Dance companies in Hawaii aren’t just schools that teach every genre and style. They’re production spearheads, bringing everything from world-famous acts such as Cirque du Soleil and the Shaolin Warriors, to local traditions such as Ballet Hawaii’s annual production of The Nutcracker, to the Honolulu stage. “It’s a combination of all of the senses,” says Pam Taylor-Tongg, artistic director of Ballet Hawaii, of their upcoming production, showing how dance is more than just bodies moving–it’s an intense expression that goes beyond words and comes from deep within every fiber of a dancer’s body, combined with costumes, stages, makeup, lighting and so much more, all to tell a story through art. From cultural displays and competitions to large-scale productions, here’s a preview of what we’re looking forward to this fall.
Twenty-two Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan Province show off their skillful acrobatics and martial arts with grace, splendor and apparent ease. Get your tickets early, as they sold out the last two times they visited Hawaii.
Cirque Du Soleil: Quidam
A young girl trades her lackluster life for one of imagination. Travel through the dream world with Zoé as high-flying acrobats twist their bodies into magnificent displays of strength and beauty.
2012 Hawaii Belly Dance Convention
For five days this October, Honolulu will be swarming with dancers specializing in the various Middle Eastern forms included under the umbrella term “belly dance.” Presented by local performer Malia Delapenia, the convention will feature a Shimmy Showcase gala event on Fri., 10/12 at the Doris Duke Theatre with performances by Deb Rubin, Alexandria, Andrea Aranda, Sabrina, Belly Dancers In Paradise, Arabic singer Adly Mizra and more ($12-$25); workshops at the Ala Moana Hotel will teach techniques as well as culture ($40 each or $150 for the weekend); and other events for everyone from first-timers to experienced dancers.
Ryujin ni Mau–Dance to the Dragon God
Celebrate the 56th anniversary of the Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai–Nakasone Dance Academy at this recital showcasing traditional and modern Okinawan dances.
Halau Hula Ka Noeau — Huliau 2012: Listen to the Sounds
Michael Pili Pang directs the Halau Hula Ka Noeau in a showcase of hula choreographed for the theater stage, as well as hula pieces for their 2013 tour of North America. The group believes that the art of hula expresses everything our senses experience–experience this performance with them.
The Nutcracker by Ballet Hawaii
Every year for the past three decades, Ballet Hawaii has danced The Nutcracker. This year, principle dancers from the NYC Ballet, ABT and Carolina Ballet will join everyone from 6-year-old students to board member walk-ons. Notable: Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz of the PBS special Live From Lincoln Center, and Sokvannara (Sy) Sar, a dancer from the Carolina Ballet who was in the film Dancing Across Borders.
21st Annual World Invitational Hula Festival
Preserve, protect and enhance: These are the goals of E Hoi Mai I Ka Piko Hula, a contradictory “competition,” for it’s brimful of aloha. This three-day event is the largest hula festival in the world, bringing in participants from more than 20 countries in a massive celebration of the Hawaiian culture, where perpetuation of knowledge is more important than awards.
Keiko Fuji Dance Company from Osaka, Japan will join forces with Taiko artist Kenny Endo and others to raise funds that will help with disaster efforts through a performance celebrating the determination and resilience of the victims of the 2011 earthquake. The dance has been choreographed as a healing tool, with all profits going to the Rainbow for Japan Kids.
See the latest work by student choreographers and dancers who have collaborated with faculty on their Masters of Fine Arts. Candidates’ presentations include Movement Dimensions by Angie Haugejordan, Quickly Standing Still by Meghen McKinley and Elyse Stevens’ Sea Art Move.
10th Annual Hapa Haole Hula & Music Festival 2012
Winners from the past nine festivals will dance, but the evening’s star is the songwriter. Host of the weekly radio program “Territorial Airwaves,” Harry B. Soria Jr. will focus on vintage Hawaiian music, its composers and hapa haole songs’ history.
“Many of the songwriters were Native Hawaiian,” says Vicky Holt Takamine in a press release for the Pai Foundation. “Some were band directors and others were from as far away as Tin Pan Alley in New York City who had never even been to Hawaii but romanticized and fantasized about our beautiful islands.”