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MidWeek Staff

Kapolei Dancer Next Mrs. Hawaii US?

Area Polynesian dance instructor Hau’oli KiaNapaepae will compete for the title of Mrs. Hawaii United States next month with the hopes of spreading the art of dance – and in particular, its health benefits – to others in the state and around the country.

“I just want to get out there and show others about dancing,” Kia-Napaepae explained. “I want to reach a broader audience and do more programs.”

Kia-Napaepae is running under the title of Mrs. West Oahu in the Mrs. Hawaii United States competition, which will take place at 2 p.m. April 27 in Mamiya Theater at Saint Louis School.

A Pearl City High School graduate, she founded the Kapolei-based Polynesian dance school Fetia O Te Po in 2011. She and husband Bronson Napaepae, a bus operator, have three children: Charlize (10), Charlotte (5) and Nainoa (3).

In addition to teaching dance classes, she also works part time at the front desk at Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in Kapolei, and she shares her dance skills with the community through volunteer projects.

Next month, for example, she will work with elementary school students to choreograph a May Day program.

Through competing in the pageant, Kia-Napaepae aims to promote Polynesian dance in order to encourage others to live a healthy lifestyle. She feels that dance benefits the mind, body and spirit.

“As a dancer, you learn that there are feelings and meanings behind your motions, and you are actually communicating and sharing that with your audience,” she said. “It can be very spiritual … and there is the benefit of exercising. The exercise you get out of it is amazing. It is a great workout.”

That point, she said, is particularly important, given the childhood obesity epidemic.

Her platform also relates to building a strong family unit, as she hopes that dancing is something that families can do together, as her family does.

The emphasis on family is one of the things that encouraged KiaNapaepae to compete for Mrs. United States.

“I love that (this pageant) is focused on family,” she said. “I feel that the title does not just include a beauty queen, but someone that is a role model to mothers and children.”

If she wins in April, Kia-Napaepae will go on to compete in the Mrs. United States national pageant in Las Vegas. Ultimately, Kia-Napaepae hopes to share the culture of Tahitian dance with as many people as possible.

“I want to reach a broader audience – not just in Hawaii. I want to be a great role model for Hawaii, but on a national level, I want to introduce this art to (others),” she said.

For tickets to the pageant, contact Kia-Napaepae at mrswestoahu2013@yahoo.com.

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