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Behind the Scenes: Learning Fireknife at ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Earlier this year, we took a backstage look at the Tumble Monkeys from the popular stage show “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In it, we showed you the level of talent and skill that this team of gymnasts uses to add comedic fun into the show.

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This week, we’re back with a behind-the-scenes look at a different act in the show – the fireknife dancer. This performer adds an element of danger during villain Scar’s song, “Be Prepared.” In reality, the show’s fireknife dancers, including VJ Tiumalu, have studied the art of this traditional Samoan warrior dance for years. For VJ, fireknife is a family tradition. He decided to become a fireknife performer when he was just 5 years old after seeing his father perform in a show. VJ’s uncle even once performed the very part VJ now plays in “Festival of the Lion King.”

To learn more, check out the video below. (Spoiler alert: As you’ll see, I’m apparently the most uncoordinated person on the planet and therefore will not be changing my career to fireknife anytime soon).

You can see “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom several times each day. Check your My Disney Experience app for showtimes during your visit.

Comments

  • My family’s favorite show! Do these fireknife dancers also do the Spirit of Aloha dinner show over at the Polynesian?

  • Jennifer, thank you for sharing this video. The magic of the Disney experience is truly because of the cast members and the wide breadth of cultural depth and enthusiasm that they bring to their jobs. Keep these videos coming!

    • Thank you, Matt. We have such a talented cast. 🙂

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