American Repertory Ballet dancer Nanako Yamamoto has been dancing since the age of 5, and believes the right timing brought her the opportunity to audition for American Repertory Ballet. Born and raised in Japan, she trained at the Geijutsuza Ballet Studio “Jardin des Arts” and Elmhurst School for Dance in Association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. It wasn’t until she found herself in the United States that she discovered American Repertory Ballet was auditioning.
“I was teaching and being a guest teacher down in Florida when I heard they were looking for female
dancers,” she said. “I knew the timing was right.”
Committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries, alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today, American Repertory Ballet performing company values individual attention, creating an environment where dancers can truly develop. Those selected to be in the company work closely with Artistic Director Douglas Martin, Resident Choreographer Mary Barton and Company Teacher Kathleen Moore.
The company never strays too far from the stage throughout the season, presenting various works to more than 30,000 patrons throughout the state and beyond. Nanako Yamamoto feels that these performance opportunities allow her to continuously grow as a confident dancer and challenges her versatility.
“The number of performances requires dancers to be capable of showing their ability to perform any role with limited preparation,” she said. “This has challenged me and made me grow as a dancer in a way that gives me confidence and an ability to still enjoy performing on stage.”
Artistic Director Douglas Martin, former principal dancer for Joffrey Ballet, works closely with each dancer.
“When I watch Nanako dance I’m dazzled by her speed and clarity and the lightness of her jump,” said ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin. “She is an exceedingly bold dancer, willing to take risks and exploit her range of movement while presenting an effervescent quality that makes her appears to float like a feather above the stage.”
One of Nanako’s favorite experiences as a company member was her most recent performance of Nutracker at State Theater in New Brunswick, N.J. She performed as Sugar Plum Fairy, putting many hours of hard work and preparation into the role.
“Seeing the audience’s reaction of a standing ovation made it all worth it,” she said. “It reminded me of what performing is all about.”
“Seeing the audience’s reaction of a standing ovation made it all worth it.”
This dancer story was written by Summer 2016 ARB intern Mary Berko.