My trip to Japan was quite a surreal happening. I travelled there and back on my own, [which made it seem like an even more exciting adventure] for an unforgettable first visit to this unique country. I was lucky to be a guest of the kind family of one of my Japanese friends, who I cannot thank enough for all that they did for me.
My days would consist of outings, shopping, delicious Japanese food and evening dance classes. Luckily I adapted to the climate and time difference quite early on, so didn’t suffer from the exceptional heat.
Attending classes at the Acri-Horimoto Ballet Academy was a fulfilling experience. I enjoyed working in the disciplined environment created by the talented students and compassionate instructors. Being inserted into their daily classes was a huge privilege for me. I had to concentrate extra hard to keep up with the fast pace of the two-hour lesson and to understand the corrections being given out in an unfamiliar language. However, with some help in translation I gained advice valuable to me personally that I will retain for the future.
The Academy is a small, local, yet very professional institute. My friend used to be a student there before winning a scholarship in the Prix de Lausanne Competition to join The Royal Ballet Upper School in 2013. At her home we watched a few of the Academy’s end of year performances on DVD and I was amazed by the excellent standard of their work – they looked like a company.
It was interesting to see how much ballet is appreciated in Japan. I had the chance to watch part of the Saitama National Dance Competition, which is only one of the numerous competitions that take place near Tokyo each year. I was inspired by the junior talent and the challenging variations they took on at a young age.
Another theatre trip was to Alina Cojocaru’s Dream Project Gala. It was a wonderful show with dynamic performances by familiar Royal Ballet faces and other dancers who were new to me. The core artists of the Tokyo Ballet were impressive, performing beautifully in Swan Lake Act 2 [shown as an excerpt in the gala’s programme].
During my time in Japan I benefited from the best of both worlds – I was a tourist as well as a local. I discovered the modern life-style, combined with the ancient treasures and traditions. I flew home to Italy with an extremely good impression of the Japanese culture and the kind and unfailing manners of the Japanese people.
Many thanks to all those who made this special and worthwhile trip possible for me.