Dance students from California participate in exchange with HawCC and UH Hilo

Students and faculty from California State University at East Bay are participating in a dance exchange with students and faculty from Hawai’i Community College and UH Hilo. The exchange culminates in a performance on Saturday, February 23 at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center.

Eleven students and two faculty members, Nina Haft and Eric Kupers, from California State University at East Bay will participate in a five-day exchange February 19-23 with dance students and faculty from Hawai’i Community College and University of Hawai’i-Hilo dance programs.

The CSUEB students were selected to participate by application for the tour. All students are currently members of the CSUEB Inclusive Interdisciplinary Ensemble and/or CSUEB’s Touring Company. Dancers were selected based on their commitment to the dance program, their reasons for wishing to participate, and their ideas for how to make the tour a positive experience.

The exchange idea was a collaboration between Eric Kupers, dance faculty member at CSUEB and Trina Nahm-Mijo, Professor and founder of the Dance program at Hawai’i Community College. They have done collaborative concerts since 1999 when Kupers brought his company, Dandelion Dancetheatre, to perform in a joint concert with Nahm-Mijo called “Traces” which showcased works based on ethnic identity. Their second collaboration was in 2006, when Kupers brought his company to Hilo again in a concert called “Vision the Body.”

A highlight of the tour is the opportunity for CSUEB students to perform with local dancers in choreography directed by artists from Hilo and from the Bay Area.  Nina Haft said: “This is a great opportunity for our students to get an in-depth experience of a vibrant and culturally diverse dance community that we rarely get to interact with at our regional or national college dance and theater festivals. It is also an opportunity for our students to get feedback on their work from new audiences, to learn from artists in Hilo, to perform with other college students, and to premiere their works on a new national stage. Finally, it is a unique opportunity to see what touring is really like as a professional dancer.”

HawCC/UHH dance students will take master classes from CSUEB faculty members as well as learn choreography, which will be performed in a culminating concert at the end of the exchange week. CSUEB students will be taking classes with HawCC faculty members Trina Nahm-Mijo and Annie Bunker, who will teach them Aerial dance. UHH faculty members Celeste Staton and Kea Kapahua are also involved in the exchange.

The results of this collaborative dance exchange will be showcased on Saturday, February 23 at 7 p.m. in “Undercurrents in the Ring of Fire: Works in Progress.” The performance will be presented in the upstairs theater space at the East Hawai`i Cultural Center located at 141 Kalakaua Ave. in Hilo. There will be a free dance party after the performance. The performance promises to be dynamic and stimulating for general audiences as well as dance aficionados. Admission is $5 and will be available at the door. For more information, contact Trina at p. 934-2574 or by email: nahmmijo@hawaii.edu.

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