Creativity Rules At Love Life Festival

Metzger break-dances in her Kalaheo studio

The Love Life Festival is all about giving youths positive outlooks and activities in their lives

Kaua’i youths will showcase their creativity at the fourth annual Love Life festival this week.

On May 31, the community is invited to watch and participate in a wide range of creative activities hosted by Kaua’i UnderGround Artists (KUGA), from slam poetry to break-dancing.

The event was originally developed in response to the tragic number of suicides that occurred in Anahola approximately four years ago. The intent is to develop a drug- and suicide-free culture on Kaua’i, says KUGA’s director Lila Metzger.

“We wanted to bring it together to celebrate a love for life,” she says. “The goal of it is that we keep people preparing for this platform called Love Life throughout the year to keep them plugged into a community of dancers, artists and musicians so that they’re focusing on something to keep them out of the loneliness and darkness that ultimately can lead to suicide.”

It allows people to be part of a creative community, and it provides a space for them to come together to display what it looks like to love life through the arts.

More than 25 vendors will be at this year’s showcase at the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall. The entire building will be rented out, including an area for folks to participate in activities and a stage for others to watch dance performances, a fashion show and b-boy competitions.

Kauai UnderGround Artists director Lila Metzger. Coco Zickos photos

“Not everybody surfs or plays soccer, or fits into the mold that the community offers in general,” says Metzger regarding why she founded KUGA. “Some parents just find that their kids fit in here.”

The Kaua’i native started dancing in 2002 when she moved back to the island from California. She was hooked after attending a workshop where she originally learned her hip-hop and breakdancing skills.

“I always liked dancing when I was growing up, but never had formal training,” she says.

From that point on, she dedicated her time to learning the craft. “I’ve invested blood, sweat and literal bruises all over my body.”

Now she teaches her skills to others at the KUGA location in Kalaheo.

“It’s basically just another creative outlet on Kaua’i,” she says about her organization, which she started in

2004 and turned into a nonprofit in 2006.

Youths can learn everything from hip-hop and modern dance to Zumba at the studio every week.

Metzger enjoys passing creativity on to others.

“I love watching kids dance,” she says. “They inspire me.” It is especially rewarding when they understand something and “it clicks,” she adds.

That is one of the reasons she finds the annual festival so gratifying.

“I hope everyone can enjoy the preparation to get to Love Life, and I’m hoping the showcase is a natural expression of what we’re doing,” says the 1998 Kaua’i High School graduate. “I want everybody to walk away from the show feeling they did their best.”

Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Visit kuga808.com for more information.

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