Born in Taiwan, Yi-Chun "Billy" Chang received his BFA degree in dance from Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA), the most prestigious arts institution in Taiwan. He has been teaching, choreographing and performing since he was twenty in dance schools and for professional dance companies in Taiwan. In 2006, he performed as the Rat King, Solider solo, Chinese and Russian roles in The Nutcracker production while he was a exchange student at SUNY-Purchase College. After he graduated from TNUA and finished his military service in Taiwan, Billy received the contract to dance with Cirque Du Soleil (CDS). He has danced the main character Dralion, the God of Fire in the CDS production. His face has also represent the spirit of the production. During the tour with CDS, he also freelanced and choreographed for several dance productions around the world. Billy enjoys sharing his Asia heritage wherever he goes. His contemporary choreography is rich both in traditional and modern styles.
Tara Pandeya is a second-generation dancer, teacher and choreographer of eastern and western heritage. She is an international performing artist who has dedicated the last 18 years of her life to the
preservation and promotion of dance from the Central Asian Silk Road.
She specializes in dance from the regions of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan,
Tajikistan, East Turkestan, Iran, Kurdistan and Azerbaijan.
As the daughter of a professional dancer and arts educator, Tara was
exposed to dance and music since infancy; she trained in multiple
dance styles including classical South and North Indian, traditional
Middle Eastern, Central Asian, modern, tap and ethno-contemporary.
Tara is dedicated to taking an in-depth approach to traditional dance.
She has completed dance residencies in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Uyghur
Autonomous Xinjiang, China, Pakistan and India. Tara has conducted
anthropological dance research in these regions both through the Tajik
Dance Initiative NGO, of which she was a founding member in 2006. Tara has choreographed solo works as well as numerous group pieces
as guest choreographer for dance companies including Ballet Afsaneh,
The Presidio Performing Arts Foundation, Shahrazad Dance company,
Danceversity and the Tajik-based dance company Padida Theater. She has been commissioned for her solo work in Tajikistan by UNESCO in 2016 to create a cross-cultural piece with the National Opera of Tajikistan, as well solo creations for the SF Ethnic Dance Festival in 2010 and 2015. From 2010-2015, Taraplayed the principle dance role of 'Oceane' (the goddess of water) in Cirque du Soleil's Dralion, for which she performed 1,500 shows on 5 continents in 170 cities.
Toni Pasion (Los Angeles, California; Laoag, Antipolo, Pampanga, Philippines) is a dancer and choreographer. She has danced locally and internationally with many groups, dancing hula, Tahitian, Polynesian contemporary, and indigenous contemporary. She is the 2017 recipient of the Halla Huhm Memorial Award for excellence in Asian Pacific dance. In May 2017, Toni received her MA degree in Dance from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she researched indigenous contemporary dance and Filipina identity. Toni advocates for the arts and dance as embodied practices of healing, and is energized with work in community building and strategizing through art.
Angel Prince is a Director, Choreographer, Educator, and Performer. She is the director of the Kahilu Performing Arts Classes (KPAC) and the Artistic Director of Prince Dance Theatre. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Psychology from Hofstra University and a Masters degree in Tendencies of Contemporary Dance at the National University of Art in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ms. Prince founded Prince Dance Institute, which provided dance and theatre education, and original performances for over ten years in Waimea. Recently renamed to KPAC, this school continues to provide performance arts training for all ages. She is the choreographer and dance teacher for the Hawaii Performing Arts festival, has taught at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Parker School, The Big Island Dance Council and has had residencies at every public school in North Hawaii. She is also a teaching artist for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. As director of Prince Dance Theatre, a not for profit 501 © 3, Angel has created and presented work all over the country in both theatrical and educational settings. Que Suenes Con Las Angelitas, the company’s most recent work, critically acclaimed for its combination of dance and theatre, toured the state of Hawai‘i and showcased at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The creative process is very important to Angel, and she tends to collaborate with specialists in other fields, such as physicists, astro-photographers, and mathematicians. In this vein, Angel worked with Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawaii Foundation to create the original musical Trash Heap, an educational story about the human eco footprint. Angel is a Tanne Award winner, and her company was recently mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine for their participation in the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence.
