Makalina Gallagher

Undergraduate Discipline


Graduate Program

MFA Dance Program

BA, Fordham University. Born in the South Pacific, Gallagher has lived in the Marianas, Caroline and Hawaiian islands; she has studied ballet, jazz, modern, and tap in New York City. Gallagher was under scholarship with Rod Rodgers Dance Company and has performed with Linda Diamond’s Dance Company, as well as with Denisa Reye’s & Friends. She has appeared in several theatrical productions as Liat in South Pacific, summer stock, and was on the national tour of The King & I with Yul Brynner. While she has worked on films, television, commercials, and daytime television, Gallagher has always returned to her first love—Polynesian dance. With her background, she became a member of the ALLNATIONS Dance Company, a multiethnic group of dancers from various cultures around the world. Gallagher represented the South Pacific Islands of Tahiti, New Zealand, and Hawaii and toured throughout the Eastern United States, Alaska, Asia, Guam, and Hawaii. She has also performed with various Polynesian Revues in the New York Tri-State area and at the world-famous Hawaii Kai under the artistic direction of Uilani Walton and Leonaka Cagata. Gallagher is the organizer of the New York City Ukulele MeetUp group and was involved with the New York Uke Fest; she also played with The All Borough Ukulele Ensemble. She has participated in celebrating Asia Pacific Heritage Month by performing with her students and dancers at the CAPA (Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans) Festival, Mayor Bloomberg's Asian Pacific Heritage event, New York City Dance Parade, New York City Halloween Parade, as well as various Asian Heritage events in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Gallagher and her husband were members of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, an organization whose goal is to preserve and promote Hawaiian music and dance. She is a teaching artist and has given lecture-demonstration workshops on Polynesian dance. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, she taught a basic Zoom hula class at Sarah Lawrence College. She has on-going hula classes on Zoom. SLC, 2020–

Undergraduate Courses 2024-2025




DNCE 5538

This beginning-level dance class is designed to introduce students to Hawaiian hula dance through percussion, song, and dance. The hula class structure is designed to give student a hands-on journey into the heart of the hula. At the same time, in the classroom, students will explore the broader issues of culture and its artistic expressions. This multidisciplinary approach incorporates social studies, language arts, dance, visual arts, and music. The instructor and the students work collaboratively in class, bringing together their various skills and expertise. Students will focus on the arts and traditions of a cultural group, building a contextual frame for the study of the hula, its origins and meanings. In the course of the class, many basic skills are put to use—oral and written language, coordination, listening, observation, description, analysis, and evaluation. This blend of artistic and academic learning provides students with an in-depth artistic experience while also exploring the larger themes of cultures and their artistic expressions.