Keia Dance Movement practicing at Kakaako Waterfront Park JERROLD CONRAD PHOTO

Keia Dance Movement practicing at Kakaako Waterfront Park JERROLD CONRAD PHOTO


Last Saturday, I attended my first UH basketball game ever, as part of Hawaii Youth Program for Excellence (H.Y.P.E.) mentoring through the medical school. I am not a big sports fan, so I made sure my phone was fully charged before the game — and even brought one of those spare battery chargers — thinking I would use the time to catch up on some of the latest video game offerings for iOS (which are really starting to get good).

If basketball is on TV, I have a really hard time keeping my eyes on the screen. The only sports I usually enjoy watching are skateboarding, surfing, skiing, biking, gymnastics and competitive aerobics. I was expecting to be pretty bored at the game. However, the only time I even touched my phone was to respond to friends’ texts telling them how much fun I was having. The game came down to the wire, and the Rainbow Wahine pulled through in the last minute.

But they weren’t the only ones who won: I played this pachinko game on the way in and got a perfect score for a super tight vacuum thermos. I also caught a T-shirt that was thrown into the crowd and won a dance-off on the jumbotron for a Zippy’s gift certificate. I had no idea I would have so much fun and make out like a bandit, but I left feeling like a total winner.

If you want to move like a winner, Keia Dance Movement has just started up its free dance classes twice a week at Kakaako Waterfront Park. I’ve been involved with Keia since it started a year ago, and it’s one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in my life. The concept behind Keia is to bring dance out of the auditorium and into public space. The movement is accessible and stimulating to everyone, from professional dancers to people who have absolutely no dance experience.

The director, Lisa Awaya, is a real estate management intern and volunteer at Harry Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. She’s also pursuing graduate studies in urban planning. She explains that her two passions are both about caring for the community and making a positive impact: “With urban planning, it’s about bringing the best decision makers together to make the best decisions for the community, and with dance, it’s caring for the community, uniting people together and empowering their personal freedom and sharing of expression through movement.”

While the classes are leading up to a performance in the summer, the troupe also will be creating two music videos for my tracks on this year’s POW! WOW! Hawaii CD.

If you’re interested in attending, classes are Thursdays from 8 to 9:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. Classes are free and open to anyone who’s interested in having some fun with movement. It sounds a little too good or weird to be true, but after every practice, I leave completely elated and invigorated. So far, about half of the group is new, so there’s nothing cliquey — just a great group of people ready to move and create.