Pauwilo Look

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - November 04, 2009
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Before the documentary This Is It sold out in many theaters nationwide last week, Pauwilo Look and a slew of Jackson fans were staging a tribute of their own.

“Like many other fans, I was really devastated about Michael’s death in June, as his music was the soundtrack of my life for so many years,” says Look, a Campbell 1982 grad and mother of five. “I am a repressed singer/dancer, but my appreciation for showmanship stems from a love of the arts.”

So when Look discovered Ines Markelle’s annual Thrill The World event (visit for the full back-story), she knew this was her chance to honor the King of Pop while reigniting her own creativity.

She contacted the TTW headquarters in September to try to get Hawaii included with this year’s simultaneous dance celebration. As luck would have it, Aliamanu Middle School’s drama club and Kumu Kahua Theatre had registered their individual groups to be included with the international dance collaboration to Thriller.

“Hawaii’s inaugural TTW project was used as a vehicle to highlight the needs of these two different nonprofit organizations,” Look says. For Aliamanu, students wanted to raise awareness of their need for a portable air conditioner to cool down the classroom in which they rehearse. Kumu Kahua Theatre, a theater company focused on producing new plays by local playwrights, used the event to promote its Halloween fundraiser.


Look used her skills as a public relations professional to get the word out and on Oct. 25, 88 zombie-fans came together at Pearlridge Uptown Center, where they spent the morning learning the steps to Jackson’s music video hit. At 2 p.m., the cast joined the thousands from more than 300 official locations worldwide in what can only be described as a bittersweet celebration of the star’s life. (View the official video of the Hawaii dancers at

The dancers followed MJ’s steps in another way - the event raised more than $85,000 for 80 charities all over the world. Here at home, Look reports that support continues to roll in for the two community troupes - as of press time, $100 has gone directly to Aliamanu’s drama club, while Troy Apostal of Kumu Kahua says he has been “very please with the response.” Visit for ways to donate.

“TTW is about collaboration,” says Look, who already is working toward next year’s event, which she hopes to use as a yearlong learning program that can be implemented as a team-building activity in schools and a fundraiser for another local nonprofit within Hawaii’s art community.

“The vehicle is dance, and the inspiration is all Michael. I feel privileged to be a small part of the big dance floor of life.”


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