Dance Maui 2017

Shimmies into Ke‘opuolani Park Saturday

Akari Ueoka (from left), Jenny Baker-Zangpo and Malati Carano in Darshan Dance Project and Ueoka performing Japanese dance (second photo) are a few of the scheduled performers in Dance Maui 2017, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ke‘opuolani Park Amphitheater in Kahului. Open grass seating tickets are $12 and children 10 and younger may attend free of charge. Low-back beach chairs or blankets are recommended. Free parking is available at War Memorial Stadium. For information or to purchase tickets online, visit Trish Barker photos

“Dance Maui is driven by its mission to recognize the breadth and depth of Maui’s vibrant professional dancers,” says Dance Maui 2017 Director Nicole Humphrey. “This festival is all about our shared experience as performers and audience members. It creates channels for collaboration and partnership between Maui dancers, and provides the opportunity for all of us to enjoy back-to-back performances of unique movement, creativity and expression.”

The open-air festival being held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Ke’opuolani Regional Park Amphitheater in Kahului showcases Maui’s dance organizations as one community. Saturday’s lineup includes Adaptations Dance Theater (modern dance), Akari Ueoka (Izanai Yosakoi Japanese dance), Cox + Larson (modern dance), Darshan Dance Project (Indian Odissi dance), Haley Bowman (contemporary dance), Jaidah Terry (contemporary ballet), Maui Argentine Tango, Maui Aerial Arts (aerial dance), PureMotionZ /S.T.O. ProductionZ (contemporary dance), Karyne Daniels (hula), Samba Maui with the Village Pulse Dancers (Congolese dance), The Soma Aina Project (contact improvisation) and the dancers of ” ‘Ulalena.”

“The first time I saw Ke’opuolani Park Amphitheater I felt magic,” Humphrey said. “It is a beautiful setting for an outdoor dance performance festival.”

“A fundamental aspect of Dance Maui is the fact that this is the only thing on Maui of its kind and a great way to introduce dance to those who don’t usually watch dance,” explained ADT dancer and Dance Maui contributor Jen Cox.

“It makes dance accessible while simultaneously presenting quality and unique performance art. Dance Maui is casual, family-friendly, outdoors with food and drink available to make it easy to spend the afternoon there,” continued Cox. “Whether you have been a dance patron for decades or a mom looking for a way to entertain her kids on a Saturday, Dance Maui has the quality lineup and friendly atmosphere to cater to everyone’s needs and tastes.”

Ueoka performing Japanese dance

I asked Humphrey how the Dance Maui festival got started.

“Hallie (Hunt), Amelia (Couture) and I sat around about four years ago brainstorming how we could get our art form out into the community in an accessible way,” she said. “We all have been a part of dance festivals in our past and love what they stand for — and being that there was no dance festival on Maui that brought all culturally diverse dance forms together on one stage, we thought, ‘Why not create our own festival for the community?’ “

Now in its third year, Humphrey shared how Dance Maui has grown.

“We truly feel like we are making an impact because we have seen audience growth from year one to the second and expect more attendees this year. We have seen a diverse range of dance organizations perform from year one to three — some have been consistent, but many are new.”

One of those new editions is Jennifer Schmidt of The Soma Aina Project.

Erin Tsue (from left), Jaysen Giroux and Lauryn Ige go on the worst first dates in history in the Baldwin Performing Arts Learning Center and Theatre Guild’s production of the comedy “Check, Please!” Ray-Anne Dela Cruz photo

“We are excited to connect with other dancers who are out there doing this work and to create more opportunities for collaboration and growth through our own emergence on the dance scene,” shared Schmidt.

“We are grateful for ADT and the opportunity that Dance Maui is, as we see it as an excellent catalyst for dancers to come together and create collective momentum in the form,” she added.

Sarala Dandekar of Darshan Dance Project has partnered with ADT and Dance Maui several times.

“My goal is to preserve Indian dance traditions and showcase these living art forms at venues that both honor the beauty of dance and also create greater cultural exposure for a wide-ranging audience,” said Dandekar. “I believe that Dance Maui is such a venue and is an opportunity to bring our dance community together, support one another and celebrate the fact that, ultimately, dance is joy manifested.”

“If a community member is already interested in the performing arts, Dance Maui would be a good and accessible opportunity for them to expand their horizons and witness another performing art form — dance — shown throughout 18 individual and group performances, all deriving from different cultural backgrounds,” added Humphrey. “I truly believe there is a dance performance in the festival for everyone.”

Also this week

Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and Baldwin Theatre Guild present two one-act comedies “No Body to Murder” and “Check, Please!,” directed by Linda Carnevale.

In “No Body to Murder” by Edith Weiss, severe thunderstorms and an escaped convict threaten the guests at the Come On Inn of Nova Scotia. When aerobics instructor Billie Body is mysteriously murdered during a power outage, everyone has a hidden motive to want her dead in this irreverent whodunit comedy full of zany characters, hilarious stage action and a surprise ending.

“Check, Please!” by Jonathan Rand looks at the world of first dates and asks if it is better to remain single for the rest of your life or suffer through the worst dates in history.

“You may meet some strange and odd characters when going on a first date with someone you just met,” says Carnevale. 

* Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sundays opening Friday and running through Nov. 19 at the Loudon Mini-Theatre on the Baldwin High School campus in Wailuku. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students and $3 for children 10 and younger and are available at the box office 45 minutes before show time. To makes reservations, call 727-3297.


Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents Moliere’s “The Wanna-Be Gentleman,” directed by Todd Van Amburgh. This modern adaptation of Moliere’s classic comedy, “The Bourgeois Gentleman,” is the farcical tale of a man who has money but no respect from the “cool” crowd. In an effort to be well-respected, he spends his fortune on whatever will make him stylish.

* Show opens at 7 p.m. Saturday, with additional performances at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18 and at 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Campus in Makawao. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. For more information or to purchase tckets online, visit


The Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului presents “Alan Clements Uncensored: Spiritually Incorrect.” Clements questions “Are mindfulness, meditation and indoctrination different? Are Trump, ISIS and the globalization of corporate totalitarianism the same?”

Maui Beat columnist Jon Woodhouse says of Clements, “Blend a former Buddhist monk with Noam Chomsky, Lenny Bruce and a hyper-spiritual Terrence McKenna and you get a sense of Alan Clements’ hilarious, brilliant and deliciously irreverent one-man performance.” 

* Performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC. Tickets range from $31 to $41 (plus applicable fees). For more information or to purchase tickets for any MACC event, go to the box office, call 242-7469 or visit


Maui OnStage continues its free, one-night-only theater series, ONO! on Monday with the one-man show, “How I Brought Peace to the Middle East: A Tragicomedy,” by David Kaye.

This true story of a naive Vermonter on a mission reveals one man’s optimism put to the ultimate test after moving his family to Israel for six months. With missiles flying amidst the Arab summer of 2012 and his wife and children kvetching, Kaye had high hopes of settling the turmoil overseas once and for all. This funny and touching show will take the audience along on Kaye’s misadventures from New England to the Holy Land.

“Ultimately the play is about optimism. That is always a good topic, but right now I think keeping hope alive might be what audiences want to hear. It is optimism put to the test and an important subject to reflect upon,” said Kaye.

* Performance is at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. For more information about this ONO! show or other shows at the theater, visit or call 242-6969.