Lavaroots Performing Arts in the Schools

Lavaroots Performing Arts offers school workshops throughout the year, bringing cultural arts alive to the youth of the Big Island. 

A rich, varied experience in the arts is essential to educating the whole child. Lavaroots approaches teaching in the schools from a whole brained perspective, seeking to empower students as learners. While choreography and technique is shared, students are encouraged to have creative input in the formation of dances, cultivating leadership skills that can be transferred to their classrooms and everyday lives. This approach builds self-esteem, left and right brain connection, coordination and motor skills. We are so very honored to share with the youth of Hawaii, the new generation and the leaders of tomorrow.

innovations Michal classRHYTHM OF THE SOIL PROGRAM

We have run six years of our program; RHYTHM OF THE SOIL, in three Big Island schools: Kohala Elementary, Innovations Charter School and Kona Pacific School. All deeply rewarding for our youth! Last program ran in 2019 prior to Covid. Lavaroots is happy to be back in the schools with a program birthed from the Soil, and influenced by current events: “Rhythm of the SOUL”.  We are currently doing a six week program at Innovation school with grades 1st-6th.  Coupling the Soil and the Soul, we nurture our graden of SELF, to bear good fruit and bring forth joyous creations with and outside of the self. Exciting Times!  If interested in having this program in your classroom, please email us at:


The “Rhythm of the Soil” program bridges hands- on school garden education with traditional West African Dance and Drum agricultural rhythms. Slated for two schools in Fall 2018, Kohala Elementary and Kona Innovations, students in this program learn a traditional song, dance, and rhythm while planting, maintaining, and harvesting crops in their school garden. In addition to developing these connections, students explore their personal mana, teamwork, health, relationships to food, our environment, and one another. The program concludes with and exciting in-school assembly where students serve their peers and families food they have grown in the garden and perform what they have learned alongside visiting Wes African Master Artist Garbriel Fara Tolno and accompanying artist. The feedback from this program has been extremely positive from students, faculty, and parents, in addition to being FUN it is a great way to build left/right brain connections. Looking to the future we hope to bring this program to more schools and more grades, and to add a comprehensive drum component.

The Fall 2016 program was supported by The Bill Healy Foundation, The Kohala Lions Club, North Hawaii Rotary Club, Ralph Blancato, Bill Martin, and community donations.

The Fall 2017 program as of June is supported by The Bill Healy Foundation, The Kohala Lions Club, North Hawaii Rotary Club, Jodi DelPonte and The Hawaii Island Retreat. We are currently raising funds and all donations are greatly appreciated.

Spring 2018 Hip Hop and Creative Movement program (now completely fundraised) was supported by the North Kohala Cultural Enrichment Fund and the Big Island Dance Council.



WE WOULD ALSO LOVE TO ADD SCHOOLS IF FUNDING IS AVAILABLE.  IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THIS PROGRAM PLEASE EMAIL US AT:  lavaroots@gmail.coor donate directly through our donate button via the North Kohala Resource Center. MAHALO.

Michal Anna Carrillo, director of Lavaroots Performing Arts has been working in Big Island schools as a teaching artist since 2007 and is currently celebrating 15 years of keiki performing arts programs; in-school and theater.


HIP HOP In-school programming:

Michal Anna Carrillo has been teaching at Kohala Elementary school for the last ten years, accompanied by Assistant Leslie Nugent for the last three years. It is a real joy to see the impact that this program has had on our Kohala kids. Please consider making an annual donation to ensure that this program continues to serve our youth.  Reach out if you are interested in having this program at your school. Thank you for supporting healthy living and empowerment of the next generations to come. Together we rise.


wcs 1In fall of 2014 Lavaroots provided educational workshops featuring two West African Master Thanks to the generous support of our community and the Bill Healy Foundation, we were able to offer workshops and shows at SEVEN Big Island schools with our West African Guest Teachers Fara Tolno and Naby Bangoura in September 2014. This kind of exposure to arts and culture is invaluable for our Big Island youth. Teachers, Gabriel Fara Tolno and Naby Bangoura, along with Director of Lavaroots, Michal Anna Carrillo, taught workshops at five schools. The workshops consisted of two classes per school, serving approximately 75 students per school, for a total of 375 students served. Lavaroots also performed two school shows featuring the entire dance company of nine dancers and four off-island master percussionists, Gabriel Fara Tolno, Naby Bangoura, Sekou Camara and David Chapman. The school shows were hour-long excerpts from our latest work, “Yankady, Here is Good?”, written and directed by Michal Anna Carrillo and Fara Tolno. They were performed for the entire student bodies at two elementary schools, Kohala Elementary in Hawi and Holualoa Elementary in Kona, serving approximately 350 students per school, for a total of 700 students. There was a total of 1,075 students served through Lavaroots programs in the schools this fall.  The schools that were served include Kohala Elementary, Ho’okena Elementary, Laupahoehoe Elementary, Innovations Charter School, Kona Pacific School and Holualoa Elementary School.

This programming was made possible with the support of a grant from the Kona Brewfest/Bill Healy Foundation and the generous support and donations from our community. We are honored to have received this grant, which enabled us to bring dance, music and culture to students at six Big Island schools.


Mahalo cards from students at Halualoa Elementary School

Mahalo cards from students at Halualoa Elementary School











KartPlease don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in sponsoring a school workshop or booking one for your school. We can also custom build a workshop to suit the needs of a particular school or curriculum. Rates vary dependent on number of artists, length of workshop and location of school. Please email us directly for inquiries at

Mahalo nui loa.


Take a look at this interesting article “How Dance in the Schools Can Produce Smarter Kids”.