I recently had the pleasure of asking the amazing Marie Yamaoka, she is a fantastic dancer, she graces the stage with immense joy, beauty and poise. Her dedication to ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started ballet when I was 4 years old at my preschool. I didn’t start serious training until 8th grade though!
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I currently dance at Danceworks Ballet Academy in London!
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I started pointe about 5 years ago, but it’s been on and off. I developed is trigonum syndrome in my left ankle (had it for about 3 years) but have now had surgery on it so I’m back on my toes!!!☺️
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I’ve tried every shoe on the “Bloch” (😅😂) but I’ve come back to Gaynor Minden and couldn’t be happier!- so in short, Gaynors!
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
My mom wanted me out of the house because I was quite the noisy one-haha- so she put me in every after school program available at my preschool and ballet just so happened to be one of them!
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
That’s a tough one- maybe Swanilda (Coppelia Act 1) or Giselle (Act 1). I love how they are so charming and how you can really get into character.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
Royal Ballet and San Francisco Ballet
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
When I was selected to baby lamb in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. I was fairly new to Atlanta Ballet compared to most of the other girls and I didn’t go to the main studio or have many connections so to be given the role that every little girl dreamed of was just like a dream come true! Performing baby lamb at the FOX Theatre is a memory I’ll always cherish!
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
Natasha Sheehan and Elisabeth Beyer. I look up to them because I’ve seen how they work when I went to Ellison Ballet’s Summer intensives back in 2016. They are both relatively close to my age but I think that’s what makes them relatable.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
The more confidence and happiness you gain from dancing the better you dancing becomes! It’s true though. I used to get so caught up on one flaw and I’d be really hard on myself, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I’m still a culprit of it myself and it’s hard to stay positive sometimes, but a simple change in mindset really does make a world’s difference.
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
I love spending time with friends and going out to lunch with my mum. I feel so blessed to live in a big city like London because there’s always so much to do!