Picture this: you receive the opportunity to disappear off of the map and immerse yourself entirely in your passion, do you take it?
Seven full days into the jungles of The Big Island of Hawaii to dedicate your entire focus to a deep dive into the art form that keeps your heart pulsating. You disappear into the lush greenery of Hawaiian rainforest to indulge in a thorough immersion into said art, intimately guided by masters of your craft.
In summary, this is the Hawaii Retreat with Zoe Jakes & Kami Liddle.
The Founder and Organizer of the retreat, Kalae Kaina is a loving, soulful energy that keeps the intentions and flow of the week that of serenity. A native to the island of Oahu, Kalae created this event as a way to bring students and teachers to Hawaii where previously no Tribal Fusion community existed. Since she began inviting and uniting, the community has blossomed and this retreat has been ongoing successfully for the past 5 years. It is led by two of the most revered dancers of our generation: Zoe Jakes and Kami Liddle. As you spend your days learning from these inspiring women, you also get to know them. They do not just dictate from their podium and then disappear elusively immediately after. Together you share meals, laughs, constructive criticism and deep conversation.
Zoe and Kami’s styles of teaching are incredibly complimentary. Zoe takes us on a journey of the styles that have influenced her most during her career and that she continues to diligently study. She teaches with the principal that once you become exhausted, your body is more susceptible to truly learning movement. Thus, her classes are packed with drills, intricate choreography, and repetition. The hours pass with a sense that you have physically and mentally challenged yourself intensely. Yet Zoe's sense of humor, storytelling, and quirky musical choices keep you wildly entertained and hanging on her every word.
In class with Kami, a sense that you are being held is prevalent. Her steady demeanor and gentle way of teaching is a great comfort as you break down and drill your movement from the basics up. Incorporating her studies of the Bartenief method and core-distal movement, the foundation of our physical structure is dissected by reflecting on our limbs’ connection to our core. She delights us with her elegant poise and neo vintage belly dance fusion choreography. In her lecture and in her classes she invites us to explore our personal style with a commitment to moving how our body feels called to move.
40+ scheduled hours of dance (not including the after hours parties). Surrounded by supportive and equally invested individuals who do not fear taking a leap of faith to increase their body wisdom. The uninterrupted and unfettered kind. Not the kind that is distracted by text message, cooking meals, or daily transportation headaches. At Kalani Retreat Center, located in Pahoa, an oasis of self exploration thrives. Surrounded by green grass and tropical flora & fauna, you are encouraged to move at your own pace and to be present to your immediate surroundings. With the roaring ocean as your backyard, this is an ideal location to convene with the magnificence of nature. To acquire the internet here is an intentional challenge, thus you are encouraged you to toss your cell phone aside and engage with your fellow retreat goers and the incredibly friendly Kalani staff.
Allow me to walk you through a day.
First, you arise with the sun to eat breakfast at Kalani’s buffet of extremely healthy options that fit your dietary needs, be it Carnivorous, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free or so on, there will be something scrumptious for you to eat. Next, get up close and personal with Zoe Jakes as you follow along with her daily practice of Odissi, Indian Step. Silhoutted by the early morning light, your body awakens as it steadily creates otherworldly shapes, and the whole room falls into a trance. Next up, a 3 hour belly dance intensive with Zoe in which you explore the meticulous detail of the pillar movements of Tribal Fusion. Following that, a much needed lunch break where you once again are met with a decadent buffet that will energize and nourish your needs. A dip in the clothing optional pool and jacuzzi and you are back on the dance floor and ready for the afternoon session with Kami Liddle. Her drills include a wide array of contemporary and jazz infused tribal style. As the sun sets, you are ready for a delicious dinner again at the buffet. A night of stargazing from the jacuzzi, a lecture on musicality or an Essential Oils for Dancers session later and you are pleasantly exhausted from a day of hard work and play.
At this years Bless Hafla, students and retreat leaders alike had the opportunity to share their own performance. A rich variety of performance style and music awed the crowd of Kalani and Pahoa community members. Kami seduced us with two enchanting pieces while Zoe mesmerized us with an energetic, quirky performance and a very moving exploration of moving through loss. The following night, Zoe DJed as Pussy Monster at the Hawaiian Sanctuary delivering a twerk worthy set to a crowd of retreat goers and locals alike.
Overall this retreat is for passionate lovers of dance looking to enrich their practice, find their personal style, and expand their horizons. It is not only an ongoing drill of Tribal Fusion fundamentals, but also a survey of many styles including Traditional Belly Dance, Indian Odissi, Balkan, Thai, Balinese, and Contemporary Jazz Fusion. It is a depthful exploration of Dance Theory and an examination of your own personal style.
Don't miss your opportunity to join in on this one of a kind event. Keep up to date by following the Hawaii Retreat With Zoe Jakes & Kami Liddle Facebook Page.
Stay tuned for our video recap of the week long experience!
WRITTEN BY ALYSSA APARICIO
Alyssa writes to live life twice. As visual artist and writer, she applies her study of anthropology to the exploration of sacred dance and the cultural phenomenon of the modern music festival. Alyssa is Creative Director & Co Founder of WildSpice Magazine and Co-Founder of Flash The Abyss. AlyssaAparicio.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: TALLTREE
Talltree is a freelance photographer and videographer by trade. His specialty? Creating honest art. "The challenge is recognizing what you truly feel and then figuring out a way to express it in a pure form, without filtering too much of the original feeling in the process. The beauty though is that the piece will most likely change into something you weren't expecting, expressing and meaning more than what you began with."
See more of his work at Talltreetreeoflight.com.