Our Islands, Our Future

Ten-year-old Moorea Winter Feliciano is both a dancer and an Upcountry junior rodeo participant. Dancing ballet since she was three years old with the Alexander Academy of Performing Arts (AAPA), she is also a member of the nonprofit Maui Youth Rodeo Organization (MYRO). Ballet and rodeo make such a unique and unexpected combination. Yet, they have a few important similarities: both take time and dedication, both take a specific skill level, both take passion, both have levels of difficulty that humble you greatly, and both take hours of extra practice.

Feliciano explained, “I spend many hours after my schoolwork practicing both ballet and riding. I help clean the ballet studio in exchange for extra classes, and I am a teacher’s assistant to younger dancers. Also, I volunteer time to help set up for rodeo, and fundraise for both ballet and rodeo. For me, it is being part of something greater than myself. Also, the number of friends from ballet who are coming to my rodeo shows, and the rodeo friends who are coming to ballet shows, makes my heart so full.”

MYRO provides opportunities for children on Maui to participate in rodeo events throughout the year: riding, roping and more. Members practice good conduct, sportsmanship, and a commitment to good grades. Morag Rice Miranda, Maui District-Hawaii High School Rodeo Association representative, always announces Feliciano as, “an accomplished dancer, our ballerina rider.” 

This year, Feliciano landed the ‘every little girl’s dream role’ of Clara in AAPA’s 2022 annual holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. She will dance the role on Saturday evening and the closing performance, besides other parts. “A lot of hard work must happen first,” she said. “Both dancing and rodeo help me to set big goals for myself and see them through. My motto is: If you believe you can, you will!”

Paul Janes-Brown, Maui Curtain Call, said, “At ten years old, Feliciano is a young lady to watch. She helped choregraph a wonderful contemporary dance performance in the 2022 AAPA performance of Sleeping Beauty. I look forward to seeing her perform the role of Clara in this year’s Nutcracker.”

I love the magic that happens onstage and at the rodeo!” The Nutcracker will be performed December 16-18 at Seabury Hall’s ‘A’ali’ikūhonua Creative Arts Center. Visit Eventbrite for Nutcracker tickets and for rodeo information. Moorea Winter Feliciano, Member, AAPA and MYRO