A signature program of the grassroots nonprofit organization Adaptations Dance Theater, DANCE MAUI is a public, outdoor festival dedicated to bringing together the many culturally-diverse dance organizations of Maui and creating a space to present as one dance community. Learn more at www.adaptationsdancetheater.com/dance-maui.
Meet the Artists
"Contemporary dance holds its base in ballet and modern dance. However, contemporary dance can pull from and be movement inspired by any dance form or by any human movement. Contemporary choreographers might drastically contradict each other in the way that they move because all doors are open to you when creating a contemporary dance work. It is a dance form that is alive, in the sense that it is expanding and breathing every day." (Hallie Hunt, Adaptations Dance Theater)
“To me, cultural diversity means more tools to taste the collective human experience. I believe that various forms of art exist to share our human experiences with others and to sublimate the experiences to something larger than us. If ten people experienced the same phenomenon, there would be ten ways to interpret and portray it. It is truly joyous to see how others have experienced and how they depict their experiences. It helps us to deepen our own experiences, which then inspires us to think about the world outside of our accustomed norm while being given the opportunity to get in touch with the space inside of our hearts." (Akari Ueoka, Izanai Yosakoi)
“Cultural diversity is a term that was coined in the hopes of preserving and respecting the histories and cultures of various people around the world, rather than imposing a western concept of judeo-christian beliefs and traditions and values on other world cultures, a pitfall of traditional Anthropological studies. Today I believe it is a term used to acknowledge a corrected normative, in which many voices should be seen and heard, recognized and valued. As an American with Indo-European roots, it simply means acknowledging all parts of my background as valid parts of my identity, I suppose.” - (Sarala Dandekar, Darshan Dance Project).
“Breaking also known as "Breakdancing", is the dance element of the Hip-Hop Culture. The culture itself was born in The Bronx, New York city in the 70's. Throughout history the art form went from being a dance in the projects of NYC to a worldwide phenomenon. As of today, the skill level, athleticism, and competition has thrived past imagination...Cultural diversity means a lot to me, and plays a huge role in my personality. Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures. Being born and raised here, I feel that I get to enjoy a spectrum of people - ultimately giving me a broader perspective on other ways of life.” (Alex “Kid Karma” Hutaff-Bautista, Hip-hop)
“Swing dancing is an original American art form, that encompasses a variety of dances that emerged due to regional influences and developed with the music. Lindy Hop is an improvisational style danced at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in the 1920's, through the peak of the Big Band era. Today it is danced worldwide and is known for its free-spirited joy and trademark aerial step created by the pioneers of the art form...“Cultural diversity plays an important part in appreciating others, celebrating our uniqueness, and acknowledging our differences. Cultural diversity broadens horizons, by developing a deeper sense of respect for other people's values, point of view, and ways of thinking that are different from our own.” (Sumek Dance, Swing Dance)
As described by Andrea, “Raks Assaya is an Egyptian folkloric dance style with roots in Upper (Southern) Egypt. It’s an energetic, earthy style performed with a cane or stick (“raks” means “dance,” “assaya” means “cane”) that often incorporates steps meant to mimic the famous “dancing horses” of Egypt. This style of dance was traditionally performed by men, who used the cane to simulate fight movements. Within the last century, however, this and other folkloric dances have been reshaped for the stage (most famously by Mahmoud Reda) with women now using the cane as well....These days it’s hard to talk about cultural diversity without also talking about cultural appropriation, especially as performers who specialize in dance from cultures other than our own. I strongly believe that like music, from which it can’t easily be separated, dance is the universal language of humanity. When approached from a place of deep reverence and respect, which includes learning all one can about their history and cultural contexts, practicing the dance forms of other peoples is one of the most powerful ways to dispel the illusion that we, as humans, are separate from one another.” (Andrea Perkins and Lynette Day of Raqset, Raks Assaya)
“Growing up on the west side of Oahu back in the 1960's -1970's. cultural diversity was a way of life. In any given year my best friends would be Filipino, Chinese, Hawaiian, Portuguese or Japanese. That meant I was part of their family and their traditions. Hula was my first dance style - I was the only tall blonde in the Halau! When I went to San Francisco to study Ballet, Jazz and Modern dance, I was drawn to the budding dance community of African, Brazilian, and Haitian Dance there. It captivated me and spoke to my need of deep tradition and community. It felt like home. After all these years it is still the most important thing in my life. The dancers and drummers that have been part of this journey on Maui with me are my family. Village Pulse Dance Company was started in 1985 and since then we have brought master teachers to Maui to continue our education, not only in the dances and rhythms, but in the religion, the history and the reasons that the dances were created. Some of the dances we know go back 700 years when West Africa was a flourishing empire. The deep connection to history and a time when dance and music were an important part of everyday life is a value that I cultivate and bring to my life and community I am lucky to be able to say that I dance all day long, almost every day of the week!" (Village Pulse Dance Company + Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, Samba)
“We are lucky in America, and especially here in Hawaii, to live in a deeply culturally diverse environment. True cultural diversity is about appreciating all cultures as equals and it is a pivotal time in the U.S. for embracing our diversity instead of letting it divide us. Dance brings cultures together by helping artists from different background find common ground in movement and expression. As a social justice circus artist, I teach kids from very different backgrounds how to work together within a third culture of movement in order to build trust and community. I love that movement arts allow our humanity to rise above labels so that we can embrace all cultures, and this festival is an excellent way to bring together our diversity here in Maui.” (Heather Booth of Maui Aerial Arts will be performing aerial dance- an American dance founded in the late 1960's when post-modern dance started exploring vertical space)
"There is diversity in styles, beliefs and practices amongst hālau hula. Speaking for myself only and very simply... hula is a dance interpretation of the meaning of the song or chant. I think, like other dance forms, it captures the emotions and transports you to that place or time, to the event or person and for that moment you remember or picture or "smell" that fragrance...I try to Aloha kekahi I kekahi, have Aloha for each and everyone. Cultural diversity makes us unique, interesting, different and recognizing and respecting this is as important as it is to breath. We are all unique and have our own gifts, our own stories." (Kumu Hula Sharon Balidoy, Hālau Ka 'Imi Na'auao O Hawai'i Nei: Hula)
"For me the essence of Tango is the social aspect, where we as dancers come together from every corner of the world to share in this magical moment.... a sort of affair that lasts a short sequence of songs called Tanda. A performance is certainly the best way to promote the drama of this dance as well as the internal turmoil of the Argentinian culture; but the social dance is where the pure essence of this dance lives. In this social dance, nothing is choreographed, therefore the most amazing skill that one must have in tango is to be able to improvise with musicality.... and what a music! As you master the dance, you celebrate as a people the universal desire of freedom that the music and the Argentinian culture evoke." (Maui Argentine Tango)