Features | Wood Craft Iona dancers bring charm to Kahala Hotel reception By Ben Wood Sept. 30, 2011 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. A GLEAMING red Ferrari from JN Exotics parked on the sidewalk fronting the Kahala Hotel set the stage for the Cinema Italiano in Hawaii jurors’ reception in the hotel ballroom Sept. 21. Two Iona dancers in colorful costumes added flash to the delightful party as they eased through the crowd of about 100. One dancer carried a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. She would hold a rose in her teeth by the stem and approach men, encouraging them to take it from her by the stem with their mouths. She playfully toyed with the gents before releasing the rose, never saying a word. Judges Franco Amurri, sisters Edgy and Bonnie Lee, Neal Israel and Ron Nagasawa mingled with the crowd and were later introduced by festival founder and director Margherita Balbo Parrent and Rick Blangiardi. Writer-director Amurri, who started his career as an assistant to the famous filmmaker Federico Fellini, stood out in the crowd. He stands about 6 feet 4 and has striking white hair. In the mid-1980s he and Susan Sarandon dated. They have a daughter, actress Eva Amurri. After getting food from a station, Franco joined our table. He said it was a surprising coincidence that fellow juror Nagasawa, the MidWeek publisher, wrote a humor column because his dad, Antonio Amurri, wrote a humor column in Italy. The festival wound up Sunday. Also at our table was Noel Onion, wife of knife-maker Ken Onion. Noel said, “We’re sharp, we’re not dull.” I’m still bleeding from that one … People wanting to see more performers from the Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre should attend the nonprofit group’s fundraiser Oct. 8 at the Sheraton Waikiki’s Helumoa pool, 6 p.m. Tickets start at $250. Call 262-0110 or visit www.iona360.com for reservations … DANCING ON: Maria “Baby” Handl is home after winning a national title in the U.S. Dance Championship in Orlando, Fla., with her teacher and partner, Lucas Jaime, earlier this month. They won the U.S. Open Pro/Am International Style 10 Dance title. It includes five Latin dances (cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive) and five standard dances (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz and quick step). “I think the credit should go to my ever patient teacher, Lucas, who never gets mad even when this old broad has the hardest time getting some moves right,” Baby said. Lucas, founder of Divino Ritmo Dance studio, which he operates with his wife, Yanna Samkova, said, “She makes me and our studio proud. This does not come without effort. She comes to her lessons religiously every day for two hours except Sundays.” Jaime knows many of the professional dancers on the show “Dancing with the Stars” … P.F. CHANG’S in the Hokua Building has invited friends to its fifth anniversary dinner Wednesday. Co-founder Philip Chiang will meet and greet guests during a cocktail reception before dinner … HOLUALOA INN on the Big Island will be featured on “Wheel of Fortune’s” Bed & Breakfast Week, airing on KHON Oct. 10 to 14 at 6:30 p.m. The Holualoa is one of five B&Bs offered as prizes that week. It is part of Bed andBreakfast.com’s Diamond Collection, a group of luxury inns that offer private bathrooms, 24-hour access to service or staff, free Internet, and more. BedandBreakfast.com is offering $5,000 seven-day, six-night B&B vacation prize packages to five locations around the world. The other B&Bs are in Pennsylvania, Barbados, Germany and Italy … Ben Wood, who sold newspapers on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things. Email him at email@example.com. Previous Story Da Kine Next Story Kalakoa!