When I started teaching in Colorado in June 2007 I had only two students and one of them was my daughter. It was $20 to rent the studio so I was actually paying to teach one student for a long time. I also asked my two friends - Bellydance Superstars Kaya and Sadie to help me dance in some shows that I booked that summer. I met them when I was still in Florida as they took some classes from me to cross train and help them with their practice.
That summer I took my daughter with me and performed EVERYWHERE. I went to all the festivals, hospitals, community events, and DANCED. I passed out brochures and cards and fliers to promote dance. We weren't event Kalama Polynesian Dancers yet. We were Polynesian Party Planners INC- ONLY. (I even went to festivals that didn't have any room in their programs for me. I just turned on my sound system and danced creating a crowd all around me!) When I think back I think to myself that people must have thought I was crazy. Years later (after I taught myself how to dance fire poi) I wanted a strong name for our group. We couldn't represent just the business name we needed our own name. So I came up with Kalama which means fire/ torch... The Kalama Family all "friended" me on Facebook and loves the fact that we use their name.
Little by little my dance classes grew and I found myself teaching non-stop. I taught Hula and Tahitian to adults and women-all levels. I taught almost every day wether it was a group class or a private session. I taught bootcamp dance classes, kids classes, etc... It was hard but it was my passion and it paid off.
A couple of my students later on became my Professional Dancers. I started seeing the potential for some of them to blossom into "Lead Dancers" and then Instructors. I always say that not all dancers can teach and I stick behind that statement.
I am fortunate to have the group of instructors that I now have. Our classes have grown tremendously. What once was two students have now turned to more than 100. I have primary instructors for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students and now I am training the JR dancers to teach. I believe that this will help them in life. They will have confidence in public speaking, teaching, engaging the audience, and other skills. It is hard to break down choreography or dance or even create dance.
I allow all of my instructors to be creative in their own class. I want them to innovate and create because when I danced as a child and in my 20's I had no say in "Choreography" I just danced what I was told to dance.
My instructors are extremely talented and professional. They have experience in dance, instruction, MC, and they even are an integral part of all of my event planning, fundraising, and volunteerism.
They (Instructors) also have helped create Halau Kalama (Nonprofit Organization) to allow all of our students to pay a minimal amount for tuition so that we can provide low - cost classes and teach Polynesian Dance to all.
Mahalo to all my instructors. We are Halau Kalama because of YOU! Keep up all the good work. I truly appreciate you all.
Also shout - out to my husband for letting me pursue my passion. He has always backed me up with whatever I wanted to do. He was probably the first person to think I was crazy but I know he loves Kalama and secretly is proud of me. HA!
*Photography from Life Reflected Photography*
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Diary of A Polynesian Dancer
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a Polynesian Dancer? Well here are bits and pieces of our dance life.
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Diary of a polynesian dancer
Kalama Polynesian Dancers
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