Kaua‘i Dance Theatre back in the studio

KALAHEO — This week kicks off the Kaua‘i Dance Theatre’s winter-spring term, which will culminate during its 27th annual Spring Concert in May.

Classes begin Monday, but it’s not too late for experienced and aspiring dancers — young and old — to sign up.

“People (are welcome to) register along the way,” KDT Director and teacher Janie Crane said.

Crane has been involved in dance for more than 40 years and “strives to instill a love of dance in all students from the youngest aspiring ballerinas to adults who appreciate the grace, exercise and health benefits that dance offers,” according to her website.

KDT offers various levels of creative movement, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and morning exercises, starting with children age 4.  

“The classes are kept small so that the personal instruction benefits each student … they range from six to 10 students per class,” Crane said.

Providing an activity that is “wholesome and healthy” is Crane’s goal, and classes are designed to provide classical training so students can gain experience, enjoyment and appreciation for dance.

Contemporary Movement classes are reserved for dancers ages 4 and 5, and utilize exercise, musical rhythms and props for movement exploration and expression.

“We do a lot of floor stretching and posture exercises to get them used to standing up like a ballerina,” Crane said. “I give them the skills so they could progress if they chose to … we have a lot of fun with it.”

From there, students have the opportunity to move into classes including Pre-Ballet (ages 5 to 6), Tap Dance Fun (ages 5 to 6), Ballet/Tap I (ages 6 to 8), Ballet/Tap II (ages 7 to 9) and Jazz for Kidz (ages 9 and up).

Teen and adult classes include Contemporary Styles — various dance styles influenced by popular movement trends — Ballet III-V, Tap III and Intermediate Tap.

Unlike many sports, Crane says dance is “very individual” and progress is based upon a student’s “passion for dance, their willingness to work hard and their ability to focus and pay attention.”

Over her 27 years with KDT, Crane’s objective has remained the same — not only to entertain her students, but allow them to experience their own joy through progressive movement.

“It’s a healthy outlet,” she said. “Kids that get involved young in something they enjoy are going to be more successful.”

After many years of study and six years with a Midwest touring ballet company, Crane began her teaching career on Kaua‘i in 1986. In addition to KDT classes, she has been a choreographer, teacher and dancer for many local organizations and events, including the Kaua‘i Athletic Club, Kalaheo School’s Sunshine Express, Kaua‘i High School, liturgical dance at Lihu‘e United Church and local pageants, according to her website.

Today, several of her former students now work as professional teachers, choreographers and dancers, including Darcy Naganuma, artistic director of Naganuma Dance in New York City.

KDT’s 27th Spring Concert is scheduled for May 11 at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, located in Lihu‘e.

For more information about Kaua‘i Dance Theatre, class descriptions, schedules or costs, contact Janie Crane at 332-9737 or jbcdance@hotmail.com, or visit www.kauaidancetheatre.com.


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