Drag Queen to teach University of Hawai'i queer dance class

On October 11, the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa announced it was among the first in the nation to offer a 'queer dance course.'

The course incorporates techniques 'born out of gay and lesbian dance clubs and ballroom culture and has been widely popularized on stage by pop artists such as Lady Gaga.'

On October 11, the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) announced it was among the first in the nation to offer a “queer dance course.” The course is a 3-unit class where students can take a “performing arts practice based course in queer dance.”

According to University of Hawai'i News, the course is described as a queer dance class that will "explore the communicative, physical and artistic aspects of dance as a medium of human expression and interaction."

The UH Mānoa course incorporates techniques "born out of gay and lesbian dance clubs and ballroom culture and has been widely popularized on stage by pop artists such as Lady Gaga and Madonna," according to the news site.

[RELATED: American University to offer course on 'neuroqueerness']

The course falls under the University's Department of Theatre and Dance and is being taught by Professorial Lecturer Sami L.A Akuna

Akuna, who is also a drag queen with the moniker “Cocoa Chandelier,” teaches “theater, dance, choreography, performance, [and] drag artistry.”

Students taking the class performed dances they’ve learned at the Honolulu Pride Festival on Oct. 15 and will do so again at Hawaiʻi State Art Museum on Dec. 2.

"This is truly powerful and transformative education—exactly what higher education can do when it is at its very best," said the UH Mānoa LGBTQ+ Center director, according to University of Hawai'i News.

Campus Reform reached out to UH Mānoa for a comment regarding the course.

Dan Meisenzahl, University Spokesman, said “The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is one of 146 Research 1 universities in the country. The dance class elective is one of about 5,000 courses currently being offered in the fall 2022 semester.”

[RELATED: University students will learn about 'Queer Feelings' & 'activist skills' this fall]

Campus Reform has continued to cover the growing trend of American universities offering similar queer-focused classes. 

American University, for example, offered a 3-unit course on "neuroqueerness" last fall.

The University of Washington also offered a course titled "Queer Desires” in 2020, which "[explored] desire and the politics of sexuality."

Campus Reform reached out to Akuna and the UH Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.