pursue her love of dance she auditioned for VOU. After being in the company a few years she is now living and working at the Windows of the World park with the other dancers in China.
Andre is not only a talented dancer he is also a gifted fashion designer who won the top designing prize for the Jejemon 2015 fashion show. His love for the arts has definitely propelled him to be where he is today. After working and travelling with VOU, Andre moved to China and he has been living and working there for the past 4 years. However he wants to come back next year because he feels like it is time for him to share what he has learnt working as an international performer with the next generation of Fijian dancers.
Elia was not up to much, he was just hanging with the boys in his Yasayasa,
(neighbourhood) with no real direction or ambition. One of his cousins pushed
him to come to a VOU audition and he turned out to be brilliantly athletic and
talented. Elia has a vivid memory of when he was a small boy, of probably 7 years, sitting next to his grandfather who he was always really close with. His grandfather was in the process of telling off his fathers generation for their lack of ability to fix the dilapidated house they were staying in. Then his grandfather said, ‘I will probably have to wait until this falla grows up before this house is fixed’, and Elia always vividly remembers this. So when Elia started working as a dancer he made it his mission that he was going to fix up his grandfathers house. Every pay day he would buy one sheet of ion, or the set of screws needed or the truck of bricks. And slowly over his first year of employment Elia was able to fix up his grandfathers house, and he hopes that his grandfather is proud of him.
Tupou is a proud graduate of our Conservatorium Of Dance Diploma program. Since joining VOU she hase travelled to parts of Fiji that many others have only dreamt of visiting. This not only has given her confidence to work the audience whilst on show, but has also boosted Tupou’s confidence in interacting with others. As this is my passion, she will dance like there is no tomorrow and will continue to share the Energy, Spirit and Mana with young upcoming artists and sees herself travelling and performing to an international audience to spread VOU’s vision to inspire healing and oneness across the world through the transformative magic of creative experiences
Stuart is an all rounder, he is the guy to go to when there is an issue with something to be fixed, Stuart drives, he teaches class he builds props and he is an amazing
performer. He came from his family home from Wainadoi with the dream of being a
dancer, his family sick of him dancing around the house! And now he is one of
our star performers. “Being a professional dancer, a recognised international choreographer and traveling the world performing on world stages, is where I see myself as a dancer in the future. I want to continue to share and build on our VOU vision: to inspire healing and oneness across the world through the transformative magic of creative experiences.”
Before joining VOU, Petrina was a really shy and reserved person. She has now blossomed to become this confident and outspoken woman. VOU doesn’t only teach you to dance, but we can also bring you out of your comfort zone to learn life skills.
“I envision myself being one of the top hip hop choreographers not only in Fiji, but all over the world. Hip hop is my strength and I would love to be one of the best hip hop choreographers in the future. I would also love to learn different genres like Kathak and belly dancing to incorporate it into my hip hop.”
Calem is from Nadi and was attending the VOU school while he was also in high school. After finishing school he was working as the tech assistant in his brothers music band that used to play in the hotels. He decided he needed to forge his own path and become a professional dancer. “VOU is a professional company that provides and expands the knowledge of upcoming dancers. My experience with VOU has been very beneficial because they have built my confidence and character to perform with quality in shows. They have provided each dancer the career platform they long for that needs more community awareness. They believe in young upcoming artists and nurturing them with the needed skills to upgrade each dancer for their future careers in dance. Therefore I would recommend more youths interested in dance to pursue it at a professional level by enrolling in VOU’s two year Diploma Program. Calem sees himself graduated with a Diploma in Dance and pirsuing a Degree in Arts Administration and Dance Therapy to educate young kids in Fiji to be more aware of Arts as a sustainable career.
Alacia walked into her VOU audition with absolutely no experience at all in dance and has now blossomed into VOUs most outstanding female performer. In 2019 Alacia was working answering phones and booking tours at a tour company, but she was unfulfilled and wanted to do something more. She came to audition and she now believes she has found her calling in life. Alacia is also a valuable member of the costume team, and we are sure you will see this amazing young Fijian artist on stages across the world in the coming years. “I see myself touring and exploring new cultures and to share the stage with people from all around the world! I see myself teaching and hope to inspire someone in such a way that they believe that dance is a career and maybe get more people that want to dance to open up and have the courage to pursue it full time!”
David was already a very experienced fire dancer before joining VOU having performed
extensively with Rue and Mauri dance companies. David auditioned for VOU
because he wanted to learn more about contemporary dance technique. Since
joining the company he has developed an interest in gymnastics and helps teach the students at the VOU Dance School. “My experience with VOU and the Conservatorium of Dance has been challenging in a good way! Everyday I get to learn something new and I sometimes push myself to keep trying harder as the VOU standards are very high. I also love the energy that has been passed down by the old dancers that started from the inception of VOU company up to the present dancers. Our audiences get to enjoy that energy shared and projected from us. I truly get to enjoy my whole dancing career in fulfillment with VOU Dance Company. I can see myself aspiring to taking professionally taught classes and teaching future VOU students at the VOU Dance School and becoming chosen as one of the dancers lucky enough to represent VOU and Fiji around the world.”
Merana was a student in Hip Hop at the VOU School in Nadi whilst still at high school and was determined that this was what she wanted to do as a career. Merana has gone
from strength to strength, starting out as a shy participant in rehearsals, she
now bravely speaks her mind and contributes ideas to any creative process she is involved in. “My experience with VOU has been tremendous because I am becoming more open to learning genres and techniques that I am not use too and teaches me to be more confident in expressing myself. “I can really see myself as a professional dancer/choreographer in the future and being able to go on tours around the world to showcase my talent and the unique culture of my country Fiji.”
