Karen Masaki

Volcano, HI


My primary focus is on the nonprofit arts community and foundations in Hawai‘i.

Training / Education

I’ve been a dancer for over 40 years and have an MFA degree from the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. At Oberlin College, I majored in psychology, studied piano in the conservatory, and began my dance training. After years of choreographing, performing and teaching, I joined the staff at Hawai’i Community Foundation. There I learned about grant making and nonprofit organizations and was the foundation’s culture and arts officer for 11 years.


My mother, a pianist, instilled in me a love of music that informed my every step as a dancer. I continue to teach dance and am now exploring the connection between dance technique and Gyrokinesis® methodology. My garden is another outlet for my creative energy, where I work to reintroduce native plant species, grow and process tea, and ensure our rainforest is healthy and able to sustain the native birds that flock here.


I volunteer for projects with Volcano Art Center, Volcano Community Association and West Hawai‘i Dance Theatre. From May through October each year, I volunteer as a member of Volcano’s Coqui frog control team. Our efforts are focused on keeping this invasive species from overrunning Volcano and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Wishful Thinking

My dream is to keep dancing into my 80s and to continue progressing through the Ashtanga Yoga second series.


Many years ago, I studied with Daniel Nagrin, who was called the “great loner of American dance” by Dance Magazine. My studies with him in dance improvisation formed the foundation for all my subsequent work in this subset of dance performance. Now that my long-time dance partner and I live on different islands, I’m seeking out opportunities to delve again into dance that plumbs the depths.


I bring observational skills, sensitivity to nuance, and attention to detail to my work as a consultant.