Japanese Dancer, Konomi Kikuchi, is an understudy dancer for The Beginning of Happiness. She took some time to share her thoughts regarding the rehearsal process so far:
What is some of your background?
I started training in classical ballet in Japan at the age of three. I graduated from Japan Music High School where I specialized in classical ballet. After that, I was at the Alberta Ballet School in Calgary as a part of their Postgraduate Program. I met a wonderful contemporary teacher at the Alberta Ballet School named Graham McKelvie. I was attracted to the charm of contemporary dance that was different than classical ballet. Now I am learning contemporary dance as an apprentice with Good Women Dance Collective.
Why did you decide to come to Canada?
I was interested in learning ballet outside of Japan. At the time I chose Canada because I auditioned and was accepted to the Alberta Ballet School.
What was the importance of dance for you growing up in Japan?
Without dancing, I would be crazy. Dance is the most important to me. Dance is my favourite thing that makes me happy and sad and gives me a lot of emotions.
What are some things that are similar or different between the dance culture in Edmonton and Japan?
I thought about the differences between Edmonton and Japanese dance. My opinion is that Japanese people are good at fine-tuning the body direction and spacing of dancers lined up with one another. I was surprised at the richness of expression in the Edmonton dance community. There are many artistic and warm people. I am learning the importance of dance in my heart.
Do you have any thoughts on the rehearsal process and how the singers and dancers work together in this show?
I think dancers and singers are connected by breath. Dancers need to breathe in order to dance. Singers also need breathing between creating sounds. I feel that both work because of breath.
What is your favourite song or part in this show?
My favourite song is "How Beautiful” since the first time I heard it. It has a beauty that makes me want to hear it with my eyes closed.
What is the challenge of being an understudy when you are learning all dance parts in the show?
I am happy to know all the dancers' choreography. It's a very good learning experience because each character has a lot of things that I don't have. I am mainly Alison’s understudy. She is powerful and has energy that is strong and cool! She is a very kind person who teaches me what I do not understand and practices with me. She has everything I need. I am especially learning a lot from her!
I had only danced the choreography before; however, this time, I was very interested because the dancers choreographed the movements and imagined what they would look like only after listening to the songs. This is an absolutely good experience for me.
What do you think of having live music to accompany dance rather than a recorded track?
Everything that is not recorded is fresh music, and the music that emanates from it impresses me. This time, the music of the four wonderful singers gives goosebumps. Music that is played live has something that resonates with human hearts.
Is there anything I missed that you would like to mention?
I am very grateful to be able to participate in all rehearsals as an understudy.
Thank you very much.
Follow Konomi on Instagram @konomi0919
The Beginning of HappinessComposed by Jane Berry
Choreographed by Good Women Dance Collective
Featuring Jane Berry, Sable Chan, Amy Voyer, Dawn Bailey (FEMME), Ainsley Hillyard, Kate Stashko, Alison Towne, and Rebecca Sadowski (GWDC).
Tickets are available at TIX on the Square. Seating is limited, please book in advance. $25 General, $15 Student/Senior/CADA Members
25% of the house will be held for pay-what-you-will tickets at the door.