Hip-hop crew, L.A. champs to host lu‘au

For dance coach and founder of Excel! Dance Studio, Sherri Holcomb, the most gratifying part of teaching youth hip-hop is observing her students mature as individuals.

“Teaching dance is not just about technique,” she said. “We focus on morals. You have to know how to be respectful.”

The team’s ability and sportsmanship were clearly seen when her All Stars took first place in the AmeriDance championships in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Nov. 15 the dance team will host a concert fundraiser lu‘au from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kilohana to raise money for their 2009 spring competition. In addition to a team performance there will also be the following featured guest artists: Papa‘a Bay Boy, Mark Riley, Kaina Costa and Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina ‘ala.

Holcomb attributes the strength of her team to their willingness to give and receive constructive criticism.

“I tell them that if you are not corrected you can’t be the best you can be,” she said.

Holcomb coaches the team on the art of this delicate and critical approach to learning.

“My students work one-on-one,” she said. “After (an exercise) they have to give a constructive criticism to their partner and end with a positive — something they were awesome at.”

She’s observed that when students evaluate one another’s technique they learn as much or more about their own performance.

“They end up applying what they saw wrong to themselves,” she said.

Another strategy that delivers positive dividends for her students is prayer.

“If we have a bad practice we pray about it,” she said. “Prayer leads to gratitude. (My students) have become very humble.”

Holcomb teaches dance classes in Kalaheo, Lihu‘e and Kapa‘a. Her All Star Dance Team that competes nationally is made up of youth ranging in age from 9 to 14. They are chosen during her summer hip-hop dance camp.

“We started the camp three years ago,” she said.

The four-day dance camp in July culminated with a performance for parents and the announcement of the 11 member All Star dance team that will attend a national competition on the Mainland in spring 2009. Dancers train for roughly two and a half months before the competition.

“What we teach is a foundation of dance but it can be applied to your whole life,” Holcomb said.

To learn more about the camp or classes visit exceldancestudio.com or call 639-8425.

Want to go?

What: Concert lu‘au and silent auction

Why: Fundraiser for the Excel! All Star Dance Team

When: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 15

Where: Kilohana

Cost: $25, keiki under 4 years old, free

• Pam Woolway, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or pwoolway@kauaipubco.com

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