Choreographer Morgan danced hula as a child in California, far from his family’s Native Hawaii. As Morgan developed a body of work in modern dance, said to be “charming and poignant” by The New York Times, he longed to connect his Native Hawaiian artistic and personal roots to his contemporary work. Pōhaku is a dance theater piece bringing together storytelling, hula, modern dance, classical music, and projection design to explore compelling universal themes in the story of Hawaii’s native people, including land loss and fractured identity. The work incorporates Morgan’s own stories to reflect these larger themes.
The Hawaiian word for stone, Pōhaku is partly inspired by Morgan’s late cousin, Kumu Hula (hula master) John Kaimikaua (1957-2006). This evening length solo dance performed by Morgan, features live music by Kumu Hula Elsie Kaleihulukea Ryder of Kaimikaua’s Hālau Hula o Kukunaokalā, and classically trained electric cellist Wytold. Collaborators also include projection designer Sareen Hairabedian, scenery by Kapa maker Dalani Tanahy, lighting and technical direction by Brian S. Allard, and rehearsal direction by Tiffanie Carson.
Pōhaku was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Production residency funded by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Pōhaku is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Maui Arts & Cultural Center in partnership with Dance Place and NPN. For more information: npnweb.org