Alexander Academy of Performing Arts will be presenting their production of Peter Pan A Dance Production this weekend. Based at the Old Kula Community Center, Alexander Academy is home to more than 220 students with five teachers instructing 40 classes a week. The idea to do a production culminated in summer of 2011, with auditions occurring this January.
“The excitement from the cast has been the most thrilling and fulfilling part of the production,” says Academy Director Danelle Watson. “The cast of 160 is full of enthusiasm and energy. The storyline is charming, fun and full of adventure. It’s been a lot of fun to see ladies play pirates! Our school is mostly balle and we have loads of very talented classically trained dancers. We are feeling proud of the product we have to show for all the work.”
Graduating senior Kelsey Greenway will play Peter Pan, and Hanna Claerbout will play Wendy. Camille Erdman will play Tinkerbell, Amelia Nelson will play Captain Hook, graduating senior Tatiana Camit will play Tiger Lily, Adam Bartlett will play John and LeiHina Gibson will portray Michael. Hallie Hunt-Armato, Amelia Nelson, Danelle Watson and Ashiya Corder choreographed the production.
Cynthia Murphy founded the Alexander Dance Academy 21 years ago. She passed away last week, and this show has been dedicated to her.
“She taught a very strict Vagonova style ballet class,” says Watson, who has been director since 2009. “Her high expectations created discipline, integrity and results. She had a reputation of being very strict but everyone knew they were loved. In return, she received respect.”
Murphy began teaching dance at Pookela Church in Olinda, then moved the dance school to Kula in 1995. The school has the distinction of being the only donation-based dance academy on Maui.
“This allows for everyone to be able to make dance a lifestyle and receive the benefits that dance gives–poise, confidence, grace, strength–regardless of financial abilities,” says Watson. “This philosophy makes for a very happy dance community that we call our dancing ohana. It also provides a healthy learning environment. Students from a wide range of financial situations get to meet each other and form close friendships. These girls may otherwise never have met or spent so much time together. Moms get to meet each other, too. Our eldest dancer mom is 70 years old.”
Watson says the school’s biggest challenge with the show has been raising money, but the dedicated families at the studio have been tremendously helpful with fundraisers. Donations for the silent auction that will be held before the show and during intermissions of both shows have also been helpful. Among the donations is a copy of The Hunger Games signed by Woody Harrelson.
The show runs this Saturday, Apr. 14 at 6pm and Sunday, Apr. 15 at 2pm at the Maui Theater in Lahaina, home to Ulalena. Tickets are available for purchase at http://brownpapertickets.com/event/214310 or by calling 800-838-3006.
After the production, new students will be accepted for the academy waiting lists. Registration for the summer session begins May 1. For more information visit alexanderacademy.info or call 808-878-8970.