Spring Arts Dance / Spring Arts Dance
Make a resolution to enrich your life with dance, whether by appreciating other people doing it, or by getting down with your own bad self. Dance can be many things: entertaining, difficult, amazing, sexy, nerve-wracking, even spiritual. Explore the gamut with this representative selection of Honolulu’s best dancers and instructors.
Academy of Tease
Madame X, Lola Love and Miss Catwings of Cherry Blossom Cabaret know all about loving your body and showing it–that’s why they’re hosting a series of classes for one weekend a month at what is known as the Academy of Tease.
Burlesque dancing isn’t just sexual (though it can be, and highly). “It’s just about having fun, being more comfortable with your body and enjoying being you,” says Miss Catwings. With basic classes, as well as different specialty classes offered each month, there is always something for every level.
Classes this January include Burly-Q Booty, Pilates, Peels and Reveals and Burlesque Basics, with all ages, genders and abilities welcome (certain classes are 18+).
Dance Classes at Loading Zone
After a few months of performances and exhibitions, Dancers Unlimited is finally ready to teach new classes at Loading Zone. Beginning with a free trial class next Mon., 1/21, dancers with a little background in the sport can sign up for open hip hop dance classes (Mondays, 8–9 p.m., $10 per class or $80 for 10 classes). On Wed., 1/23, there will be a free trial for ages 7–14 for those interested in other street dance styles–breaking, locking and/or popping–(Wednesdays, 5:30–6:30 p.m., $10 per class or $80 for 10 classes). For people who come to class consistently, there will be opportunities for public performances, such as at Loading Zone events on First Fridays.
“We’re [also] expanding to have kids’ programs,” says Linda Kuo, director of Dancers Unlimited (DU). “[We] want to bring families to Chinatown so it’s not just bars and clubs, [but] a safe place,” for everyone. Kids’ classes begin on Sun., 1/27, for 10 weeks (1–2 p.m., $100), except First Sundays, when DU hosts Disco Baby, an all-ages event free for students. For a full schedule of events and classes, check out Loading Zone’s website.
Taiko Drum and Dance
Taiko performances are some of the most entertaining shows that fuse together music and dance, with Kenny Endo as an incredible force to be reckoned with. The artistic director of Taiko Center of the Pacific, Endo teaches the traditional Japanese drumming to all ages. If you’ve never witnessed one of their performances, you’re missing an eclectic, physically demanding, high-energy romp that is as fun for the ears as the eyes. Each sound is produced from a precise movement that requires just as much rhythm as any musical concert. Endo leads a program at UH this spring, with choreography by Dance faculty and guest artists.
Princess Farhana Show and Workshops
Middle Eastern Dance Artists of Hawaii (MEDAH) presents Princess Farhana, an internationally-acclaimed belly dancer, author, actress and musician, for a performance and two workshops in Honolulu. The workshops, “Orient Noir: Volatile Combinations” and “Basic Burlesque with Princess Farhana,” will teach a range of techniques to dancers who aren’t afraid to try something new and test their limits.
Every year at UH Manoa, students choreograph and perform in a showcase of their semester’s work for the public. Students say it can be simultaneously terrifying and satisfying; for many, it’s their first chance to showcase their skills outside of school. Though the spring semester has just begun, tickets are on sale now for the culminating performance. There will be a special “post-show rap” on Fri., 4/26, where audiences are welcome to stay and talk with the director, designers, choreographers and performers.
Merrie Monarch Festival
The biggest dance event to take place in Hawaii is undoubtedly the festival that celebrates the legacy of King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch himself.
Created in 1964 to increase tourism to Hawaii, this event has become much more than a marketing concept and grown into a cultural anchor for many hula halau.
The fest, which brings together halau from across the state and even the mainland, is less a competition and more a community gathering that brings us all back to our cultural roots. Other than the dancing, which is always broadcast live for those who can’t fly to Hilo, the festival also encompasses art exhibits, craft fairs and cultural demonstrations to educate participants on the importance of Hawaiian tradition. Many events are free, but tickets can be purchased online.
6th Annual International Waikiki Hula Conference
For a weekend of seminars and workshops that focus on traditional Hawaiian practices, from ancient and modern hula to lei-making and chanting, the International Waikiki Hula Conference brings together esteemed kumu hula with the interested public. In addition to the conference, attendees can take part in hoike hula shows, where they showcase what they’ve learned throughout Waikiki. Space is limited, but registration is now open.
Gina Surles, associate director of Hawaii State Ballet (HSB), will teach two new introductory classes for ages 9 and up that will focus on the fundamentals, whether you’re new to ballet or just getting back into it. “There’s kind of a need for [the class],” says Surles, so everyone can begin with the basics before moving on to more advanced classes. Surles, returning to teaching after a 5-year hiatus, has taught and danced at HSB since its formation in 1983.