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Ballet
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Q&A with Ayano Haneishi
January 19, 2021

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Ballet is a challenging profession. What is your work philosophy?

I stay focused and try to be grateful for my strengths while trying to improve my weaknesses. 

What’s the hardest thing about being a dancer? What’s the best?

The hardest things are physical fatigue, pain, anxiety and stress. The best is dancing with beautiful music and feeling alive onstage! 

How would you define a successful ballet dancer?  

A dancer who can present something attractive and shine. Someone who inspires an emotional reaction in the audience and can bring a story to life. 

How do you handle criticism? 

I think dancers need criticism because it’s helpful for improving our performances and it motivates us. I try to focus on useful corrections and feedback to improve myself. I ignore criticism if it's unrelated to dancing and really just a mean comment. 

What would you have done as a career if you hadn’t pursued ballet?  

I’m really interested in fashion, so I'd probably be a stylist.  

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage? 

Yes, in my first performance of The Nutcracker as one of the aunts in Act I. My wig was big and heavy, and I didn’t put enough hairpins in to hold it steady. It started to shift halfway through the show, so I had to hold it in place while I danced until the end of the scene. It was embarrassing.  

What's your guilty pleasure song that'll make you rock out no matter where you are? 

“Dynamite” by BTS! 

What are three things most people don't know about you? 

  • I learned Hip Hop when I was eight years old.
  • I’m left-handed.
  • I love dogs even though I’m allergic to them. I have a Chihuahua at my parents' home.

What was the last thing you changed your mind about?

I planned to start running but then I decided to do yoga instead.

What cheers you up on an off day?

Talking with my family and friends.

Do you have any bad habits that you'd like to break?

I tend to waste time and put off small things, like organizing my messy room. I want to use my time more effectively and start things sooner.

What is your favourite memory of being onstage?

Every time I've been onstage. Each moment is like magic and is very special to me.

What is your favourite ballet? Why?

The Lady of the Camellias by John Neumeier. I love the beautiful music by Frédéric Chopin and the dramatic story, especially the pas de deux in Act III. It gives me goosebumps and touches my heart every time I see it.

What's the biggest risk you've taken, either personally or in your career?

Choosing to go to Hong Kong to join a professional ballet company when I was 17. Before I went to Hong Kong, I had never left Japan or lived away from my parents. Also, I could not speak English. I was very scared but now I think it was a good choice and it changed my life in positive ways.

When are you most proud of yourself?

Whenever I achieve my goals, no matter how small. I believe that small things add up to make a big difference.

Tell us about something awe-inspiring you've seen or experienced.

The current situation of COVID-19. I realized how much I took for granted. Meeting friends, spending time with dancers, being in the studio, performing onstage. It’s all inspiring!

Do you have a favourite quote?

“Opportunities don’t often come along, so when they do, you have to grab them.” - Audrey Hepburn

What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

I want to travel around the world, starting with Hawaii!!

Learn More About Ayano >

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