Dancing around the world with Ayuka Nitta
Ayuka Nitta is a dancer of Japanese origin who began her career at the age of ten. She has worked at the National Silesian Theatre (Czech Republic) and at the Greek National Opera Ballet, where she participated in Nacho Duato’s Herrumbre. Ayuka is also one of the latest additions to the Compañía Nacional de Danza. She joined the CND last year under the artistic direction of Joaquín De Luz. A lover of Spanish food, her daily life is marked by her intense work and her progressive adaptation to Spanish customs and routine.
You were born in Yokohama Japan, what is it that makes you interested in dance?
My first experience connect with dance was to see shows and parade at Tokyo Disney Land. My parents took me there quite often when I was little, I enjoyed a lot to see combination of music and dance! I’ve had entertainment around me since I was little and I think this is why I start to dance.
You trained at Tokyo City Ballet and later at the Austrian Ballet School in Tokyo. How was the teaching at those two Japanese schools? Do you think it’s very different from the rest of the world?
I started ballet in local ballet school as hobby, later on when I started to think to be professional I change school to train better. First in Tokyo City Ballet, the teacher gave us variety of steps and combinations in class. In Austrian Ballet School Tokyo, I leaned ballet technique in general but more than that I learned something important. Because my teachers made me aware of different values and different way of thinking regarding ballet. Each of us has different body and possibilities, my teacher approach each students definitely. We focused not only on overcoming weak-point but also on improving our strong-point even better. Also I learned that I need to take care about every small details in order to attract audience and express better. It made me think about how important it is to meet a good teacher who can deal with each and every one of us.
In 2014 you join the National Silesian Theatre, Czech Republic as a soloist. What is the difference between dancing as a soloist and as a corps de ballet?
To dance principal roles is precious for me, first of all it’s not easy to get chance and it’s a great challenge to progress myself and work for it. but at the same time it is very responsible to dance main roles because I feel it means I’m representing the company as well. Maybe I felt like that because I was young and was my first company in Europe as a professional ballet dancer. Including everything , it was great experience to start my career.
One of the most iconic roles you have danced is the duet of Odette and Odile, from Swan Lake. How did you approach building such different characters in the same ballet?
Expressiveness is necessary to play two similar but different roles. Therefore I was obsessed with how to use my arms, how to express the emotions and I tried to improve the technique accordingly. I also made a lot of research by watching the video and tried to imitate it again and again to find what suits me. Of course ballet master and partner helped me during the rehearsal time in the studio. By facing myself and the roles over time, I think I found my own way to dance Swan Lake.
In 2017 you travel to Greece, where you join the Greek National Opera Ballet, and this time as corps de ballet. What was it like joining a new company and dancing again as corps de ballet? Did you find it hard to get used to the dynamics?
It’s always full of expectations to have new life in different countries, but at the same time I get nervous. For example not being able to understand the language is an anxiety factor. So I try to lean useful words for ballet class and rehearsals. Thankfully I had good opportunity to dance soloist roles in Greece even I was corps de ballet. Of course it’s always nice to be soloist, but in general I don’t really mind about the title. For me it doesn’t matter to be corps de ballet or soloist. it’s more about how you work wherever you are, and most important thing is that you’re happy with yourself.
One of the pieces you dance during your stay in Greece is Herrumbe, by Nacho Duato, former director of the Company. What was it like to dance it?
It’s one of the greatest memories in Greece to dance Nacho Duato’s piece. I felt there is very powerful message through this piece, and I was one of the soldiers so I tried to create a sharp, strong and powerful movement. Music helped me immerse myself into the piece. I liked the way of stage composition using the structure in the piece. The structure moved by the dancers has different expressions.
The costumes are a very important part of ballet performances, because beyond the aesthetics, they influence your movements. Do you remember your favorite costume and the ballet in which you used it?
I like the one with medium-long skirts and very light and thin materials. It gives you more movement when you dance and it makes me feel good. For example spring fairy from Cinderella by Paul Chalmer was the one!
You are one of the most recent dancers of the CND, which is currently directed by Joaquín De Luz. What made you interested in the Company and in Spain?
I like Neo classical most these days but I like classic ballet and contemporary too. CND has many deferent style of repertories as production. I’m thankful for this environment to have great artistic team lead by Joaquín De Luz, work and spend time with high levels and high quality of dancers makes me happy and very motivated.
How are you living the entrance in the CND? And taking advantage of it being your birthday, what is your favorite candy or food?
I’m very happy to be here, I start gyrotonic and start to lean Spanish as well! Madrid is a city that let me take on new challenges and experiences! And… Let me say my favorite food is Japanese food!!! but actually I’m big fan of Spanish food. Paella, tortilla de batata and croquetas… those are my favorites! I didn’t have chance to try Churros con chocolate yet… I hope I will try it very soon!