The Asia Pacific Dance Festival is concluding its events this weekend at UH Mānoa. A co-production of UH Mānoa Outreach College and the East-West Center Arts Program, this year’s theme, Hoʻāla (To Waken), features three dance companies: Hālau Hula Ka Noʻeau of Hawaiʻi, ASK Dance Company of Malaysia and the Dancers of Damelahamid of British Columbia.

Encapsulating what life is about, the two-week festival showcases the culture and traditions of indigenous dance from Hawaiʻi, British Columbia and the Asia Pacific region through dance classes, conference presentations and performances.

“For the times we’re in right now the whole idea of awakening to what’s going on around you and not putting blinders on about what’s happening in the world,” Tim Slaughter, director of the Asia Pacific Dance Festival said. “We through dance can impact that … and sort of help people reach a stage of viewing the world around them and understanding things.”

Slaughter named Hawaiʻi as the center to share what goes on around the Asia Pacific region and show how dance impacts culture, life and society. 

Through the sharing of indigenous dances in the Asia Pacific region, Imran Syafiq Bin Mohd Affandi, managing director and dancer of ASK Dance Company, learned how to document and preserve the culture.

“The needs of shared knowledge between the region of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean that after being a part of this festival, I can see that we shared some similarities of the different cultures,” Syafiq Bin Mohd Affandi said. “It’s such a good thing that we can learn from each other and ... I can see in Malaysia that we need to learn with Hawaiian culture especially on the documentation and how they preserve its culture itself.”

The Asia Pacific Dance Festival will begin its weekend of ʻIke Hana performances with a welcoming ceremony tonight at the East-West Center Friendship Circle.