What: 16th annual Central Oregon Dance Showcase

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: $18 plus fees in advance, $22 day of show

Contact: towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700

You don’t have to fly to Hawaii to catch a hula dance performance or buy a ticket to the Middle East to see belly dancing — at least not this weekend.

All that’s required is a ticket to this weekend’s Central Oregon Dance Showcase at the Tower Theatre in Bend. Presented by Terpsichorean Dance Studio, the 16th annual event features a wealth of Central Oregon dance companies performing hula and belly dance, along with jazz, tap, hip-hop, aerial and a wealth of other styles.

The event began its life as a fundraiser for Terpsichorean’s performing youth company, according to Dakota Weeda, director of the studio. Before long, though, the showcase “started adding guest groups to join it, and then eventually, it just kind of turned into this really big event,” Weeda said. “It’s one of those little gems in Bend. It doesn’t have a huge amount of advertising that goes into it because it is still just one or two performances each year. But it is definitely one of the best dance shows around by far, because each studio and each group brings their finest to it.”

U’hane Hawaii will feature three of its performers, according to the company’s leader, Rose Miller, of Redmond.

Generally speaking, “in Polynesian dancing, the hands tell the story, the hips basically keep the beat … and then the face conveys the feeling.”

In the Tahitian and Hawaiian forms of Polynesian dance, “You’re going to have two or three meanings. You’re going to have the literal meaning. Let’s just say you’re talking about the flower, and the rain feeds the flower. But you could also be saying the flower is your child, and you’re nourishing your child with encouragement and love. There’s always more than one interpretation for dances. There’s the poetic, and then there’s the literal.”

While it may sound challenging to have one’s energies divided into thirds while dancing, Miller says it’s easier than it sounds.

“I would say that Hawaiian is one of the easiest dance forms of Polynesian,” she said. “You can start dancing — I had my grandson dancing, and he performed when he was only 18 months. You can dance to the age of over 100. Women and men will do the hula, like, sitting in a chair. Because it is like sign language.”

In her 58 years, Miller has also danced ballet, jazz and tap, but the accessibility of hula dancing is one reason why, she continues to teach and dance hula, she said.

“My uncle danced, and he was deaf,” she said. “You can be deaf, too. You can be dancing in a wheelchair, sitting in a chair, you can be deaf. Because you’re telling a story.”

U’Hane Hawaii’s dancers will be doing an aparima, a Tahitian dance.

“If you’ve seen Tahitian dancing, you know they (generally) use drums. The aparima is sort of the softer version of the Tahitian” and does not make use of drumming, she said.

While hula curiosity seekers may come and go, “people that have more rooted culture in it will stay longer. … It’s almost like a religion.”

Miller is rooted in it — which is why she teaches classes for free at Get a Move On Studio in Bend. U’Hane Hawaii also dances for free at fundraisers.

“We do it to share the culture,” she said. “I’m Hawaiian, and my dad is from Hawaii, and so you feel like it’s part of your heritage, and you want to continue it on, so that’s why you keep teaching it. I’m a person that can’t live without it. I can’t live without my dancing.

The name U’Hane Hawaii translates to “Spirit of Hawaii.”

“You just have to have the spirit,” Miller said, “and you can dance with us.”

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