The Honolulu Dance Collection Brings Art to Life at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum

Experience a two-night dance extravaganza at HiSAM this weekend.
Convergence Dance Theatre
Photo: Courtesy of Convergence Dance Theatre


Our amazing city is filled with opportunities to see live performances, from traditional hula to classical ballet. But the chances to see new, original dance have been few and far between. That is, until now.


“I kept coming into dead ends in terms of finding opportunities for me to showcase my own work, so I figured other artists must be facing similar challenges,” says dancer and performing arts teacher Terry Slaughter. He dreamed of organizing a dance collection. After hearing no so often, Slaughter finally got a yes from the Hawai‘i State Art Museum: The Honolulu Dance Collection will perform there this Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1.


Iona Contemporary Dance Theatrejpg

Photo: Courtesy of IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre


“The Honolulu Dance Collection is an opportunity to build our community of dancers, showcase all of our hard work and talent, and to connect with audiences,” Slaughter says. He’s worked tirelessly to organize and bring together local dance companies for this showcase that includes modern dance, hula, ballet, salsa, zouk, and even hula hoops. Eleven dance companies and choreographers will come together on the spacious front lawn of the museum to debut 12 original performances. This showcase features Convergence Dance Theatre, Dancers Unlimited, Honolulu Zouk, IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre, Jhalak Dance Co., Kailua Dance Academy, Lacey Hula Coop, Las Estrellas de Hawaii, Rainbow Fusion Dance Collective, SlaughterHouse Dance and Tau Dance Theatre.


Las Estrellas De Hawaii

Photo: Courtesy of Las Estrellas de Hawaii


All of the performances are inspired by artwork from the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Art’s Art in Public Places collection, pairing visual artwork like paintings and sculptures with dance. “I feel the connection is the stories and imagery that both art forms can conjure. Both mediums are mental image painters,” Slaughter explains. “However, visual artists use their brushes while dancers paint with their bodies.”


Jhalak Dance Company

Jhalak Dance Co. performers Tina Chan, Cy Higashi, Lance Sabado, Terry Slaughter and Katelyn Wyatt. Photo: Courtesy of Jhalak Dance Co.


Jhalak Dance Co.’s dynamic piece is based on the painting “Many Moons” by Shigeru Narikawa. Honolulu Zouk explores the sculptural works of Satoru Abe through creative interpretations. And the painting “Lei Sellers” by Shirley Ximena Hopper Russell is gracefully brought to life by Rainbow Fusion Dance.


Slaughter says he’s passionate about bringing performing arts to communities and that it provides him with purpose and motivation. “I think the world could really benefit from more exposure to the visual and performing arts.”


Tau Dance Theatre

Photo: Courtesy of Tau Dance Theatre


The Honolulu Dance Collection is a rare opportunity to experience Hawai‘i’s rich and diverse dance community. “I hope that the audience takes joy, love and inspiration from this showcase of local talent,” says Slaughter. “I want them to leave feeling recharged and filled with the desire to create their own works of art.”


Friday Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, 6:30–8 p.m., Hawai‘i State Art Museum, 250 S. Hotel St., free admission, all ages welcome, for more info follow @hawaiistateartmuseum


Lisa Shiroma


Lisa Shiroma is a correspondent for HiSAM and is an artist and art educator. Lisa is the former owner of the HiSAM Museum Gallery Shop, which she ran with partners Aly Ishikuni-Sasaki and Travis Sasaki from Mori by Art + Flea from 2017 to June 2020.