This week, Alberta Ballet presents Dynamic Directions, featuring the work of three of Canada’s best known dance makers: Aszure Barton, Wen Wei Wang and Alberta Ballet’s own Yukichi Hattori. Yukichi trained in Tokyo and Germany before beginning his career with the Hamburg Ballet in 1999. He has been dancing with Alberta Ballet for ten seasons. We sat down with Yukichi for a rapid-fire Q & A to find out what inspires and motivates him as an athlete and an artist.
RVH: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work as a choreographer?
Yukichi: My everyday life and everything that surrounds us. That way, the piece becomes relatable to the audience.
RVH: Are you more comfortable with humor or drama?
Yukichi: Either. I feel they are two sides of a coin.
RVH: You’ve enjoyed a long career as a ballet dancer. Has your approach to your art form changed much over the years?
Yukichi: I discover more about my body everyday. Over time I have learned to dance with less muscle tension to achieve good results. I used to be a ‘muscle’ car, now I am more like a hybrid.
RVH: Do you have a favorite ballet?
Yukichi: Hmm….. I don’t have any particular piece. I love dancing, that’s that.
RVH: Can you tell us something about the new work you’re creating for the show?
Yukichi: My piece is “The Rite of Spring”. It will be a part of our triple bill, Dynamic Directions, which opens in February 2016. The piece is choreographed to an iconic score of Stravinsky and will knock you right off your seat.
RVH: What are some qualities you look for the in dancers you cast in your work? Do you tend to choose dancers who share the same virtues you have—as they can adapt easily to your style, or are you interested in a wider variety?
Yukichi: I like working with people who are open minded. I have no preference for a particular dance style. The more versatile you are, the better. It’s all about communication.
RVH: What do you do every day to keep yourself healthy and strong?
Yukichi: Healthy home cooking and application of proper dance technique on a daily basis. It is astounding how much you can help your body by dancing correctly. Of course, I wish I could have RVH everywhere I go. You guys are simply amazing.
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photo credit: Paul McGrath