Fight For Passion


Eleni Cheng

Senior Camille Dias has been dancing for over ten years. She is a member of Kalani dance group SOLEFLY and dances with the Honolulu Dance Studio and Boogie Down Productions outside of school.

Eleni Cheng, Profile

With the pressure of balancing her academics and passion, work is all she knows. 

Camille Dias (12), one of the two presidents of the dance team at Kalani High School, Solefly, has been dancing since she was in the second grade, about 10 years going on 11. She is currently a member of the Honolulu Dance Studio and dances with Boogie Down Productions. 

“Honestly, dance has just been like one of the few times where I’m not super stressed,” Dias says. “Because like I do a lot with school, when I’m dancing, it’s a good release for me.”

Dias explains that her favorite style of dance changes daily, but her overall favorite would be contemporary. 

“You can have [contemporary] be very, almost balletic, and sometimes it can be very, similar to hip hop,” she says. “So I like that diversity it has.”

Dias explains that being on stage and performing is one of the “best feelings” in the world. 

“You kind of forget that there’s people watching you, and you’re almost just dancing for yourself,” Dias explains. “It just, it feels so freeing. And when you’re with other people on the stage, it’s really fun, because you’re feeding off each other’s energy and you have all the lights and the wings, and everything just kind of feels a little bit magical when you’re performing.”

As fun as it is, it can also be overwhelming at times. 

“Currently, I have dance 6 to 7 days a week,” Dias says. “It’s usually from around 4:30 to 8 o’clock each day. Sometimes it’s a little bit different, depending on what we’re working on. Then I have school in the morning till the afternoon, so I usually don’t go home until late.”

Akemoto teaches Kalani High School’s dance team, Solefly. 

“I think the school and our class has been benefited from her presence here,” Daniel Akemoto says.

He describes Dias as a “really precise” and “really creative” dancer who “shows a lot of confidence.” 

“It’s like she knows what I expect, and so she’s able to carry that through,” Akemoto says.

Akemoto explains that Dias struggles with balance but doesn’t show it. Knowing the stress with dance and the demands of school, he knows that there can be difficulties trying to balance everything at once.

“But I think she handles it well,” Akemto explains. “I don’t see her struggling, and she doesn’t express any type of struggle. She does complain about being tired and busy, but that is within almost everybody.”

Because Dias has been dancing for so long, balancing it with school has become an instinct, or as she explains it, “my normal lifestyle.”

“I think I struggle with not knowing when it’s too much until it’s already overwhelming,” Dias explains. “And then I’m at home, and I realize, ‘Oh my god, I have too much stuff to do.”

With her busy schedule, Dias doesn’t have any time to herself. 

“I would say my relaxing time, it doesn’t really exist,” she says jokingly. “My relaxing time is when I’m at my studio, and I’m dancing, that’s how I relax, so that’s not really work to me. But other than that, I don’t really have much time by myself.”

Dias teaches Kalani’s Creative Dance class and the dance team at Kalani, Solefly. She works with other students to help teach others how to dance and also choreograph. One of her classmates and a student she teaches with, describes what Dias is like as a dancer.

“She’s one of the best dancers I’ve seen, besides like super famous people, but she’s really good for the age that she is,” Gillian Regidor (12) says. 

Regidor is Solefly’s other team president and explains Dias’ “busy” schedule. 

“She’s a very busy person,” Regidor says. “She spends a lot of her time dancing or doing her homework, and takes the hardest classes in school.”

Regidor explains what it’s like working with Dias as co-presidents. 

“Because we’re co-presidents and sometimes I have to take over for her when she’s not here, like when she’s busy with all of her dance things,” Regidor explains.

Her goal as a dancer and choreographer is to find genuine confidence.

“I’m very good at faking confidence, but really I don’t have very much. So I get kind of uncomfortable when I’m put on the spot, or like when I’m at my studio,” she explains. “I went to a competition recently and I had a solo, so that was really stressful for me because I’m not used to putting myself out there like that because I don’t have that kind of confidence.”

Her tip for those who struggle with balancing school and dance is, “prioritize your time” and “know when to say no.”

“I know that I already don’t have a lot of free time so when I do have free time, I just think, is there something I need to be doing right now?” she says. “Do I have any work that I can get out of the way for later? So that way I’m not overwhelmed.” 

But all of the work is worth it. 

“I think for me dancing has just been a very, it’s like a very integrated part of my life,” Dias says. “And if you love something a lot, then it no longer feels like work. Even with things that aren’t dance, if you find that passion, then fight to keep that passion.”