The Ballet Hawaii family is amazing! They faced the last two-plus years with their ‘can do‘ attitude and we survived. They faced eviction, lockdowns, relocation, and not being able to dance or perform. This wonderful group managed to keep everything running smoothly and cleared the many daily hurdles, both in town and at Ballet Hawaii West. We had to close the studios to in-person classes in March 2020. Our teachers, students, and parents all helped to continue classes virtually. Our students, both young and adult, found space in their kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, and outdoors to dance. Our teachers sent out schedules to ensure everyone could participate. John Parkinson, our Executive Director at the time, found an outdoor venue with a small stage where very small classes were given and in December we had a mini-performance on a stage by the sea. Next, we learned that our outstanding town studios were going to be torn down and we had to relocate by July. A group from our board began the search for a new location. One of our main criteria was that it needed to be close to town. We visited many potential sites and finally found our new home in the Regal Theatre building at Dole Cannery, a familiar location where we had studios 12 years ago. While waiting to move in we rented space where classes were given and scores of props and costumes were stored. Our staff never gave up and never stopped the classes and the dancing.
Amidst all of this, we partnered with the Honolulu Symphony and filmed a version of The Nutcracker at the Hawaii Theatre Center for television audiences and it was submitted for an Emmy! A PSA, Arts Beyond Covid, featuring some of our young dancers in a promotional film won an Emmy in a separate category. This year, being unable to use the Blaisdell Concert Hall, we filmed another PSA that has also been submitted for an Emmy, and once again, our Nutcracker film was aired on KITV for 4 nights in December.
We held 5 performances of The Nutcracker with our students in our new studios in December for parents and friends. (All costumes had masks that matched.) It was exciting for them to once again have a real audience, and it was a truly delightful presentation for all.
At the end of October our Executive Director of many years, John Parkinson, stepped down. We will miss him. He made me laugh every day. With the help of Ballet Hawaii’s good friend, Melvin Sakurai, we interviewed many outstanding candidates. We so are happy that Kimi Takazawa agreed to join Ballet Hawaii as our new Executive Director. She has had to ‘hit the ground running’ in so many ways. A BIG welcome to our BH family, Kimi!
We are up and operating thanks to our Artistic Director, Pam Taylor Tongg, and all of our truly incredible staff and teachers that have worked tirelessly to get us moved into our new space. And, thanks to our really wonderful students, parents, and volunteers, we survived and look forward to the many new and exciting things on the calendar for Ballet Hawaii this year.
I hope you will all come and enjoy STARS of AMERICAN BALLET, our first professional presentation in three years, at Hawaii Theatre Center on March 13, 2022. This is truly an outstanding group of dancers that offer an evening of incredible dance, from classical to hip hop. This will be our big fundraiser for the year so please support BH, enjoy, and celebrate!
Vive la Danse,