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Interview: Singapore Dance Theatre’s Nanase Tanaka

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Divertimento No. 15 - George Balanchine - Photo Credit Nicole Then

Singapore Dance Theatre will present their annual Masterpiece in Motion on August 23rd and 24th at the Esplanade Theatre, encompassing three different dance pieces from three different choreographers. Audiences will be entertained by three very different types or genres of dance.

Nanase Tanaka took some time off from rehearsing for all three pieces to sit down and talk to us about the show and her dance lifestyle.

You’ve danced all over the world – the US, UK, and in Asia. Has it been different performing in each country?

Nanase Tanaka

For me, dancing on stage is a joy and I always want the audience to leave the theatre with excitement or special feelings after the show. So whatever the stage I’m on, whichever country I’m performing in, it has always been the same. I simply want the people to be happy and enjoy my performances.

How long have you been in Singapore and at the Singapore Dance Theatre? Are you full time with SDT? What’s a typical day for you like, when you’re not rehearsing for a show?

This is my fourth year both dancing with the company and living in Singapore. I joined as an apprentice in the beginning of 2010 and was promoted to full time artist a few months later, in September the same year.

We are always rehearsing for a show five to six days a week. On weekends or when we get a day off, I sleep longer than usual and make my favourite food. Mostly I use the time to rest and recover from hectic rehearsals, I read and swim, do Pilates and Yoga. I also enjoy going out with friends and have a good girl talk session in a nice cafe.

Nanase Tanaka performing last year

Nanase Tanaka performing last year

What’s your role in this upcoming Masterpiece in Motion?

I will be dancing in all three works: George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena and Nils Christe’s Organ Concerto.

What can audiences expect from this year’s Masterpiece in Motion?

George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations is a pure classical ballet danced to Tchaikovsky’s music with beautiful tutus. Lambarena gives audiences a taste of African dance and the music incorporates drums. It is a very exciting work. We feel like we’re dancing in a savannah! Organ Concerto is another different type of dance. It was created for SDT last year by a Dutch choreographer, Nils Christe. You can really feel the grand energy from the dancers. I believe that the audience will enjoy a colourful and very exciting program – it definitely cannot be missed.

Nils Christe's 'Organ Concerto'

Nils Christe’s ‘Organ Concerto’

What does Dance mean to you on a personal level?

Dance is about me and my lifestyle and through it I am also able to express my personality. Of course I love to dance classical works and feel like a princess, but I also love to throw myself into trying a completely different style. I like to challenge myself to the limit and through dance, I always discover something new about me. I’m always eager to learn and experience new things through dance and I believe those experiences will lead me to [becoming] a better, bigger and deeper person.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.
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