‘Auana Creative Team

After careful consideration and in collaboration with community voices, Cultural Creative Producer Dr. Aaron J. Sal?, Director Neil Dorward?, Costume Designer Manaola Yap and Choreographer Kumu Hula Hiwa Vaughan, ‘Auana was selected to foreshadow the? thrilling adventure that audience members will take part in, traversing through Hawai‘i’s? unique mo‘olelo (stories) and stylized depictions of historic milestone events. Still under development, ‘Auana promises to meld the poetic and nuanced Hawaiian worldview with Cirque du Soleil’s signature style of breathtaking acrobatics, dramatic storytelling, and flair.

Neil Dorward | Co-Creator / Director
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group

One of the most up-and-coming commercial theatre and television directors in the world today, Neil has directed and choreographed a number of critically acclaimed touring theatre shows across Europe, China, Japan, America, Canada, the Middle East and Australia including Solid Gold Motown (Monaco Sporting Club), All Night Long (Tropicana Hotel Las Vegas and European tour,) Rock around the Clock (European Tour), Spirit of Christmas, which opened in the world famous Kodak Theatre in Hollywood and Man in the Mirror (European Tour). In early 2011, Neil directed Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline, a high-octane Cirque spectacular that premiered at The Sydney Opera House and toured internationally, marking the beginning of his collaboration with Simon Painter and Tim Lawson. Neil went on to direct Le Noir-The Dark Side of Cirque, Cirque Paris, and Cirque Stratosphere. Perhaps most notably, Neil directed The Illusionists franchise from its debut at The Sydney Opera House, all the way to London’s Hammersmith Apollo (broadcast on ITV) and Broadway. Neil was the director and creative force behind Circus 1903, a turn-of-the-century spectacular featuring marvelous circus talent and magnificent elephant puppetry. In addition to creative producing America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, Neil is the co-creator and director of Mad Apple, Cirque du Soleil’s jaw-dropping and show-stopping new residency at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Aaron J. Sal?, PhD | Cultural Creative Producer
University of Hawai‘i at M?noa

Aaron J. Sal? is Founder and CEO of Gravitas Pasifika, a boutique firm intent on harnessing the power of creative story living to advance Native Hawaiian, local Hawai?i, and Pasifika worldview through the creative industries. Sal? is also the founder of The Native Imaginative, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation committed to the engagement with, education about, and elevation of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities through curriculum development and cultural consultancy, arts advocacy, and professional development. With a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Hawai?i, his academic research in Hawaiian and Pasifika music, language, and culture has informed a robust portfolio inclusive of work especially focused on cultural consulting, creative direction, and media production. In service to the community, he participates on several non-profit boards including those for the Hawai?i Opera Theatre, Hawai?i Youth Symphony, Awai?ulu, and the Hawai?i Visitors and Conventions Bureau. He has also served on the boards for the Hawai?i Tourism Authority (2011-2015, Chair 2014-2015), PBS Hawai?i (2012-2023), and the Hawai?i Arts Alliance. Recent professional work includes:

? Creative Cultural Director, Cirque du Soleil-Hawai?i (title forthcoming, late 2024)
? Executive Director and Festival Provider, 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (Jun 2024)
? Producer, Yo-yo Ma at the Waik?k? Shell (Dec 2022)
? Creative Director and Producer, ANA Honolulu Music Week (Nov 2019)
? Music and Dialogue Director, Disney’s Moana ??lelo Hawai?i (Nov 2018)
? Producer and Writer, IUCN World Conservation Congress opening ceremonies and plenary session (Sept 2016)
? Director and Writer, Cultural Programs and Engagements, World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (May 2014)

Carrington Manaola Yap | Costume Designer

Carrington Manaola Yap, widely known for his eponymous luxury lifestyle label, MANAOLA, is a native Hawaiian designer and cultural practitioner from Kohala, Hawai?i. His lineage and cultural upbringing serve as pillars to the indigenous frameworks embodied in his work. In 2016, Yap founded MANAOLA Group, a design group of contemporary storytellers driven to protect, cultivate, and sustain indigenous culture through purpose driven practices. Yap later established his philanthropic extension, Hale Kua, in 2018 as a 501c3 organization aimed to empower humanity through Hawaiian culture and innovative entrepreneurism. Through his adept understanding of Hawaiian ideologies and aptitude for cultural protocol, Yap has created models for indigenous innovation that have influenced mainstream cultures and impacted modern industries far and beyond his home of Hawai?i. Internationally solicited for his cultural expertise, Yap has served communities from Canada and Japan to the United Kingdom. Yap has showcased culture conscious designs in runways from Hawai?i to San Francisco and New York City, including a momentous New York Fashion Week debut in 2017. Yap has been recognized in Hawai?i as one of Hawaii Business Magazine’s “20 for the Next 20” honorees, Honolulu Magazine’s fashion “Islander of the Year,” and Hawaii Venture Capital Association’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Recent professional work includes:

? Costume Designer, Cirque 2024
? Cultural Director, B+HARI Brain Health Applied Research Institute 2024
? Creative Director and Producer, Traditions Hawaii 2018 – Current
? Cultural Designer, Koa Ridge Development 2021
? Textile Designer, REDValentino 2021
? Cultural Designer, Nespresso Kona Coffee 2020
? Cultural Designer, Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts 2019

Kumu Hula Hiwa Vaughan | Choreographer
H?lau Ka Lehua Tuahine

Kumu Hula Ka’ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval is one of five women to win two of the most coveted titles of hula: 1985 Miss Keiki Hula and 1995 Miss Aloha Hula. As Kumu of H?lau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine, Kumu Hiwa establishes a firm foundation in footwork and adherence to traditions given to her by the masters under which she has been fortunate to study. Kumu Hiwa hails from a family who upheld Hawaiian traditions. Her late father, Palani Vaughan, was a beloved musician and historian and her mother, Ipolani Vaughan, a much revered Hawaiian Language teacher, master lauhala weaver and Kumu Hula