Dance students continue to learn and practice even though concert plans are put on hold

Lily Zoraster, contributing photographer
Dance students Quynn Bonilla ('23), Ella Ann Wong ('22), Karlee Tanaka ('22), and Mei Orikasa ('20) perform at the fall concert. The spring concert was originally scheduled for April 16-18 but was cancelled this year.

Mia Nakagawa, Staff Writer

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, dancers from the MPSA dance program have been taking classes virtually, and taking free classes from professionals and alumni around the world. Dancers in Pupukahi have been taking their classes and learning routines through distance learning.

The Young Choreographer’s Spring Dance Concert was originally April 16-18, and Pupukahi’s spring concert was supposed to be on May 3.

“We are tied to the venue that we perform the concert at […] that’s the best way to say it,” said Paul Maley, the head of the MPSA dance program.

The dancers of both programs have been using this time to stay in shape, and keep up with their usual amount of exercise every day.

“I’ve been trying to maintain the usual activity we have with dance. We’re so used to dancing every day and after school,” said freshman Kalena O’Connell.

Dancers in the hula program have been learning new dances and practicing the dances they learned before spring break everyday.

It seems like you can’t get over this, but once you get through the bad, there’s always going to be more opportunities.”

— Kyson Kai

“We’re learning new dances and we still need to keep up with our other dances. I dance probably about an hour or so every day to revise what I need to,” said junior Riko Tsuchihashi.

Students in the MPSA dance program have been learning to accept that this year there won’t be a Spring Dance Concert at Paliku Theater.

“It was pretty hard for me at first. I just had to think of it in a different way. It seems like you can’t get over this, but once you get through the bad […] there’s always going to be more opportunities,” said sophomore Kyson Kai.

The cancelation of the Spring Dance Concert concerns students in the program about their tradition for seniors, such as senior circle.

“Senior circle is when all of the seniors in the spring dance concert get to reflect on their experience and the seniors tend to bawl their eyes out, and it’s really good to get closure with the time we spent in this program,” said senior Kyra Suzawa-Tajima.

According to Kumu Lanakila, the Kumu Hula of Pupukahi, he doesn’t want to cancel their concert and hopes to find a way to allow the seniors to still carry on their graduation traditions.

“The reason I don’t want to cancel is that there are so many traditions with Pupukahi that I want the seniors to have. […] for the girls, dancing the Kawaiahao school song that’s been a tradition since 1989,” said Lanakila.

The hula students have also been sending in videos of themselves dancing in their costumes to Lanakila, who has been putting the videos together with FinalCut Pro.

“I’ve been using this time at home to put their videos together and send them back to them. There’s just so much joy in their faces when they see each other dancing,” said Lanakila.

Even though there’s so many events being canceled and postponed, it is important to stay positive during this time, said Lanakila.

The dance program becomes a family for the students after spending so much time together in classes.

“Not only is it physical activity, but you get to make long-lasting friendships that you’ll always keep close to you because you spend so much time with them and you really create a family in this program,” said Suzawa-Tajima.