Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre celebrates 20th anniversary with Akasha, premiering at the Hawaii


Honolulu, HI – When the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire are combined, they create AKASHA, the Sanskrit word for ether and also the inspiration for IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre’s newest work. The new show will present five new works celebrating the elements as well as pay tribute to the dance company’s 20th anniversary with several fan favorites from past shows, including Electric Blue, Destiny, and The Mythology of Angels. The show will premiere for one night only at the Hawaii Theatre on May 14 at 8 p.m.

Inspired by the evolution of IONA’s previous artistry, AKASHA merges electronic visuals with stunning costumes and theatrics. For the 70-minute show, Artistic Director Cheryl Flaharty visually creates the connection humans have with nature and the five elements by choreographing her dancers, natural props and video imagery into a seamless performance.

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“In celebration of our 20-year anniversary, and building enthusiasm for our continued evolution, AKASHA will take the audience on a journey through their favorite IONA pieces while introducing them to five new works that blend together to artistically express our planet’s elements,” said Flaharty.

Flaharty has collaborated with University of Hawaii’s Kaveh Kardan, advisor for the Academy for Creative Media, to create a new animation piece to represent the element Air. Projected onto a scrim, the animation will interact and become one with the dancers, who will manifest images of nature and the cosmos from their bodies. Additional new pieces will represent Earth, where mankind is birthed from soil; Fire, where dancers demonstrate the movement of a flame; Water, with dancers depicting both the natural element and the creatures within; and Ether, a poignant exclamation to end the show with a portrayal of light and equilibrium.

Favorite pieces from previous shows will include “Angels Have Landed” from “Mythology of Angels,” where six dancers in silver body makeup perform as moving sculptures, extending from silver rope hung from the ceiling, among others.

Tickets are available at $25, $35 or $45 and can be purchased from the Hawaii Theatre at or by calling (808) 528-0506. Students, seniors, and military will receive a $5 discount. A $3 Hawaii Theatre Restoration Fee will be added to each ticket.

AKASHA is presented by the Nova Arts Foundation with support from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawaii and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre is dedicated to the creation and performance of innovative dance and theatre works that provide transformational imagery and messages. Though the aspects of beauty and creativity, as rooted in the art of dance, IONA seeks to encourage cultural reverence and world peace, environmental and animal protection, and the rise of the feminine spirit on the planet. IONA sees their work as a vehicle for spiritual evolution, and strives to awaken the consciousness of both the performer and the audience to recognize the oneness of humanity. For more information, please visit