Neori is super fit, loves gymnastics and training. Neori was working at an
air-conditioning company but felt he was not living his best life, so he came to
audition for the Conservatorium of Dance. Neori worked so hard and finished the course with flying colours as an outstanding student. Neori, was one of the dancers that lead the development of the VOU farm to feed the dancers during the COVID pandemic and he loves building and making things with his hands. Neori is a father and he wants to show his daughter that you can do anything you put your heart and mind to.
Shayal comes from Ba and is classically trained in the form of Bharat Natayam and has been learning from classical teachers in Ba from a young age. Shayal was working
Undergraduate studies in USP, bridging for biology and maths, journalism. Loved
dancing and VOU inspired her to dance as Shayal needed to show her family that dance is a career and you can grow professionally from dance. Shayal is also very interested in marketing and has been volunteering on the marketing team while she was a student at the Conservatorium of Dance. “VOU has made me realise my potential. I have met so many new people both locally and abroad and I really enjoy how VOU allows an open and safe space to share dance knowledge and bring our ideas to the studio. I’ve always dreamt of choreographing a classical piece on an international platform and I can see myself growing closer to that goal with VOU.”
Malakai was attending a village school in Taveuni when he was selected for a scholarship to complete his high schooling in Singapore. While attending high school in
Singapore he was introduced to the idea that dance was actually a school subject and he studied dance throughout his time in there and even did high level dance in his International Baccalaureate diploma. When his scholarship and high school diploma was complete and after experiencing the developed dance industry in Singapore he was determined to live his dream of becoming a professional dancer. Mala has just completed his Conservatorium of Dance training and now his dream will come true as his signs his first employment contract this year to work as a professional dancer. As a part of his dance course in Singapore they learnt lighting design, so Mala was very helpful in setting up the rigging and lighting for our VOU HUB Fiji Untold shows, and did the lighting for all our Suva shows in 2020. “In the fore future I see myself becoming a full time professional dancer, touring around the Pacific and the World sharing our “culture” through movements of the body and being able to tell a story through dance.”
Spencer was also a fire dancers prior to joining VOU with his brother David. Spencer and has always had a passion for Hip Hop dance and even toured to New Zealand to represent Fiji at the qualifiers for the Hip Hop international Competition. Spencer knew he would need more structured training to take him to the place where he needed to be to have dance as a career, so he enrolled at the Conservatorium of Dance. He is excited to take on this new role and wants to learn more about hip hop
Wani was discovered in the Labasa intake auditions and moved to Nadi to start her dance diploma in 2020 with the Conservatorium Of Dance. After only having training in cultural dance forms whilst growing up, she is now proficient in many different styles of dance. Wani says she is grateful to VOU that she can pour her emotions and healing from a hard 2020 into her work as a dancer and we look forward to seeing Wani perform emotional and connecting pieces to move audiences around the world.
Before joining the Conservatorium of Dance program Peni was working on the as a road worker, doing jobs like digging, filling in holes and painting road markings. In high school Peni was part of the Bhangara Bollywood dance team and he missed his days of performing and wondered if he would be able to make a profession out of it. He auditioned and got a place in the Conservatorium program and is now starting his first employment contract as a dancer. Since joining through the research assignments we have come to know that Peni is very knowledgeable in the ancient ceremonies, protocols, dances and chants from his village of Sasa in Ba. It is important that traditional knowledge holders are given resources to continue to practice these precious traditions otherwise they are at risk of being lost. “VOU has been the best experience to ever happen for me, because they provide us with an opportunity to get a recognized diploma in our passion, they provide employment and support our local artists. One of my most memorable experiences has been the ability to travel to places that I haven’t been and to perform alongside the best dancers in Fiji!”
Laukata Tuberi Banu
Laukata joined the Conservatorium of Dance auditions while the team was in Labasa, she was enthusiastic and had great energy. Since joining the company she has become an accomplished hip hop dancer. In Labasa her family have a farm and her mum runs a vegetable market stall, so Laukata’s experience of working on her family farm was very useful indeed, as in 2020 the VOU team set up our own farm on at the VOU HUB. Laukata is excited about getting her first ever employment contract and being able to support her family. “My experience with VOU has been challenging but in a good way because everyday I get to learn new and interesting topics and skills, which I had never known before. VOU also really believes in me and in upcoming artists development. Because of this, I love to push myself into giving it my all at COD and VOU. “I see myself graduated from the Conservatorium of Dance with a Diploma in Dance and professionally teaching classes to future VOU students and the future generation that would love to follow this path.”
Tomasi is very expressive and has an intelligent and instinctive understanding of how his body moves in space. His mother brought him to our Conservatorium of Dance auditions in Suva in the hopes that he could get back on the education ladder and find a path to employment through the Conservatorium of Dance.
Akeneta was working as a part of the house keeping team at the Radisson Resort before the pandemic hit and was looking for employment to support her family and we are so glad that she chose to attend our Conservatorium Of Dance Intake as she has a natural ability to tell stories through movement. She wants to try and become a professional dancer because it is something she is very interested in pursuing as a full time career.
Adi Kula Vatuwaliwali
Adi Kula was studying sociology in Wuhan, China when the Corona Virus Pandemic broke out. She was evacuated to Fiji along with other Fijian students that were
studying there. While in China she started performing cultural dances with the
other Pacific Island students for cultural days and she started to develop a
keen interest in the history and stylistic features of various forms of Pacific
dance. She is really excited and determined to have a new career path in dance
and hopes to continue to research into traditional dance forms from different
provinces in Fiji and her mother’s Island of Rotuma.