Judie Lee

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - February 02, 2011
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After a four-year hiatus, Allegra Performing Arts is back up and running, thanks to director Judie Lee.

“I am thrilled to be back with my ‘kids’ and fulfilling my passion for the arts,” says the bubbly Kailua resident. “The absence only intensified my appreciation of how special the spirit of Allegra truly is. Everyone was excited and ready to pick up where we left off.”

With the return of APA comes a renaissance of dance, acting and voice lessons for young performers trying to find their place in the world.

“We hear on a daily basis from (members) that they love coming to Allegra because they are accepted like nowhere else,” Lee states. “Many feel like ‘square pegs’ and love the sense of belonging they find here. They similarly express not being judged or discriminated against for their differences.”

Having an outlet for their creativity has trickled down to school life as well. Lee says that after just one rehearsal, a new member changed his major after reconnecting to his passion for music and song.

“Performing arts is such a powerful medium that it is often missed in favor of the more obvious academics or sports. But there are scores of humans who are more connected to, inspired by and moved by the arts,” says Lee, counting herself among those youths who “would have more greatly excelled had those options been offered to me.”

Before her move to the Mainland, Lee had been operating the performing arts group as a for-profit business, but this time around plans to do things a bit differently, presently working to obtain nonprofit status for her organization, which is subsiding through member donations. All teaching is done on a volunteer basis, often by veteran students who have flocked back to the program.

“The beauty of Allegra does not lie in its ability to turn a profit, but rather the magic of the spirit shared by its members and the community,” she says. “We’ve become this think tank where everybody contributes their talents and ideas, and with everyone taking stock in this company, they have a greater interest in the quality of what is produced.”

APA gathers at Kailua Movement Center at 5:15 p.m. every Tuesday for the dance portion of practice before moving to nearby Aikahi Elementary for singing and acting lessons till 9, or until the fun subsides. For more information about APA, visit allegraperformingarts.com.

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