Maui Arts & Entertainment

SMALL TOWN * BIG ART Wailuku Dance Crawl in August

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Adaptations Dance Theate. PC: file photo courtesy Adaptations Dance Theater

Wailuku’s creative placemaking program, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART (ST*BA), announces its latest public art collaboration aimed to share stories of its distinctive sense of place, history and culture. 

Later this month, contemporary dance company Adaptations Dance Theater will lead the Wailuku Dance Crawl –  much in the spirit of a treasure hunt or pub crawl – to travel throughout five distinct Wailuku Town outdoor locations, encourage (re)engagement with these spaces and create the opportunity to make new memories and shared experiences for the community and audience members.

“It is an honor to be a part of this project and program and to see how we can help with the alignment of (Wailuku’s) past, present and future,” said Adaptations Dance Theater Executive Director Jen Cox, “and we’re so stoked to be able to have a child of Wailuku to take the lead on this.”


Wailuku-grown Adaptations Dance Theater Dancer Ali Pineo has been working with the ST*BA team to develop the project; identifying ‘ōlelo from Mary Kawena Pukui’s ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Political Sayings to root the artwork in a sense of place and researching key characteristics that will help infuse Wailuku history and culture into the choreography. You can view excerpts from a recent project development discussion HERE

“I love how everybody brings something different to the symbolism,” said Pineo, “The imagery is so, so clear and related, and yet so different. So how do we really infuse this experience with some cultural context and then also specific Wailuku history and feeling and memory?” Pineo has assigned each of the Wailuku Dance Crawl performers with a set of phrases and directives to take with them throughout Wailuku in order to gather inspiration for both choreographed and spontaneous dance, which will be workshopped as a group over the next 10 days. 

For this one-night-only event, Adaptations Dance Theater dancers will perform a 2-3 minute outdoor dance phrase at each of the five sites for there separate pre-registered groups of 15 people (max), following the most up-to-date County-approved COVID safety protocols. 


“I’m excited to see what comes of this because they’re already able to incorporate dance and a pilina, or connectivity, to the sense of place here in Wailuku,” shares Sissy Lake-Farm, Executive Director of Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society and SMALL TOWN * BIG ART partner, “And regarding the revitalization of Wailuku and what that looks like, I think what’s really important about this piece in particular is that we are trying to re-investigate or re-understand how Wailuku is evolving, and what does dance have to do with it? It’s going to be very important as we move forward. We want this (Wailuku) to be the hub of creativity, and so this is a perfect opportunity for us to send out that message, and not just talk about it but show what can be for our future. This project is the first of its kind and we’re moving and evolving and it’s an exciting time for us! We’re sending the right messages and we’re in alignment.”

Stay tuned for further details and registration information at @smalltownbigart or @adaptationsdancetheater.

Developed through a 2018-2020 Our Town grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is a creative placemaking collaboration of County of Maui and Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society that aims to develop Wailuku, Hawaiʻi as a public arts district focused on its distinctive sense of place, history and culture. Monthly art installations such as plays, murals, sculptures, storytelling events and more are created with community input that align with ‘ōlelo from Mary Kawena Pukui’s ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Political Sayings. Each artwork is spearheaded by professional artists that have submitted project applications exhibiting exceptional quality, style, experience in creating communal or public art and significance to Wailuku.

This is the 16th ST*BA project to date, which has yielded 27 public artworks throughout Wailuku.


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