For Akari Ueoka, dance has become her lifeblood. According to her mother, she even danced in the womb. When Akari turned 18 years old, she moved from Japan to Maui on her own and has been enjoying Maui life ever since. In elementary school, she learned a traditional Japanese sword dance called Minbu, and she joined the rhythmic gymnastics club in high school. From there, her passion for dance grew stronger, and she studied various dance forms, including jazz, modern, ballet, and hip-hop at the Suga Jazz Dance Studio in Kochi. She also studied Izanai Yosakoi dance under guidance of the late Suga Kunitomo, a well-known choreographer/teacher in Japan. Since her introduction to the form, Akari has performed Izanai Yosakoi in over 50 cities throughout Japan, Croatia, India, the continental US, and here in Hawaii. Akari’s life changed forever in 2005 when she met Sarala Dandekar on Maui. After falling in love with the classical Indian dance, Odissi, Akari began her apprenticeship under Sarala’s guidance. In 2012, Akari had Manchapravesh, a debut ceremony, which marks completion of formal training and initiates dancers into a further commitment to the art form. Although the dance form is technically challenging and requires much patience and practice to improve, her love for this art form has been steadily growing over the years, so much so, that she traveled to India to study with Sarala’s teacher in 2013. She takes much pleasure in sharing this traditional and deeply spiritual art form.
Sarala Dandekar has performed and taught Odissi dance for 25 years. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jacob’s Pillow, the Kenedy Center, HarbourFront Toronto, The National Center for Performing Arts, Mumbai, The Nehru Center, India, among other venues globally. She believes equally in upholding and challenging classical choreography and has collaborated with musicians and dancers from around the world. She has an MA in Dance Ethnology from York University, Toronto. She has lived on Maui for 12 years, and is committed to bringing quality cultural dance performance to the stage and schools. Sarala has served as a paneslist for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Biennium Grants for Performing Arts. Sarala currently teaches ongoing Odissi classes in Maui, Hawaii, and can be contacted at DarshanDanceProject.com.
Jazmyne M.K. Geis grew up in the cultural diverse environment of the Hawaiian Islands and, having many opportunities to travel internationally, developed an interest in understanding how people from different cultures live and experience the world. With the collection of a wide variety of dance styles and backgrounds in visual art, Jazmyne has tied these "languages" back to the roots of her upbringing and foundation-- back to the dance, culture and and of her homeland, Hawai‘i. The Hawaiian Islands inspire her creative work-- nestled in her heart, passion and expression. Jazmyne has collected a wide variety of cultural dance styles from regions of the Pacific, Asia, South East Asia and South America. Jazmyne has taught and choreographed for students from The Colorado College, The Colorado Academy of Music and Dance, National Taiwan University of Physical Education, International School Bangkok (assistant guest teacher), WDA/daCi Global Dance Summit 2012 (Taiwan), WDA Angers (France), and WDA-A (UH Mānoa Campus, HI). She lived in Hamburg, Germany where she founded her own dance program StudioJaz, teaching workshops and courses on her style “Urban Cultural Dance”, and now resides back on the island of Maui. Hawai'i.
Born of Israeli & German blood, Zan Mantz grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Upon graduating high school, he moved to Maui to farm. During his time on island, Zan got intruduced to bamboo flutes, receiving his first instrument - a Japanese Shakuhachi - from a local flute maker. Four years later, Zan now runs the local business Zanboo Flutes out of Maui. He has taught himself music theory and continues to immerse himself in learning all that he can about sound vibration. He now makes many varieties of flutes representing cultures from around the world including: Japanese Shakuhachi, Native American Reed, Indian Bansuri, Arabian Side, and the traditional Hawaiian Nose Flute. Zan is a crafter, teacher and performer looking to share his talents and passion of his flutes with the island community. His past performances include participation with the Maui Community Theatre, Mana'o Radio, and other community performances.
Ictus is a jazz ensemble from Spokane, Washington and Gonzaga University, featuring Keith Brown on keyboards, John Betts on drums, Ramiro Vijarro on bass, Michael Lenke on trumpet, and saxophonists, Robert Spittal and Craig Landron. Together, their sound is a high energy fusion of jazz, funk and rock with the freedom to bridge the spaces between styles. For the festival, Ictus will debut selections of instrumental fusion jazz from their new record, Escape Velocity. www.IctusBand.com
Founded in 2009, the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra is a 26-piece band comprised of professional musicians, college students, high school students, retail managers and music educators from Maui. The orchestra performs at community events, shopping centers and intimate venues around the island of Maui. Its members’ goal is to spread their love of jazz to their community. www.Facebook.com/ChopSueyJazz
June Skies Jazz Combo is a student-led performance band from King Kekaulike High School in Upcountry Maui. These young entertainers focus on jazz, funk, blues and R&B versions of popular tunes, ala Postmodern Jukebox. www.Facebook.com/JuneSkiesMaui
Similarly, Na Ali‘i Big Band comprises student musicians from King Kekaulike High School. This premier ensemble performs traditional and contemporary big band-style jazz and swing. The students are conducted by Music Director Casey Nagata. KekaulikeBand.weebly.com/na-alii-big-band.html