Dance Fusion Kaua‘i hosts grand opening Saturday

  • Laurel Smith / The Garden Island

    Owner and dance instructor Amanda Tanigawa at the new Dance Fusion Kaua‘i demonstrates a side attitude tilt at the studio on Thursday. The studio celebrates its grand opening from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, and begins classes on Monday.

KAPA’A — When Amanda Tanigawa moved to Kaua‘i nearly six years ago, it wasn’t clear how she would continue her dancing career.

Tanigawa grew up as part of a ballet company, and began dancing professionally straight out of high school, building a long resume dancing for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, the NBA, cruise ships, commercials, music-award shows and a Broadway show in Las Vegas.

Tanigawa was used to traveling across the country for work, but the decision to move to Kaua‘’i was personal. She and her husband wanted to give their daughter the kind of childhood he had growing up in Wailua, and they wanted to be closer to family.

With limited dance opportunities on island, teaching became Tanigawa’s dance outlet.

“I just fell in love with teaching. It was awesome,” Tanigawa said.

Now, Tanigawa is embarking on the next phase in her career — opening Dance Fusion Kaua‘i, her own studio located on the second story of the Dragon Building on Kukui Street in Kapa‘a.

Deciding to open a studio in the middle of a global pandemic wasn’t easy. COVID-19 has been a roller-coaster ride for businesses, especially gyms and fitness facilities, which have had particularly strict restrictions. Exercise indoors is considered a high-risk activity for disease transmission.

At times, Tanigawa wondered if she was crazy for trying to start a dance studio, but ultimately decided to go for it.

“I’m just one of those believers,” Tanigawa said. “There’s never going to be a right time. We just got to do it and believe in ourselves.”

Including Tanigawa, there will be seven professionally trained dance teachers offering classes at the studio.

Class options include ballet, hip hop and musical theater. There are classes for all ages, with the Twinkle Toes programming geared toward dancers ages 3 to 5. Cardio dance classes and the sensual “Heels” classes are for adult dancers.

On Fridays, the studio will be open to women 21 and older from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for Ladies Night. This weekly event was inspired by Tanigawa’s own mother, who moved here about five years ago, works from home, and has had trouble finding social outlets where she can meet people.

Tanigawa thought that offering a fun and social beginner class for women would not only be the perfect solution for her mom, but would also reach others in the community.

Saturday, Dance Fusion Studios is hosting its grand opening from 9 a.m. to noon 2 p.m. at the studio, 4504 Kukui St., Suite 204. The event will feature pop-up shops, raffles and prizes. There will be opportunities to register for classes.

Classes officially begin on Monday.

More information can be found at dancefusionkauai.com.

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Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or lsmith@thegardenisland.com.

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