Isla Dance Company hosts varied events around the DFW metroplex (classes, hula workouts, workshops, private events, etc) with a Polynesian twist.
Our focus is geared toward ‘Ohana (Family) and our Na Keiki (Children), with the intent of fostering & sharing our love for all things Polynesian, while perpetuating our Islander cultures with the next generation of dancers!
Hafa Adai! I’m Kaimana, but you can call me Kai!
My family is from the beautiful island of Guam. I’ve lived in Guam, California, Okinawa Japan, and currently reside in Texas. I have a deep passion for the many cultures our world has to offer, starting with my own! Although I wasn’t raised in Guam, my parents made sure my siblings and I knew where we came from. My mom was a Polynesian dancer and she competed in Tahitian as a young lady. Her love for the island dances grew on me.
I started dancing in High School under Lorraine Kinneman. It was with Lorraine (who has since been ‘unikied Kumu) that I learned the bonds the hula ‘ohana make, the basic steps of hula, had my first performances, and it was then that I began a journey down the path, in the life of a hula dancer!
When my family moved to TX, mom found Kaimoana Yost and I danced with her group Hawaiiana Polynesian Dance Company. Kaimoana taught me so much about the business world of dancing! Dancing with her, I met hula sistas and braddahs that I still get an opportunity to dance with once in awhile. Kaimoana also introduced me to the world of halau.
I have had the honor of studying under Hula Kumu Frank Keli’i Chang. I was given the opportunity to compete at E Hula Mau and study with Hula Halau Ho’ola Ka Mana O Hawai’i under Kumu Frank for many years. The knowledge and respect I have today for the cultural dances come from this very talented and caring man!
For my short time in Okinawa Japan, I danced with some wonderful ladies and I had my first Small Business Island Rhythm Beauties. We had the honor of dancing for some of our country’s finest service men and women.
When I moved back to Texas I began studying under Kumu Frank again, up until the time he moved. At this time I had a great opportunity to become haumana of a dear friend and sistah who opened her own halau, Halau Ka Pa Hula O Manulani. It was at this time that I met a group of men and women that brought new meaning to the word ‘Ohana. We shared hard and good times together! During this part of my hula journey I was ecstatic that my sister had decided to begin dancing hula! It was so exciting to share the passion that our mom had for hula together.
Simultaneously, I was doing gigs with more of my hula fam. Marvic McElroy has always been a big sis to me! She invited me to do gigs with her and my braddahs that I danced with years ago and i met new sistahs, whilst enjoying the gig world!
I began my own family and being a haumana of halau is very time consuming. It is extremely rewarding but I now had a family that needed my attention. Hula has always been a part of my heart and is my true passion! I have met some of my dearest friends who are now my hula sistahs and braddahs! But I had to take a break from the world of hula.
My daughter is now old enough that she understands what Hula is. But my new world still doesn’t allow us time to dedicate to a halau. I played with the idea of starting my own dance troupe for many years….since I returned to the states from Okinawa.
I have an accountability partner, we help each other stay on track with our life goals. We talk each week, mentor and support each other. She gave me the courage to make the decision to start my own business…as a little more time went on I knew that I didn’t want to start this adventure alone!
I asked my accountability partner and sister to start this journey with me! You know them as Nohea & Ka’oi 🙂 Together, we hope that you will be part of our story! We hope to bring you aloha from the islands. Whether it be through dance, workshops, painting, crafts or party entertainment. We would love the honor to be just a piece of your story!
Si Yu’us Ma’ase,
No one goes through this hula journey alone.I got to experience it with my hula ‘ohana! But on the sidelines, backstage, and holding my hand was my familia!
My mom took me to all my practices, gigs, and competitions. She helped make costumes, put my makeup on, correct my dance technique, host dance rehearsals, and make items for fundraisers to name a few. Everyone knew if I was dancing, mom was the other ½ of me! Yes, she is known as “mom” or “Auntie”! I am eternally grateful that she has gone on this adventure so closely with me.
I’m thankful for my dad and brothers who always helped at home or events! it didn’t matter what is was (well as long as it wasn’t dancing lol) they were there with no question.
But who can forget the man that has been by my side through all of this since I started dancing in high school….my husband! Hula has consumed such a big part of my life and he has never asked me to quit and give hula less so he could have more! He’s been at gigs to support me, watched the kids so I could go to a practice, and helped me with ideas for the business. He’s patient with whatever endeavor hula has taken me on. And for that I’m grateful!
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey with me!
Aloha! I’m Nohealani but everyone calls me “Nohea,” and I’m from Pahoa town on the Big Island of Hawai’I, currently living in North Texas with my husband and baby girl (we have #2 on the way!). As a military brat I grew up all over the place, having lived in Washington, Virginia, the Azores, and Okinawa, Japan (among other places).
I grew up watching hula my whole life but didn’t start learning the art seriously until fall of 2009, when I was introduced to Kumu Frank Keli’i Chang and his hula halau (hula school) Ho’ola Ka Mana O Hawai’i here in Dallas. Being so far away from Hawai’i I yearned for a group and community that had roots in the islands. I started attending his halau weekly and it was like a fire was lit inside my belly! I consumed every morsel of knowledge Kumu Chang generously offered, and I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could.
After Kumu Chang moved to Houston from Dallas, I began learning from his ‘unikied haumana (graduated students), Kumus Ka’iulani Medeiros and Leilani Birkmire. I was able to attend my first hula competition with Kumu Birkmire’s halau, Ka Pa Hula O Manulani, in November 2010 which was held by Kumu Keli’i Chang and his group in Houston! The weeks leading up to the competition and the event itself were extremely intense but the memories, bonds, and connections with my hula sisters and brothers through it all will last a lifetime.
I stopped attending halau regularly in late 2011/early 2012 so that I could devote more time and resources to planning my destination wedding (June 2012 on the Big Island of Hawai’i), and I became pregnant later that Fall. As such, I have been unable to fully commit what is necessary and required of a serious student in a traditional hula halau, since my time and energy have been focused on and centered around my growing family. My daughter (who is now 2 ½ years old) is now at the age where she can start going to events with me and understand what is happening. It is my intention to expose her to the Polynesian & Islander cultures as early and as frequently as possible.
I greatly enjoy all types of dance, and the art of hula, as well as learning other arts associated with my Hawaiian culture (such as lei making). It’s now become a life goal of mine to learn how to speak ‘Olelo Hawai’i (the Hawaiian language) fluently. I feel it is my kuleana (responsibility) to learn as much as possible, and pass on as much of that knowledge as I can to my children.