What do a hit Disney show, French inspiration, a popular performing arts school in Waipahu and hundreds of young aspiring stars from Oahu have in common? Two words, Wendy Calio.
Calio is internationally recognized as the spunky Nina in the hit Disney show, Imagination Movers, but here in the Islands, she is known by many as a talented local girl from the Leeward side who made it big through lots of hard work and determination.
Today, Calio is Studio Director of one of Hawaii’s premier performing arts school, Pas De Deux (“Step for Two” in French and pronounced paw day do for those of you like me who wondered how to say it). Located at 94-450 Mokuola Street in Waipahu, Calio and her teachers help dozens of students achieve the highest level of skill in the desired genre of dance, voice or theatre.
Her passion for dance and performing began at age four with her introduction to ballet. She later trained with the Hawaii State Ballet, under the direction of John Landowsky. “Ballet is the foundation of all dance,” she says. “To be a great dancer, one needs to have some training in this discipline.”
While ballet is her first love, Calio quickly mastered and enjoys many forms of dance, including jazz and tap. She began teaching at 16 and opened her first dance studio not long afterwards. She starred in local television, where she made a household name for herself, performed at Disneyland and Broadway.
In 2009, she auditioned for a new Disney show, later known as Disney Junior’s, Imagination Movers. She won over the judges with her talent, charm and charisma. The fact that she drew a big heart with the words “pick me” on the back of her script for all the judges to see didn’t hurt. Calio beat out 799 girls for the part of Nina. For three seasons, she entertained many households of happy, energetic three to six year olds.
Today, Calio is back home on Oahu and thrilled to be sharing her passion with others and inspiring Hawaii’s youth to sing, dance and perform.
So what does it take to be star? “Talent, timing and temperament,” she says. Talent: foster and develop your craft and skills. Temperament: be patient and humble. Trust that your time will come. Make yourself available for opportunities to come your way. Temperament: if you are talented but have a “diva” mentality, people may not want to work with you.
According to Calio, good dance schools never promise a career in dance or performing arts. They instead offer a great education.
Pas De Deux promises to give every child the opportunity to succeed and have fun doing it. The requirements: a good attitude, continual practice and regular attendance.
Pricing is fair and affordable at Pas De Deux and multi-class discounts are available. Visit pasdedeuxhawaii.com or call 729-7334 to find the perfect dance, voice or theatre class for your child.