Shakti Dance Movement will perform belly dancing at Leeward Community College's festival.
Dance dance dance
Stephanie Palombo had been coordinating Leeward Community College's dance festival for close to two decades before everything came to a grinding halt due to her hip surgery.
That was three years ago, so when the college's associate professor restarted the festival this year, she worried that dancers here had since forgotten about what was once a long-running showcase.
Leeward Community College Dance Festival
Place: LCC Theatre, 96-045 Ala 'Ike
Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: $12 general and $10 students, seniors and military
Palombo's concerns were unfounded.
"I was amazed that the dance community has been so generous," she said. "People are donating their time. It's incredible, and we have a lineup like nothing we have had before."
The festival kicks off again with a full panoply of dance, ranging from African and Balinese to ballet and contemporary, and even ending with a bit of invigorating taiko drumming from Kenny Endo's ensemble.
With performances limited to six minutes, expect a full and fast-moving sampler of choreographed skills and styles from the following: the LCC Dance Production Class (contemporary and modern), the 'Iolani and Punahou School Dance Programs (hip-hop and lyric jazz, and ballet, respectively), the Upside Down Dance Company (post-modern, including acrobatics), Giinko Marischino (avant-garde), the Shakti Dance Movement (tribal fusion belly dancing), the Badenyaa Africa Diaspora Theatre (African dance and drumming), group dances conceived by Marie Takazawa and Celia Chun (jazz and modern ballet, respectively) and Sinamar and Desiree A. Seguritan each performing traditional Balinese dance solos.
Palombo remembers participating in the college's first dance festival back in 1989.
"It was my very first piece I had choreographed as a grad student at the University of Hawaii," she said. "The next year, I came over here originally for a part-time job, and I've been here ever since, trying to keep the festival going. But I must acknowledge that this entire thing was originally the work of Kathleen Cabral, the theater manager until a couple years ago. ... She worked tirelessly and I totally connected with her vision."
Palombo specifically spells out three goals she wants to accomplish through the dance festival. "First, I really know that, in our bones, that we are all musicians and dancers, so I try to gear the concert for the regular person so, secondly, I try to contact local dance groups of different genres to perform and provide contrasts.
"And last, we use dancers of all levels of expertise, to reinforce the belief that anyone can dance. For instance, of the 21 dancers in the LCC class, over half of them had no previous dance experience. ... And we have local icons like Celia Chun and Marie Takazawa who bring years and years of dancing professionally."
The LCC dancers will be doing three pieces choreographed by Palombo, Sami Akuna (who'll be doing double-duty, being a member of Giinko Maraschino as well) and student Lindsey Itamoto.
"I don't dare make artistic judgments of what is brought in to the festival," Palombo said. "I just want to expose people to a variety of dance, and ask that the pieces be kept short and sweet, so it leaves the audience wanting more."