Wendy Calio is having the time of her life and following her dreams at the same time - a rarity for most in our hectic world.
Calio, who graduated from Mililani High, is relishing her experience at Disney playing the role of Nina in the Imagination Movers television show the past two years. Recently Disney decided to take the show on the road, and Calio and the Imagination Movers team are traveling to more than 60 cities across the U.S. and Canada for the next three months performing for fans in person, an experience Calio is very excited about.
“The live concerts are totally different from filming,” says Calio, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover in August 2008. “Seeing the fans up close and being able to sing and dance on stage for them is thrilling. We have been so fortunate to play for such enthusiastic fans and packed houses. The last seven minutes of every show is the most rockin’ experience of my life.”
A random lunchtime hula for her co-workers sparked Imagination Movers’ incorporation of Hawaiian culture and theme within the show and performances. “Every other Friday (on-set) we have a dress-up theme, and I taught Little Brown Gal. While watching, our supervising producer made it a personal goal to get me to dance hula on the show,” Calio adds. “Shortly after, they came up with On My Way Home - the Imagination Movers took everything I loved about Hawaii and put it into a beautiful song.”
With the help of husband Jeremy Gilbert, Calio has been able to open the Pas De Deux Performing Arts School Hawaii in Waipahu. With a staff that includes award-winning vocalist Maila Gibson, former Miss Hawaii Kanoe Gibson and American Renaissance Academy’s Chris Lowe, they are all working to empower Hawaii youths through dance, voice and the performing arts. On June 18, Pas De Deux will present its annual spring dance concert, featuring more that 300 dance students performing various dance forms from contemporary ballet to hip-hop and hula.
Calio is pictured above with Rachel Toves, who was awarded the Dr. Stephen Wee Scholarship. Wee, who died just after Pas De Deux opened, was a faithful volunteer at Calio’s former studio.
For Calio, acting and performing comes from much more than skill and ability. It also takes an alluring and genuine personality, positively affected by the people who mean the most to her.
“My animated personality came from the way my mom use to read to me as a child. My drive comes from the never-ending belief in myself, my earnest intentions to better myself and everyone around me. And my optimism and positive outlook I owe to my husband - his love makes all things possible.”
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