Dance blooms this spring

Jazz, tap, hip-hop and ballet fill the stage

Ella Direnfeld (left) and Maia Taketa perform in last year’s Maui Academy for Performing Art’s “MOVES.” The 2017 Spring Extravaganza showcase returns Saturday and Sunday to the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. Tickets range from $17 to $22 (plus applicable fees). To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or visit Peter Liu photo

Just as Seabury Hall hosts “Dance Showcase” annually, Maui Academy of Performing Arts showcases more than 400 dancers each May in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului with its “Spring Extravaganza.” Three shows to be performed this weekend will star children as young as 3-year-old pre-ballet students up to the advanced teens and adult guest performers.

The keiki dancers will strut their stuff in the “Jazz, Tap & Hip-Hop Revue” at 1 p.m. Saturday. At 7:30 p.m. the advanced dancers will present “MOVES,” an evening of original choreography featuring members of Adaptations Dance Theater, alumnus Ali McKeon of Menlowe Ballet and Ali McKeon Dance Project, and parti-cipating MAPA teaching artists performing under the direction of Alannah Anderson.

The event will culminate with two performances of the romantic French ballet “Giselle” at 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday with more than 200 ballerinas in performance. Although a French ballet, the story is set in Germany and centers on Giselle, a lovely young peasant girl with a weak heart and a passion for dancing. Giselle’s mother warns her about dancing so much, afraid that her daughter’s heart will give out. The girl is courted by a young Duke disguised as a peasant. The young man vows eternal love for Giselle, but the romance is hindered by a woodsman who has long been in love with Giselle. The suspicious woodsman angrily vows to uncover the true identity of this mystery man and separate the two lovers. This 19th-century melodrama finds all parties making incorrect assumptions with tragic results.


Kula’s Alexander Academy of Performing Arts received some distressing news last week when county officials made the decision to condemn the historic Old Kula Community Center and ordered them to vacate the building they have called home for 27 years.

Given just seven days to vacate, the teachers and students are now left scrambling to find a new studio space just four weeks before their scheduled performance of their annual ballet production, “Once Upon A Time: Storybook Dances,” which opens on June 3 at Seabury Hall’s ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center in Makawao.

Academy director Danelle Watson shared that the students and teachers are seeking two Upcountry studio spaces with hardwood floors to occupy temporarily until a new permanent home can be secured. If interested in assisting Alexander Dance Academy, contact Watson through

Also this week

Maui OnStage continues its free theater series, ONO!, Monday with a staged reading of “August: Osage County,” a black comedy set in Oklahoma, by Tracy Letts.

* The free ONO! performances are 6:30 p.m. every second Monday of the month at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. For more information, visit


Nick Swardson, comedian and co-star of several Adam Sandler movies, including the locally filmed “Just Go With It,” returns to Maui for an evening of comedy.

* Performance at 7:30 p.m. May 18 in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $25 to $45 if purchased in advance (plus applicable fees), with a $5 per ticket increase on day-of-show, and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at


Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” will perform two sets of comedy in the Castle Theater at the MACC later this month. Advanced discount tickets for Noah’s Maui show sold out extremely fast, prompting producer Rick Bartalini to add a second Maui show on the same night. Noah is the most successful comedian in Africa and has hosted the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Daily Show” since he succeeded Jon Stewart in 2015.

* Performances are at 8 and 10 p.m. May 25 in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $79.50 to $99.50 (plus applicable fees) and are available at the box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at


MAPA Live continues auditions for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame: A New Musical,” directed by David C. Johnston, with choreography by Andre Morissette under the musical direction of Gary W. Leavitt. All roles are available and auditions are open to performers ages 16 and up.

Actors must schedule a 10-minute audition appointment and prepare 32 bars of a musical theater song, bring sheet music in their key, plus a current headshot and resume. An accompanist will be provided. Remaining appointments are scheduled between 6:30 and 9 p.m. tonight and Friday at the MAPA main studio at 2027 Main St. in Wailuku. Performances will be on the weekends from Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 in Castle Theater at the MACC. For character descriptions and more information about the production, visit