It's 'Destiny' to be suspended in animation
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Aerial artist and choreographer Andrea Torres literally is up in the air when it comes to her dance.
For two years, she was suspended off the ground, playing Hina the moon goddess, in the acclaimed " 'Ulalena" production at the Maui Myth & Magic Theatre in Lahaina.
She left to join filmmaker husband Sergio Goes, settling in New York, but the couple decided to return to Honolulu to have their baby.
Gabriel is now 15 months old, and Torres is back in the air.
Torres has been spending her time giving yoga lessons to new mothers like herself. She returns to the limelight as an aerialist in "Destiny," playing tonight and tomorrow at the Hawai'i Theatre.
She has rejoined the Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre and will be the opening number's focal point.
The ring she uses is suspended about seven feet off the ground. It was a gift from the Montreal-based and Cirque-du-Soleil-trained crew that mounted " 'Ulalena," where she brought aerial eloquence to Hina, the lunar goddess who is believed to be a symbol of regeneration and spiritual renewal.
In "Destiny," she is finding her own renewal.
"She is amazing," said Cheryl Flaharty, Iona artistic director, choreographer and designer of the show's stunning costumes. "She's limber, she's trained. She makes it look easy."
Torres says focus is the key to her ring feat.
"When I first joined ' 'Ulalena,' I went to Montreal and trained there," she said. "You need to concentrate and (have a firm) hold on the outer ring and learn how to spin. In our show here there's no motor, so I hit the ring and control the spin."
Torres did 700 performances in the Maui production.
When she was pregnant and Flaharty was mounting "Destiny," she provided savvy and guidance instead of mounting the rings.
Thus, her ascent in the show this year will be the first time she does her ring thing.
She had an earlier association with Flaharty and Iona, appearing in Iona's "Myth of Angels," enacting the winged one coincidentally named Gabriel.
"When I was expecting, I wanted a Brazilian and Hawaiian name for my baby that could also be pronounced in English," she said of the name she and husband Goes bestowed on the infant.
She calls the toddler "Gabrielle," like a girl's name, but it's the Brazilian way; as he grows older, he'll get accustomed to the variations in pronunciation of Gabriel. The child's Hawaiian middle name is Kapuni, which Torres said means "something very adorable, your favorite thing."
Flaharty said the return of "Destiny" fits the company's two-year cycles. "We premiere one show, then repeat it next year because it takes a good year for word of mouth to let everyone know what we do," said Flaharty.
Her company of 14 will be in full force; the show has Maui and Kaua'i dates, along with a Mainland tour in consideration.
"It's not the same show," said Flaharty of the revival she has tweaked. "With several new dancers and a few changes, I think it's zestier, funnier, more beautiful."
One of the centerpieces is the Tree Goddess, a role enacted by Lizbeth Grote, with extensive and imaginative costuming that includes tree branch limbs and a matching head full of limbs.
The intent of the production, said Flaharty, is to "deliver a profound and artistic commentary, on the past, present, and future of mankind."
An Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre event, presented by Nova Arts Foundation
- 8 p.m., today and Saturday, Hawai'i Theatre
- $25-$45 ($5 discount for students, seniors, military)
- 7:30 p.m., June 7
- Castle Theatre, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
- (808) 242-7469
- 7:30 p.m., June 13
- Performing Arts Center, Kaua'i Community College
- (866) 360-0099
Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre with Don Tiki
- 9 p.m., June 28
- South Seas Village at the Hawaiian Hut, Ala Moana Hotel
- Details to be announced