IONA Founder and Artistic Director, Cheryl Flaharty

“Dancer/choreographer Cheryl Flaharty has evolved a hybrid style that resonates with the tension between her Western-trained body and her Eastern-trained mind. Her works are as provocatively original a fusion of Western exhibitionism and Eastern introversion as one can possibly imagine” Honolulu Advertiser

Cheryl Flaharty is a visionary artist whose work seeks to unveil the mystery of the human spirit. Raised in Hawaii, she received a B.A. in Dance from the University of Hawaii and performed as a principle dancer with Betty Jones’ and Fritz Ludin’s Dances We Dance Company. Flaharty's choreographic vision has been equally influenced by her work with butoh master Poppo Shiraishi, with whom she performed as a principle dancer in New York from 1985-1990, in his Go Go Boys company. Ms. Flaharty’s experience with these two differing dance forms has brought forth the unique synthesis of Eastern and Western movement and spirituality that her IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre is known for.

Over the past twenty-nine years, Flaharty has been a leader in the Hawai’i dance community, bringing the Japanese butoh dance form to the islands, creating new audiences for dance, and inspiring countless performers and creators throughout the state. She is the recipient of six Hawaii State Dance Council choreographic awards, the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Individual Artists Fellowship, and the Baciu Award for cutting edge work. Flaharty’s vision has expanded beyond the realms of contemporary dance with the creation of work for Sal Murillo’s YES International Revue in Waikiki, and collaborations with Hawaii Opera Theatre in MacBeth and The Tales of Hoffman. An influential and inspiring teacher, Ms. Flaharty has taught numerous classes and workshops throughout the state of Hawaii and in New York, and served as guest instructor at Mid-Pacific School for the Arts, the University of Hawaii, and the University of California, San Diego.