Saturday, 6 December 2014

Meet Riho Sakamoto of the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company

Riho Sakamoto
Photo Robin DePuy
(c) Dutch National Ballet 2014
Reproduced with kind permission of the Dutch 
National Ballet

Riho started ballet because her grandmother wanted her to develop a good posture. She would start dancing around whenever she heard music. That is why her mother and grandmother thought that it would be good for me to learn to dance.  Riho studied in Japan for few years and then went to study in Washington DC to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet.

Many dancers have inspired her particularly Rudolf Nureyev. "I like his idea of always wanting to learn new things, exploring what your body can do, and by working with new dances you can find your new self," she said. She was also inspired by her teacher Elena Tenchikova who taught her for three years who Riho described as "not just my teacher, but also like a second mother to me." For instance, as a young girl Riho did not know how to apply a stage make up. Elena Tenchikova showed her how to put it on giving her private lessons as the performances approched.

Her greatest achievement to date and been entering the Junior Company and working with people she admires.  

Already Riho has enjoyed dancing the first act of Don Quixote as Kitri, the second act of Giselle, the second of La Sylphide, the first act of La Bayadere, the role of Aurora, and the pas de deux from La Fille Mal Gardee which was her first pas de deux

When asked what ballets she would like to dance, Riho replied:
"This is a very difficult question, because I would love to dance every role and ballet possible. I would love to play an evil character, just because I’ve never done them before, and I would also like to dance Giselle again someday. I would also love to dance In the Middle Somewhat Elevated' by William Forsythe, and I was inspired by Million Kisses to my Skin by David Dawson."
Riho's favourite dancers and choreographers include Sylvie Guillem, William Forsythe, Kristina Shapran, Evgenia Obratsova, Maia Makhateli, and Anna Tsygankova.

Riho's immediate ambitions are to 
"continue working with amazing ballet masters here with the Junior company and to become a better dancer, and to be part of the main company here with the Dutch National Ballet." 
In the longer term she would love to be a ballet master in a company, teaching at a school, or  a choreographer one day. She does not know what she would like to do exactly, but she knows she would like to stay in the ballet world.

Her interests outside ballet include singing, watching TV, cooking, and playing the piano.

A very interesting and determined young woman, I wish her well.

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