Nov 19

This post contains information on the ballroom dancing scene in Maui, Hawaii including ballroom social dancing and ballroom dancing classes should you find yourself there and wish to go out dancing.

We were there during the week of Halloween – Oct 24th – Oct 31st, 2010 which made it all the more fun as we were able to attend 2 Ballroom Halloween parties in one week.

Hawaiian Ballroom Dance Association (HBDA) – Central Maui Chapter


First we attended the Hawaiian Ballroom Dance Association’s (Maui chapter) Halloween dance event and found a surprisingly large and enthusiastic group of ballroom dancers.  I had received earlier reports that the ballroom dance scene in Maui was small so this was a pleasant surprise.  Majority of the HBDA dancers were in creative Halloween costumes which was a nice change from what we are used to in LA (I’m guilty of being a lame participant in the costume department for Halloween).  Many were originally from the mainland who chose to live in Maui - which is how Hawaiians refer to us in the ‘big island’.  I don’t recall running into a true Polynesian that evening …. but I just love the mix of ethnicities there.

The Halloween dance was at the Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului on a Monday 10/25/10 from 5:30-9:30pm.  A rather unusual day and time and 4 hours is considered long for ballroom socials.   The cost was $25 per person with yummy hot and cold appetisers and desserts served.  The floor was not huge (about 1200 sq ft) but it was wood and adequate for the dancers there which numbered about 80-100.  We were made to feel very welcome – many local dancers stopping by to introduce themselves and were very generous with their praise of our dancing.  They were also happy to provide us with a list of other places to go dancing in Maui.

Surprisingly, there were more men than ladies … who knew?  In the California ballroom social dance scene, women outnumber the men at least 4 to 1 on some nights.  Everyone was versed in the American Style Smooth and Rhythm dances with sprinklings of salsa, swing and hustle.  The level of dancers were mainly at the Bronze level – not a lot of technique but lots of enthusiasm and love for dancing was evident.  The DJ played the regular ballroom mix with salsa, swing and hustle thrown in.

The tempos seemed slower than what we are used to … definitely beginner friendly and a couple of mixers throughout the night.  If you don’t have a partner, don’t worry, this is a friendly social group and people just invite each other to dance – both men and women.

We met the most amazing gentleman dancer there – he is 76 but you would not know it – see photo (left) !!  He’s been dancing ballroom all over the world and had many stories to tell us about ballroom dancing all over Asia and Europe.

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Our favorite costume was this guy … ingenious and rather creepy.

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The next big event for the HBDA dancers is their Christmas party on Monday December 13th, 2010 and if you can get to Maui, you will have a fun time there.  Call Lydia Dela Cruz at 808-244 3263 for tickets – they always offer a discount if you book your tickets early.  Then you can pay with cash or check when you turn up on the day of.  Remember, the time differences – Hawaii is 3 hours behind California (PST).  The web-site for the Hawaiian Ballroom Dance Association Central Maui chapter is

The HBDA group has Monday night weekly ballroom dancing classes at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center 395 Waena Place in Wailuku.  This is the town next to Kahului which is where the main airport is located.

Aloha Ballroom (

The other dance we attended was the Aloha Ballroom Halloween Dance at the Kihei Community Center on the Wednesday night 10/27/10 from 7:30 – 9:30pm.  The space was very large, the food was yummy (ok I’m a foodie and could not stop with the coconut pudding), the dancers wore entertaining Halloween outfits.  Unfortunately, the floor was not wood and linoleum on concrete did not agree with our dance shoes or our knees!   The floor was super grippy – for those of you who dance standard or smooth, you know how uncomfortable that is and also how much punishment our knees and ankles had to absorb.

We saw a slightly younger group of people and also the same people from the HBDA dance on Monday night.  We marvelled at how the dancers were able to dance on that linoleum floor ….

Rita O’Connor is the instructor there and has been teaching in Maui for 9 years.  Originally from New York, Rita has just about taught every dancer on Maui and some of them are now teaching.  Rita shared with us some interesting information regarding the dancers in Maui.  Apparently, they prefer to take group classes but not privates.  Their group classes are really inexpensive … compared to group classes in LA.  Everything else in Maui is more expensive than California – food, petrol, accomodation etc.

The Aloha Ballroom group has weekly Wednesday night ballroom dancing classes.

To our surprise, when we talked to the local dancers, there is no ballroom studio with a wooden floor in Maui.  How lucky we are in California … we don’t have to drive far to run into a ballroom studio which all have wood floors.  So the local dancers make do with dancing on linoleum, concrete, tile and other small spaces in restaurants and bars.  You can find places to dance every night of the week in Maui – here’s a selection

Swing and Lindy Hop on Monday nights at The Open Room in Kenolio Park, Kihei (

Swing/Salsa/Hustle in Bocolino’s (Italian restaurant) on Wednesday nights on Kihei Road in the Azeca Mall with a 2 person live band.

Salsa at Lulu’s in Kihei ( on Thursday nights

Argentine Tango Milonga on Friday nights at the Makawao Union Church, 1445 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao (

Ballroom at Maui’s Art  and Cultural Center (MAC) on Saturday nights

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