Adaptations Dance Theater’s third annual Dance Maui festival is always a great event, full of creativity and expression. To find out more, I spoke with co-founder Nicole Humphrey and board member/marketing liaison Jen Cox.
It all starts with Adaptations Dance Theater (ADT), a nonprofit organization founded by Humphrey, Amelia Couture and Hallie Hunt. The trio started it after realizing that Maui had great dance schools, but no professional dance companies.
“For us, the motivation was to create original and enthralling work, and to try and give the talented youth on Maui an opportunity to pursue a career in professional dance,” said Humphrey.
“The dance schools are packed,” said Cox, “but once they graduate high school they hit a wall. They have to go off island to pursue a career, and that’s what ADT is trying to change. To provide an environment for continued development of artistic expression, here at home.”
Coming from Dallas, Humphrey has seen the potential that professional dance companies can have, and wanted to bring some of that community to the talented individuals on Maui.
Since ADT’s culmination, the group now puts on four main programs a year, including an apprentice program for a high school student, workshops for the community, a festival in November, and the Dance Maui festival.
“Maybe not everyone is interested in going to a theater to sit and watch dance,” said Humphrey. “So, Dance Maui is our way of taking it outdoors, in an accessible environment, sitting on a grass lawn with your kids running around. It’s our way of bringing dance to the community.”
As far as the dancing goes, Cox describes it as a “buffet of dance”–three hours of some of the best dance you’ll find on the island.
“In the last two years it has been Maui dancers, but the ultimate vision of the festival is to become an international festival, one that celebrates cultural diversities,” said Humphrey. “This island is full of culture, in this festival alone we have Japanese dance, classical Indian dance, ‘Ulalena, aerial arts, tap dance, modern dance, contemporary ballet.”
The festival offers spectators a chance to find a new love in dance. For example, the Darshan Dance Project will perform a traditional 30-minute Indian Odissi dance.
“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 Sarala Dandekar of Darshan Dance Project. “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.”
Another longer performance during the event will come from the ‘Ulalena troop. The dancers tell the story of the Hawaiian Islands and their Polynesian people. It’s a performance you usually have to pay to see in Lahaina.
ADT will also showcase their newest contemporary ballet, choreographed by co-founder and artistic director Hallie Hunt. The full list of performers is as follows:
– Adaptations Dance Theater, Contemporary Dance Company
– Akari Ueoka, Izanai Yosakoi, Energetic Japanese Dance
– Cox + Larson, Modern Dance
– Darshan Dance Project, Classical Indian Odissi Dance Company
– Haley Bowman, Contemporary Dance
– Jaidah Terry, Contemporary Ballet
– Maui Argentine Tango Group, Tango
– Maui Aerial Arts, Aerial Arts Company
– PureMotionZ / S.T.O. ProductionZ, Contemporary Dance
– Sacred Dance Path, Karyne Daniels, Solo Hula
– Samba Maui with the Village Pulse Dancers, Congolese Dance
– The Soma Aina Project, Contact Improvisation
– Ulalena, Maui’s Hawaiian Music and Dance Production
– Ashiya Carter, Tap Dance
*All performers are subject to change
“Dance Maui is driven by its mission to recognize the breadth and depth of Maui’s vibrant professional dancers,” said 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 festival will take place in the Keopuolani Park Amphitheater space. Tickets are $12 and free for keiki ages 10 and under. Food and drink will be provided by Gypsy Maui food truck and Vitali-Tea Kombucha company. The festival will also feature a bake sale to raise funds for future events, provided by Maui Fruit Jewels, Whole Foods Market and Sip Me. Volunteer opportunities can be found on the Adaptationsdancetheater.com.
DANCE MAUI FESTIVAL
Saturday, Nov. 11
$12, kids 10 and under free
Keopuolani Regional Park Amphitheater
Photos: Trish Barker Photography