Dance students perform Saturday in Lihu‘e

  • Courtesy of Tashina Lane

    Garden Island Dance Sparkle Ballet ballerinas, Ilihia Brown, 6, left, and Mila-Rae Saenz, 5, right, will perform during a concert on Saturday morning at the Lihu‘e Parish Hall.

LIHU‘E — A pair of Garden Island Dance students, Cleopatra Bell-Gray, 11, and Leila Yamamoto, 17, have auditioned for and been accepted into the Ballet Hawai‘i three-week summer intensive training session, according to operators of the Nawiliwili studio.

Students selected for this program train with world-class instructors, and will then perform at the Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu.

Both Bell-Grey and Yamamoto have been dancing for most of their young lives, said Jennifer Bell-Grey, Garden Island Dance director. The school is a program of the Eyes Wide Open Multimedia Outreach project.

Eyes Wide Open is a nonprofit with a mission to use all aspects of the arts to empower, educate and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

The school has a show on Saturday, March 25, from 10 to 11:15 a.m., at the Lihu‘e Parish Hall on the campus of Lihu‘e United Church behind King Auto Center. The suggested donation is $5 to $10 per person.

There will be a bake sale and beverages for sale to support the Garden Island Dance Performance and Scholarship Fund.

The school’s dancers ages 3 and up performed March 11 at Hale Halawai in Hanalei. Audiences enjoyed a demonstration of classical dance exercises and classic ballet solos from the ballets “Sleeping Beauty,” “Don Quixote” and “Swan Lake.”

“It takes many shows just like this one to support student dancers in getting the dance mileage they need to hone their craft and gain confidence in performance,” Jennifer Bell-Grey said in a press release.

Her philosophy about dance is that the human body is like an instrument, she said. And like an instrument, having a daily practice routine is essential to get the most out of it.

She has published DVDs on the anatomy of ballet, among others, accessible through, to help assist students with their ballet training.

She had her beginnings in dance from the age of 3. She grew up on Kaua‘i, and moved to England where she was granted full-time training at the Royal Ballet School in White Lodge, from which she graduated as a dance teacher of both the Royal Ballet Teachers Course and Royal Academy of Dancing.

Eyes Wide Open is a nonprofit with a mission to use all aspects of the arts to empower, educate and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

• Info: Jennifer Bell-Grey, 415-990-5145,,


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