Tahitian Dance Instructor
Tahitian Dance Instrcutor
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Leolani Gallardo has 25 years of dance experience competing, performing, and teaching internationally. Leolani is a freelance performing artist specializing in Tahitian dance, Hawaiian Hula, and fire performance. Leolani is especially known for being a touring artist teaching Ori Tahiti workshops around the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Indonesia, and just recently in Barcelona, Spain! Leolani began her hula training at the age of 7 years old under the direction of Kumu Hula (master) Keali’i Ceballos, in his hula hālau (school), Keali’i ‘O Nālani, based in West Los Angeles. As a young teen, Leolani then joined a renown Tahitian dance troupe in Anaheim, California, performing and competing with this group for 12 years. With a bachelor’s degree in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA, Leolani has gone on to dance for Tokyo Disney’s Polynesian Luau production completing her contract in 2009. She was an assistant choreographer on ‘So You Think You Can Dance” in 2010 helping with the debut of the very first Tahitian dance performance to ever be on this national T.V. show. In 2012, Leolani lived and trained in Tahiti and competed in the 130th Annual Heiva I Tahiti dance competition with the troupe, Hitireva. Under the direction of Kehaulani Chanquy, Hitireva won 2nd Place in the Hura Tau (professional division) group category that year. In 2013, Leolani was the Tahitian Dancer in Jason Derulo’s hit music video “Talk Dirty,” which lead to a live performance with Jason Derulo in 2014 on the late-night talk show ‘Jimmy Kimmel live.’ This year Leolani started her first and very own Ori Tahiti dance school based in Downtown LA called Te Aho Nui, which means, breath deep.
“I aspire to inspire my student’s creativity, encourage other dancers in my community to follow their dreams, and foster respect for all Pacific Island Cultures.” -Leolani