Wendy Calio-Gilbert might be a familiar face to keiki who loved Imagination Movers on the Disney Channel. The Filipina-American actress plays Nina, a fun and peppy neighbor of the Movers.
Her passion for the arts led her to create Pas De Deux in Waipio Gentry, which held its grand-opening ceremony July 7. Calio-Gilbert started the company with husband Jeremy Gilbert (the two married Oct. 10, 2008).
There are hundreds of students who walk through the doors of Pas De Deux each week, and the staff has grown to more than a dozen.
“Just managing all that has been a lot,” admits Calio-Gilber, who taught Miss Hawaii Crystal Lee at Sabrina Starr Dance Studios. “It’s been a little crazy.”
With the opening of her new studio, Calio-Gilbert is able to share her passion with youths in the Central Oahu community.
As a child, she performed on Hawaii Public Television’s Saturday AM. “It was a show that was produced for kids by kids,” says Calio-Gilbert. “I wanted to create that again. The best way was to use our talented students. They’re a triple threat (can sing, dance and act).”
Her desire to provide keiki with high-quality programming led her to start up PDD Junior Company, which she describes as “Mickey Mouse Club meets Kids Incorporated.”
“We have so many talented artists in our school,” says Calio-Gilbert, who was featured on the MidWeek cover Aug. 8, 2008. “They’re songwriters, they’re directors – they inspire me, and I see so much potential in them.”
Pas De Deux has been snowballing into much more than just a performance arts school.
“We started in May 2010, and we went from 100 kids to more than 500,” Calio-Gilbert says. “We broke the glass ceiling – we projected at this point we’d have 300 students. We just keep getting more and more kids, which is awesome, because the more people who get involved, the more we can do as an organization to enhance the arts and create awareness of the arts.”
Aside from Pas De Deux, she also is working on the construction of a new television production space (6,500 square feet).
“It’s been insane working with contractors, working with the city permits and getting loans,” she says. “This past year, the hat that I wore was businessperson, the make-it-work person.”
Her goal is to create television film series made locally that also will be available for international release.
“Film and television, they last forever,” she says. “Once you get captured on film, it’s a product that can last forever.”
With all that is on her plate, Calio-Gilbert is looking forward to her upcoming vacation.
Pas De Deux has another week of trial classes Aug. 1-7, as well as a whole fall series of performances. For more information, visit pasdedeuxhawaii.com.