What happens when you mix inspired creativity with one of the most compelling environments in the world?
You get the Volcano Art Center.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of what has become one of the liveliest strongholds of culture and the arts on the Big Island.
Two events in this month will celebrate VAC’s role in supporting and cultivating the development of the genre of dance.
Volcano was the place where modern dance in the state of Hawaii had its roots through the work of Earnest T. Morgan (1947-91). His company, Dance o Hawaii, and the Volcano Art Center brought dancers and teachers of international repute to the Big Island during the ’70s and ’80s for the Volcano Dance Retreats.
These annual gatherings were hosted outdoors and allowed dancers to interact with, and be inspired by, nature.
In memory and celebration of the Dance Retreats, the first event “Dancing at the Source, Dancing on the Edge: The Birth” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Niaulani’s Hale Ho‘omana facility.
This is a “talk story” with architect, photographer and VAC founder Boone Morrison, who will share the living history of VAC and the beginning of Morgan’s dance program.
Members of Morgan’s original dance company, Trina Nahm-Mijo and Richard Koob, will share dance excerpts from Morgan’s acclaimed choreography. Kea Kapahua will share modern and hula movement in a solo piece from Morgan’s acclaimed “Kuu Home Kahului.”
Morgan and company were equally inspired and mentored by ‘Iolani Luahine and Edith Kanaka‘ole before they passed on.
The second event “Dancing at the Source, Dancing on the Edge: Branching Out” is slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Niaulani’s Hale Ho‘omana facility.
This presentation will feature the evolution of dance as a social justice and social change tool through the cutting edge work of former co-coordinator of the Volcano Dance Retreats, Nahm-Mijo. She will be collaborating on the evening’s interactive dance performances with Eric Kupers, a Bay Area dancer and director of his own dance company, Bandelion. They have collaborated on dance performances in Hawaii and the Bay Area for the last 15 years.
In addition, there will be a “Flash Photo Exhibit,” featuring iconic images from past Volcano Dance Retreats and Dance o Hawaii from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Hale Ho‘omana.
Attendees at the events will receive a complimentary commemorative poster featuring the photography of Morrison.
Space is limited, so it’s suggested you make reservations beforehand by visiting www.volcanoartcenter.org or calling 967-8222.
Admission for each event is $10 for VAC members and $12 for nonmembers.