Marcelo Pacleb

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - May 18, 2011
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Photo courtesy Wanda Horibe

The virtuous coach is a mentor. Someone to provide expertise, advice and leadership. The stage belongs to the team, while the coach is present to guide it to that arena.

It comes naturally to 24-VII DanceForce coach Marcelo Pacleb to put his dancers first; he understands that instilling confidence in them heightens their potential, their performance and their personalities.

“I enjoy finding the beauty in people, you learn that everyone is beautiful if you choose to see those traits. Doing this may inspire them to let go of their insecurities that cause negative traits. I choose to inspire rather than judge,” says Pacleb who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover May 5, 2006.

Pacleb, who founded 24-VII DanceForce, has seen it come a long way since opening in 2000. One of Hawaii’s premier dance studios, 24-VII DanceForce now offers 21 classes per week for all ages and skill levels. Currently they have 200 students enrolled, and are constantly preparing for their dance concerts and community projects performed throughout the year. Classes include jazz, ballet, hip-hop, breaking, contemporary as well as a free class for special needs students. 24-VII DanceForce also offers a work scholarship program for students, where students can either work, clean or assist at the studio in return for free tuition.

On the collegiate level, Pacleb also is entering his ninth year as coach of the UH Rainbow Warrior Dance Team, which has developed substantially since he took over.

“I am very proud of this program, which has grown to 25 scholarship students this year, including four male students,” Pacleb adds.

Sometimes a coach’s credentials are merited by where their students go on to perform. Pacleb’s resume is looking pretty good, as numerous dancers are currently performing with entertainment icons including Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue.

To raise funds for a trip to Las Vegas’ Pulse dance convention and competition in July, 24-VII DanceForce is hosting a Casino Night this Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. at KA Restaurant and Lounge. There will be numerous raffle drawings, blackjack and craps tables and also an auction for a one-hour private lesson with 24-VII DanceForce choreographers. A portion of the proceeds will go to Heartbeats, a program providing free dance classes and costumes for mentally disabled participants. For tickets or general information on Casino Night or 24-VII DanceForce, call 235-5141.

Correction: Kristian Lei came from a prominent lifestyle in the Philippines, not poverty, as was published in last week’s Old Friends.


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