Kea’s Kauai connection

WAIPOULI — Sanoi Peahu, mother of 8-year-old Kea, said they didn’t have dancing when she attended King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School.

Peahu was appearing with Kea, the dancing wonder, who was catapulted into the spotlight when she danced with Justin Bieber on the Ellen Degeneres television show Sunday during a one-day tour on Kauai.

“She just did a show Saturday night on Oahu,” said Art Umezu of the county’s Office of Economic Development. “She was on a plane early this morning and just completed performing before nearly 300 people, including the Tachibana Senior High School marching band and their host families. Following the Meet and Greet appearance, Kea is performing during the free Tachibana concert before heading back to Hollywood.”

The mini tour was just a part of the young dancer’s life.

“Kea was born on Oahu,” said Sanoi Peahu. “My family is from Kauai, and this is a great way to keep her connected to her Kauai roots. I’m glad you folks are a part of her start.”

Sanoi said Kea was discovered after answering a radio ad for talent. Since then, she has moved to Hollywood and turned to home schooling after recording several advertisements, including one for Sesame Street. Sanoi’s role had become multi-faceted, including that of a mother, teacher, taxi driver, and more.

“They ask me if that’s my sister,” Kea said, extracting laughter from the audience of nearly a hundred dancers from several of the Kauai dance companies, including the Excel Dance Studio and Kauai UnderGround Artists.

Umezu, who coordinated the day trip for the young dancer, said the project was made possible through the efforts of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach, and Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau who arranged to have special Kea photocards created so the young audience could get autographs from the budding Kauai dancer.

“Imagine,” Umezu said. “Kea has Kauai connections, but it took the Tachibana band from Kyoto, Japan, to bring her back home — even if it is just for a day.”

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