Cupcakes & Conversation with Miki Kawamura, Oklahoma City Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?
Having days off always motivates me to start a new work week. I’m usually eager to go to work after day off.
Actually I ask myself this question all the time. When I was a child, I got bored easily so I couldn’t keep doing one thing for long. Ballet was the only thing I kept doing for a long period of time.
The most attractive thing about ballet for me is that it’s beautiful and athletic. We are artists and at the same time athletes, and only dancers can say that.
What are you looking forward to dancing during 2012 & what are the big challenges likely to be for you?
We are not a huge company but we do great works. I feel very fortunate. I very much enjoy dancing our director’s works but I can’t hide my excitement for being able to dance Anthony Tudor, Nicole Fonte, and Margo Sappington in 2012/2013. I’ve never danced any of their works so it will be a great and exciting challenge for me.
Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?
I finally met my dream partner last year (I’m sure all dancers would agree that finding a perfect partner is very difficult) but he went to a different company. I could do anything I want, anyway I want and he was always there for me. I trusted him and it was a great feeling to be able to dance without worrying anything. I would like to dance with him again. I don’t care what we dance.
If you could dance anywhere in the world, where would you dance?
My hometown (Sapporo, Japan). My parents don’t get to see me dance anymore since I don’t have opportunities to perform in Japan.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
I don’t do anything special to my shoes. I sew ribbons and elastics then step on the box and bend the sole to make them softer.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
I wake up at 6:50. Get ready, take my dog for a walk and go to the studio around 9. Class starts at 9:30 and we rehearse till 4:30. I go to Yoga 2-3 times a week after work.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day?
My day starts with cereal with a banana and almond milk. I usually take a sandwich for lunch. Dinner depends on how tired I am. Sometimes I eat salad, sometimes I cook some kind of pasta dish. I rarely cook Japanese food. I love peanut butter so I always squeeze it in somewhere as a snack.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?
Ellen DeGeneres, Robin Roberts, Mark Zuckerberg, Jason Segal, Taylor Swift, Natalia Osipova.
What would surprise people about you?
My age? I guess I look younger.
Who inspired you to dance?
My old teacher. She always believed in me. She once told me, “believe in yourself. You were born to dance, weren’t you?”
What is your best piece of advice?
Drink milk, eat healthy, and be nice to your body.
A lot of young dancers don’t eat enough because they are too worried about how they look. But if you don’t have a healthy body, you won’t be able to dance. We can’t be dancers forever so we should think about life and inner health before dance.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I do my hair, put make up on, see a PT, and take class.
How do you deal with the stress of performing?
Listen to music or talk to one of my friends. He always makes me feel better.
Which role has tested you the most and how?
Carmen. I thought my personality was nothing like Carmen. But I got good coaching and found things I never knew existed inside myself. I’d love to do this role again.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create?
What I wear in class and rehearsal (leotard and shorts) or simple tutu (without pink tights).
What do you look for in a dance partner?
I’d like to dance with a partner who knows how to make his partner look pretty. And who enjoys dancing with me, that’s always important.
What is your favorite quote?
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
Do you have a ‘ signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
I wish I did…
A phrase I use far too often is…?
Not a phrase but I often scream when we are trying to figure out lifts. My director says, whenever I scream, we are doing it right.
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far?
I had an amazing time in Mozart’s Requiem last season. We performed with OKC Philharmonic and Canterbury choral society. We performed in front of a huge choir and it was amazing. I felt like their voice was hitting my body. It was a great experience.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about?
It’s not a secret but I give good massages. Many dancers come to me when they have problems. They say I have magic fingers.
In terms of ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
I’d like to be dancing without any injuries.
What is your exit strategy, for the time when you stop dancing, and how did you plan it?
I’d like to stop dancing when I’m ready to have a child. I have to find a husband first though!