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UH Hilo Dance Lights up with a Spotlight on Annie Bunker

Choreographer and Visual Artist Anne Bunker talks about the Arts

By Maria Karin Walczuk, Arts & Community Editor

It’s a Monday morning at the Old Gym and dance instructor Anne Bunker remains observant and alert, watching the dancers perform with the fast-paced movement. Once they conclude Bunker demonstrates the gestures, signifying an alteration, difference in tone or quality as deemed necessary.

Photo provided by Anne Bunker.

Photo provided by Anne Bunker.

 This is Bunker’s Modern Dance II preparing for the Great Leaps show for next month. Bunker has taught at the UH Hilo and HawCC since autumn 2006 with Modern Dance, and Aerial Dance. Bunker first taught a workshop at Kalani resort in Puna, and was thereafter invited by Dr. Trina Nahm-Mijo and officially by musical director Dr. Ken Staton to instruct.

“I was just looking for a sign,” says Bunker.

 Bunker and her husband multimedia artist, Chuck Koesters, fell in love with the Big Island and decided to move from Arizona just 24 hours after arriving on this isle.

 Originally exposed to the world of the arts on the East Coast, Bunker’s mother was a modern dancer who would take Bunker and her siblings to modern art museums and operas. For Bunker, after years of intense competitive sports including swimming and equestrian riding, Bunker found herself intrigued with the world of dance -she understood at a young age that she was destined for a specific life.

“I remember walking through an apple orchard… telling my friend, I’m gonna be an artist [sic]”

 As an instructor and choreographer, Bunker remains open, intuitively understanding the importance of communication. Bunker likes to keep her work fresh by not being afraid to try new elements of movement, with varied, abstract choreography and avid against repetition. Bunker provides a holistic and thorough approach to movement, with her classes teaching the individual more about themselves.

Dancer, Lawrence Mano spoke, “You learn a lot in the class [modern dance], more about yourself and how you move as a dancer because she really gets into that.. I have nothing but nice things to say about Annie, because working with her has not only helped me as a dancer but overall performer.”

 Bunker has traveled the world, having originated a non-profit organization in Tucson, Arizona that has been running full swing since 1985. After years of successfully leading the O-T-O dance company Bunker has and still devotes herself to her craft of dance, exploring its’ powerful expression as art. Bunker concluded,

“If you have the passion to do something, it will all work out.”

 On Dec. 7 at 2pm and 7:30 pm, Great Leaps will be showcased. It is the biannual end of semester performance featuring students, both dance majors and not, beginner to advanced. Dedicated performers grace the stage in varieties of dance combos, choreographed by the instructors and featuring some graduating dance pieces. A crowd pleaser that will be sure to surprise the audience will touch upon a christmas music note, and Bunker is featuring collaborative choreography by the students themselves. Expect to see Bunker’s aerial and modern dance, as well as jazz, hip hop and ballet pieces placed together in an elaborate, entertaining spectacle.

Ticket prices are $7 / general, $5 UH Hilo, HawCC Student/Senior/Faculty/Child. Box Office 932 -7490.

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