Courtesy Leeward Community College
The story of a nation, told in dance
When people think "American Indian," what generally comes to mind is Lakota Sioux. Celebrated in both history and Hollywood, the fierce, nomadic Northern plains tribes are the icon that defines Indian in pop culture.
'COKATA UPO! (COME TO THE CENTER)'
Place: Leeward Community College Theatre, 96-045 Ala Ike St.
Time: 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $23 general; $19 students, seniors and military
Call: 455-0385 (455-0389 for directions)
In reality, the hundreds of American Indian tribes are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. But still, when you hear there's an Indian dance troupe coming to town, the image of feathered headdresses and beaded buckskins is hard to shake.
And so we have "Cokata Upo! (Come to the Center!)" presented by Lakota Sioux Dance Theatre at Leeward Community College. The troupe, who last performed here in 1996, has assembled a presentation of the birth, death and eventual rebirth of their nation, using traditional music and dance mixed with high-tech visual projections, choreography and lighting.
The dance theater was created three decades ago on the Rosebud Reservation, grafted together by a non-Indian reservation teacher who was interested in presenting Lakota traditions to a wider audience.
AS THE COLLEGE marks its 40th anniversary, the LCC Theatre, opened in 1974, approaches it's 35th birthday, with the Lakota Sioux presentation kicking off the new season.
"We tend to be an overlooked resource," says Joe Patti, theater manager. "We're a hundred yards from where H-1 and H-2 merge, and yet, no one knows we're here."
Not quite no one. Since the 635-seat theater opened, more than two million patrons have enjoyed productions there. Known for its broad seating that gives an intimate view of the proscenium stage, and for its excellent acoustics, nearly two dozen major productions are held there each season, half school-generated and the others from professional touring companies from the mainland and the Pacific.
As for the rest of the year, "we do a lot of rental," said Patti. "Church groups. Performing arts groups. Hip-hop dance groups. A whole lot of beauty pageants! The holidays are always well booked -- Hawaii Ballet Theatre has done 'The Nutcracker' here forever.
"The push, I guess, is for Kapolei residents. We're not far in drive time -- just a bit beyond Waimalu if you're driving toward town."
Call Patti at 455-0381 or browse lcctheatre.hawaii.edu for information and bookings.