BYU-Hawaii students performed a dance recital for their final in their Polynesian dance class on Dec. 7, Audience members and performers alike expressed being surprised at the high turn out for the event.
Alyssa Caldwell, a freshman with an undeclared major from Utah and a member of the beginning hula class, said, "I was surprised how many people came.
"It was fun seeing people from the cultures we were performing watching, participating, cheering, and yelling. That was unexpected but incredible."
When asked how she got involved with the class, Caldwell answered with a smile on her face. She said, "I just thought the best way to be a part of a culture is to jump right in and participate."
Like Caldwell, Kaylee Leakehe, a freshman from Utah studying biology, participated in the folk dance of the Pacific class. Leakehe said, "I've danced before in family things and stuff. I've never done a lot of Samoan dancing."
Unlike Leakehe, Caldwell's hula class was her first time being involved in any kind of Polynesian dancing. She said, "I enjoyed learning new dances in a way I had never done before. I liked how the dances were specific to telling a different type of story. It was really cool to learn what it means in that culture.
"I learned a lot more about how to respect the different cultures even when you don’t know much about them. It's important to understand that you won't understand everything but that it's okay to try.
"My favorite part was seeing our instructor Auntie Bobby dance with us because it's what she loves. It's her culture, how she grew up, and she's able to teach us and be in it as well."
Nikki Holbrook, a freshman from California majoring in business and hospitality and tourism management, was in the audience during the performance.
She explained, "I came to this performance because two of my roommates were performing in it. Also because I love Polynesian dancing and wanted to enjoy the entertainment."
Holbrook said an important lesson she took from the performance was the differences and similarities between Polynesian cultures. She said, "I just like seeing the different types of cultures and the similarities and differences that each culture has. I like how they had the traditional style and then the more modern style.
"It was kind of nice to watch the performance and get my mind off of finals and see the hard work my roommates put in. It was really good. I enjoyed it. It was really packed. It was nice to see people supporting other students."
NOTE: No photos were taken of the event.