Mo­ti­vated Dancers Pre­par­ing For World Stage In Los An­ge­les

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Islander - By CAROL CHANG

It’s hard to con­tain the ex­cite­ment now brew­ing among the 13 Heart­beat dancers and their par­ents.

The spe­cial-needs dance troupe, which trains at 24VII Danceforce Stu­dio at Wind­ward Mall, has been in­vited to per­form at the July open­ing of the World Spe­cial Olympics in Los An­ge­les.

“We are so very proud of our kids,” said Abraleen Keli­inui, par­ent of Heart­beat dancer (and Kailua High grad) Natasha Brice, 23. “In the mean­time, we are fundrais­ing like crazy and try­ing to get the word out.”

Cre­ated by for­mer Miss Hawaii sis­ters Ash­ley and Jonelle Lay­field, Heart­beat con­sists of in­di­vid­u­als with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties, but there’s noth­ing lack­ing in their hearts and com­mit­ment to per­form. Keli­inui cited the ex­pe­ri­ence of watch­ing her own daugh­ter blos­som from what started as “just phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and so­cial­iza­tion.”

“They’ve ad­justed to the change of in­struc­tors and learned to adapt. They can wait their turn for hours (back­stage). We par­ents think it’s easy, but it’s not. We tried to learn one song, and I gave up!”

Sup­port­ers can see Heart­beat at 24-VII Dance- force’s spring con­cert “Prizm” by its NextGen stu­dents at 2:30 and 5 p.m. April 3-4 at Pa­liku Theatre. (Shows by 24-VII’s adult and teen dancers, “K.O. Lab,” will start at 8 p.m.) Tick­ets range from $12 to $25, plus fees, at brown­pa­pertick­ets.com/event/1322491.

Par­ents have planned more benefits and dance op­por­tu­ni­ties, such as Waimanalo Homestead’s Prince Kuhio cel­e­bra­tion Thurs­day, a Ka­neohe Safe­way ben­e­fit Satur­day (ten­ta­tive), and Pizza Hut nights March 24 and April 15. Heart­beat also will dance at the spe­cial Peter’s Prom April 17 at Hawaii Ok­i­nawa Cen­ter.

Wind­ward Heart­beat dancers in­clude Jas­mine Hu­malon, Al­ton Bus­ta­mente, Gabby Flem­ming, Cai­ley Chong, Ja­son Smits, Erin Nakamoto, Kekoa Tato, Jor­dan Ilae, Mar­cus Jung and Brice.

We are so proud of our kids. In the mean­time, we are fundrais­ing like crazy

out.” and try­ing to get the word

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