To support, nurture and create a safe space for professional dancers based in Hawaii to flourish. educate, mentor, and train young dancers in Pōhuli, Tauʻs original movement technique. Focus on Pacific Island and Indigenous consciousness and values to anchor western art influences, responsibly moving culture and the arts in our Global Village.
Tau Dance Theater (TDT) is the only professional dance company founded by a native Hawaiian based in Honolulu. Established in 1996 by Artistic Director Peter Rockford Espiritu, TDT has produced numerous original and epic works of critical acclaim with several reviews in Dance Magazine and global presence in newsprint, magazine, academic publications and social media platforms. NAUPAKA: A Hawaiian Opera was mentioned in the New York Times and is listed in the Encyclopedia of Hawaiian Music & Musicians II. Poli’ahu: Goddess of Maunakea toured statewide and was featured at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Hanau Ka Moku: An Island is Born toured statewide and with its final bow at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Davis. In 2020, TDT was the only dance company to produce a live streamed performance (INDIGENUITY) from a major venued theatre (Hawaiʻi Theater) in the state of Hawaiʻi. In September 2021, TDT toured to South Dakota as ʻFeatured Guest Artsistʻ at the Crazy Horse Memorial, a national monument that draws over a million visitors annually.
In 2002, the youth program TAU Y2 was launched. Answering the need for a platform for young dancers to be trained in our original Pōhuli technique fusing Hula, Ballet and Modern Dance. Grooming aspiring dancers to one day become company members, TAU Y2 is an incubator for these young Hawaiian dancers to aspire to one day perform the works of TDT as a company member. The program has produced its own productions on Oʻahu, Maui, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi performing at major venues and sharing the stage with local luminaries such as Raiatea Helm, Melveen Leed, Jay Larrin, Kūpaoa and Pōmaikaʻi Lyman. TAU Y2 has continued to offer scholarships for native Hawaiian, at-risk, underserved and families in need.
Past fundersʻ include: Hawaii State Foundation on Culture & The Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Lila Wallace Readersʻ Digest Fund, The Ford Foundation, The Carnegie Mellon Foundation, The New England Foundation for the Arts, The Gerbolde Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation, The Atherton Foundation, The Cooke Family Foundation, The Wilcox Foundation.
Past fundraisers have featured the work of international fashion luminaries, Karl Lagerfeld for FENDI and Betsy Johnson, both of whom sent their couture collections in support of Tauʻs vision. In 2005, The Shangri La Museum, former home of Doris Duke, hosted an event in support of NAUPAKA: A Hawaiian Opera.