Her Love for Dance: Dancers Unlimited

Image courtesy of @dunnyc.hi IG

Judging art in any form takes away from its beauty. Art is to be interpreted and understood. I love dancers. They awake something within me that I can’t explain. Maybe it’s because my two-step is not as technical and stunning as the way dancers move.

Dance is all about emotions for me. I’ve seen performances that have made me laughed and cried. It’s the way a dancer bares his/her soul through movement that makes them an artist. Yes, the physical part is there; its always there. I believe it’s the emotional part that connects us to a dancer.

The Booking Dance Festival

The Booking Dance Festival returned to NYC in January for its eight-year. It was an incredible evening at the Lincoln Jazz Center. Five hours of dance highlighted 30 dance companies and featured over 250 dancers.

Dancers from over 15 cities in the United States gave us an in-depth look at what dance is today in America. The festival is a  production of Jodi Kaplan.

Each performer was authentic, expressive, creative, and grounded. Each movement expressed emotions that communicated physically through the body. The performances moved and engaged the audience. A variety Of dance styles were showcased. Ballet, hip-hop, acrobatics, tap, and body percussion. Modern, contemporary, jazz, dance-theatre, fusion. Cabaret, hola-hoop, and a skillful Ukrainian Folk dance.

I attended the dance festival to see Dancers Unlimited perform. The beauty and ease mesmerized me—the freedom of movement and confidence. And the creativity and intensity of each dancer and each performance captured me.

As the dancers from Dancers Unlimited (DU) made their way onto the stage, there was natural intuitiveness. Freedom of movement and fun that immediately struck me. It wasn’t just a performance for the DU dancers. They enjoyed moving and sharing themselves through dance.

Dancers Unlimited (DU):

DU Dancers at Lincoln Jazz Center

If I had to use one word to describe Dancers Unlimited, it would be COMMUNITY! Dancers Unlimited is a bi-city professional dance company based in Hawaii and NYC. The organization was founded in 2009 and has created compelling movement narratives for the advancement of their community. With a theme of professional performances, creative collaboration, and community engagement, DU puts its community first.

Community and culture are at the forefront of DU. Linda Kuo created Dancers Unlimited as a way to give back to her community. There were funding cuts within the Department of Education. Which resulted in canceled classes on Fridays in Hawaii. Linda’s love for dance and her community compelled her to offer FREE dance classes to the student affected by the cuts. Linda has choreographed productions in Hawaii, China, and New York, and has given scholarships in New York and Hawaii.

Linda Kuo + Nat
Image @bklynitemedia

DUNYC was launched in 2014. DU has appeared at the Shanghai World Expo, National Dance week and Bboy in Shanghai Hawaii. House DJ Company “A Room OF House,” Ailey Citigroup, and Jazz Choreography Festival. Oahu Fringe Festival, Times Square Open House Festival, and Oahu Festival. The International Human Rights Festival and a slew of other stages throughout Hawaii and NYC.

DUNYC productions expresses cultural diversity and highlights controversial and social topics. Topics like immigration, humanity, gender roles and identity, Love, and human conditions are at the forefront of the productions.

 

The Dancers:

DU (Hawaii):

Keaya Fung

Amanda Harpstrite

Rikita Turner

Nathaniel Whittaker.

DUNYC:

Britnee Hay

Gabriela Messina

Sammi Tai

Candice Taylor

Narmada Tobal

Kareem Woods

Hara Zi

In January of 2019, the dancers of DU and DUNYC united for the first time in Oahu. It was intriguing to listen to the dancers experience. Community and cultural awareness isn’t just something Linda instills within her organization; it is a lifestyle for her. She talked about the dancers experiencing some of the island’s customs and rituals. Their engagement in the community and performances at Oahu Fringe Festival.

As DU continues to give back to the community with projects like moveMEANT for Every Body and I’mMigration, there are lessons to be learned and stories to inspire us all.

moveMent for Every Body

moveMENT for Every Body is a series of events facilitated through moving workshops, travel programs, and panel discussions. The program was created with the belief that dance is a powerful tool for resilience and progress. It’s meant to encourage community dialogues, exploration of the freedom of authentic movement and to create powerful moveMENT narratives from oneself for their community.

I’mMigration

I’mMigration is addressing something that we’re experiencing in America today. Immigration has been a hot topic lately. I believe we all know someone who is deal with immigration issues. DU’s I’mmigration is an immersive dance installation exploring the challenges and promises associated with being an immigrant.

Being a body on a foreign or unfamiliar land brings a variety of challenges to each  individual. Leaving each person with a story to tell, and a perspective that impacts one’s life and identity. Each of the five dancers narrative is weaved into the choreography. The movement is a representation of how our experiences shape our identities and perspectives.

This project will explore immigration law, historical migration, cultural influences, current events and the idea of the American Dream.

An incorporation of Polynesian way-finding and  a story of refugees on a boat from Vietnam. The story of the Vietnam refugees is the inspiration for this exploration – it’s a tribute to a friend’s family.

Linda Kuo and her DU organization are planning some extremely fabulous things for 2020. As I write this Article Linda is attending her first Red Carpet event in Hawaii – what an honor! As Linda continues to express her diverse cultural background throughout dance I’m here for it all.

Dancers Unlimited (DU) is worthy of a share as we celebrate all things Love, Black History and Fashion here at Brooklyn’s Lifestyle. Linda’s love of movement compelled her to move beyond herself and create something that extends to communities to inspire and give back.

Cheers

XXOO

Nat

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