A glimmer of hope came when I was in Washington D.C. when a random and fantastic taxi driver I spoke to changed my mind. He said: "Don't feel sorry for your parents, they must be happy to support your dream. As a parent, your child’s dream is your motivation to work.” Crying in the backseat, I couldn’t have thanked him enough. And after his advice, things started to turn around and I began to do better in the auditions. I was starting to get callbacks for repertoire and even made it to the interview stages of some, where the directors gave me advice and constructive feedback. Some of the other dancers auditioning were often encouraging too, praising my dancing and asking me why I didn’t get the job. Though I was physically and emotionally drained - even my suitcase was falling apart at this point - those positive words definitely made a difference and gave me the confidence and push to keep ongoing.
It was through this incredible challenge that I learned so many things. Most importantly, that if you keep trying your best, no matter what result manifests, and continue to put the effort in, people will recognize that and in the end help you achieve your goal.
I had reached my seventeenth audition still without a contract and with one more audition left before I had to return back to Japan. This last one was in Dortmund. After arriving at the audition, I ran into a former judge from YAGP who turned out to be the ballet master in the company. Given that it was my last chance to audition, I gave it everything I had and at the very end, I was called for an interview with the artistic leadership. And while I waited for the results I was happy I had survived the duration of the audition tour. Then, right then and there I was called back into the room and offered a contract with the company!
I burst into tears and immediately called my parents, and both of them were so happy and crying too. That moment made the struggle of all the eighteen auditions worth it. It was through this incredible challenge that I learned so many things. Most importantly, that if you keep trying your best, no matter what result manifests, and continue to put the effort in, people will recognize that and in the end help you achieve your goal. It turned out that Dortmund was what helped me jumpstart my professional career, leading me to where I am now, at the Norwegian National Ballet.
Through my not so steady journey I was able to forge a stronger work ethic and develop even more perseverance, and I can say with full confidence that this is my true strength as a dancer. Though it took a while what matters most in the end, is that I never gave up. I'm so fortunate to not just have a job but to have one at my dream company. It's only through hard times that you see your true capabilities shine and where you create the most memorable moments, like when my mum sat in the audience to watch my Gamzatti debut, and she hugged me after the show with tears in her eyes, saying, “I’m so proud of you.”
Top Image: Photo Courtesy of Nae Nishimura