As September falls upon us, I know there will be many of you beginning or returning to training after a summer that may have been slightly over indulgent or maybe you’ve had a summer full of classes and workshops which have made a positive impact on your physicality and confidence and your raring to go!. Dancers that may be finding it difficult to motivate themselves back to class and auditions, whatever your situation, I thought a little inspiration may help you to continue moving forward towards your goals . So I would like to introduce you to Ena Yamaguchi. I first met Ena when I worked with her in my dance company ‘HINGED’ Ena has appeared in ‘The King & I’ in London’s west end and is currently performing in the international tour. Ena has an incredible work ethic, she is fully dedicated to her discipline and I found her commitment and passion for her craft inspiring. So I thought it might be lovely to have a chat and feature her in my blog this September.
Where did you train?
Tring Park School for the Performing Arts
When did you graduate ?
Why did you decide to train in the UK?
My favourite dancer was a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, I loved the style and wanted to learn it, I used to dream about doing this.
If you could add anything to the training you received that may have helped you in the industry what would it be?
Improvisation class. I didn’t realise how important it is to have improvisation technique as a skill. I had also hoped to be taught more about tax, which bracket we fall into and how to process a tax return.
How have you found the transition from graduating to becoming a professional dancer?
I thought I was prepared when I graduated. But after I was rejected from so many companies and jobs, I realised I was not. I didn’t know who I was as a dancer/performer and what my strength’s were. Now I know better about myself and I can concentrate on me instead of comparing myself to others. I know my own uniqueness.
Did you find it difficult when the King & I came to an end in the West End ? How did you deal with it ?
I felt sad but at the same time, satisfied. I try to think that this is an another start of the next adventure not the end.
What was your favourite moment of the contract ?
Getting to know the cast and crews, I learnt so much from them.
Where do you find auditions ?
Mostly Facebook or friends.
How did you get an agent ?
I auditioned for a job which the agent advertised and when I got it they offered me a place on their books. I’ve got another agent through a choreographer I worked with as well.
Have you found it difficult to get work ?
Yes. But getting my first job was the hardest.
Why was it so difficult?
I believe I had a lot of growing to do both physically and mentally. There is a big difference between when I graduated in 2014 and where I am now. I understand more how the process works, you learn so much when you come out of college. I have learnt how to take care of my body, understanding the responsibilities I have as a dancer encourages me to do this. It is important to look after yourself especially during rehearsals and performances. I had more energy as a graduate but it needed to be balanced, I gave a 100% 24/7 which is going to take it’s toll on you, now I have learnt to pace myself and take time to recharge and refocus.
How do you take care of your yourself/body as a dancer?
Eat well and sleep well, simple but important. Warm up and cool down are essential. Listen to your body if your feeling tight or your body is tired. You need to reset your mind so you are able to focus better, you can do this in your own way. You use both your mind and body when you dance and they both need to be balanced. As most of us are aware when you are injured, it is always tough, so try to prevent that from happening whenever you can.
Where are you living now ?
Based in Japan but hoping to move back here or Europe soon.
How do you stay motivated what is your work ethic?
I remember the times when I am on stage and receive applause and appreciation from the audiences.
How do you deal with rejection?
It was hard when I started auditioning. I thought I am not good enough? I am not meant to be a dancer? I felt like this every single time I’ve been rejected which I found difficult. However, I have learnt that not everyone is suitable for all the jobs. It is impossible. You are not always rejected because of how good you are, when I get rejections now, I believe it wasn’t for me and I just move on and keep doing what I can do for now and that is too keep growing as a performer.
What advice would you give to anyone training as a dancer?
Challenge everything you receive at the school/classes. You’ll find something new about yourself and it’ll lead you to believe in yourself.
For an extra bit of inspiration please watch the link below.
In other news
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See you in October x