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East Meets West Festival to feature cross-cultural dance and music concerts, clinics and workshops

By Staff | May 16, 2017

Billy Chang and Tara Pandeya performed together from 2010 to 2015 in Cirque du Soleil’s worldwide production of “Dralion.” PHOTO OF CHANG BY DAHAN FU, AND PHOTO OF PANDEYA BY RJ MUNA.

WAILUKU – Jazz Maui, produced by the Arts Education for Children Group (AECG), presents the East Meets West Festival on Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27, when an exciting lineup of professional jazz fusion and multicultural dance artists will be featured in concert at the Historic Iao Theatre on Market Street in Wailuku. The concerts will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. both nights.

Headlining the concerts on May 26 and 27 is the band Ictus, an instrumental jazz fusion ensemble composed of veteran musicians from Spokane, Washington and faculty from Gonzaga University. Their sound is a high-energy blend of jazz, funk and rock. Founders are John Betts on drums and Keith Brown on keyboards. Other band members include Craig Landron on sax, Michael Lenke on trumpet, Ramiro Vijarro on bass and Dr. Robert Spittal on sax. For the festival, Ictus will debut selections of instrumental fusion jazz from their new record, “Escape Velocity.”

The dance program on both nights will feature cultural dance forms such as Chinese traditional opera movement and meditative arts performed by world-recognized dancer and choreographer Billy Chang of Taiwan, and dance from the Central Asian Silk Road countries (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, East Turkestan, Iran, Kurdistan and Azerbaijan) interpreted by international dancer and choreographer Tara Pandeya.

On Friday evening, Angel Prince and Toni Pasion from Hawaii will perform contemporary dances influenced by South America, the Philippines and Hawaii. On Saturday evening, Maui dancers Sarala Dandekar and Akari Ueoka will perform classical Odissi from India and Izanai Yosakoi from Japan. Zan of Zanboo Flutes will provide musical accompaniment. Jazmyne (Koch) Geis, a cultural dance artist from Maui, has coordinated the dance program and will be performing on Saturday evening.

Opening Friday’s concert at 6:30 p.m. will be the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra comprised of Maui musicians, and Na Ali’i Big Band from King Kekaulike High School. On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., the new June Skies Jazz Combo from King Kekaulike High School will open.

Ticket prices for the festival performances are $25 (orchestra) and $15 (mezzanine). To purchase tickets, visit MauiOnStage.com and go to “Buy Tickets, other events.

Now in its second year, the East Meets West Festival encourages cross-cultural dance and musical collaborations to attract a worldwide range of performers to Maui.

Community bands along with student musicians and dancers can learn from the visiting artists in clinics and workshops.

Cultural dance workshops will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Omori Studio A on Saturday, May 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A suggested donation of $5 is encouraged. Free jazz music clinics will take place at King Kekaulike High School on Tuesday, May 23; Wednesday, May 24; and Thursday, May 25. To register for the workshops, call (808) 283-3576.

For those who wish to have a more intimate music and dance experience, on Thursday, May 25, at 6 p.m., Mary Anne Fitch and Nam Le Viet of Lahaina will host “All That Jazz,” an at-home concert, featuring the Ictus Band with short performances by June Skies Jazz Combo and dancers Billy Chang and Tara Pandeya. East Meets West-themed pupus and wines are included for $50 per person. For reservations, call (808) 283-3576.

Jazz Maui’s 2017 East Meets West Festival is sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Makana Aloha Foundation, WorldWide Music Ventures, Story of Hawaii Museum and Zanboo Flutes. For more information, call (808) 283-3576, see JazzMaui.org, or get updates on Facebook @aecgJazzMaui and Twitter @JazzMauiaecg.