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 original epic works to critical acclaim. In 2009 Poli’ahu: Goddess of Maunakea toured statewide and was featured at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. In 2004 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 1996 NAUPAKA: A Hawaiian Opera was mentioned in the New York Times and is listed in the Encyclopedia of Hawaiian Music & Musicians II.
TDT is National Endowment for the Arts 2021 recipient for the Challenge America grant to explore and develop Pōhuli, the company’s own unique movement modality and vocabulary. In 2022 TDT was invited by the Lincoln Center to tour and participate in the Festival of Firsts in New York City. Earlier that year, TDT received an APAP ArtsForward grant for touring to Utah at the Ellen Eccles in Logan for their 100th anniversary season. 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 2021, the company celebrated its 25th Anniversary by presenting the first ever locally produced ‘dance concert’ on primetime network television highlighting the talents of professional Hawaii based dancers. In 2020, TDT was the only dance company to produce a live streamed performance (INDIGENUITY) from a major theater venue, (Hawaiʻi Theater) in the state of Hawaiʻi at the height of the global pandemic.
In 2002, the TAU Y2 youth program was launched, answering community need for young dancers to be trained in the original Pōhuli technique fusing Hula, Ballet and Modern Dance. TAU Y2 is an incubator to educate these young dancers, setting the stage for them to one day become company members and perform the works of TDT. The program has produced its own productions statewide, sharing the stage with local luminaries such as Raiatea Helm, Melveen Leed, Jay Larrin, Kūpaoa and Pōmaikaʻi Lyman. TAU Y2 continues to offer scholarships for native Hawaiian, at-risk, underserved and students and families in need.