Performer Yusuke Onuki

Performer Yusuke Onuki Photo courtesy of HoriPro

Performer Yusuke Onuki Reflecting on Dorian Gray, Dancing, Singing and Acting

Photo courtesy of HoriPro

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: How did you first get into dancing? What styles of dance have you trained to do?
ONUKI: My mother is a dancer and runs a dance studio, so I naturally started to learn dancing. I started with jazz and modern dance. But when I was a primary school student, I saw “Rave2001,” a TV dance program, and got interested in street dancing. I began taking dance lessons and was into street dancing in junior high and high school. And gradually I started to be interested in contemporary dance and ballet.

TJ: What is your favorite style of dance?
ONUKI: In terms of music, hip-hop or house dance. But I really feel that ballet is important because it is basic. When I dance on my own, I prefer contemporary or free dance.

TJ: You are performing the lead role with Richard Winsor in “Dorian Gray” from July 11to15.Can you tell us how the two of you collaborate in this role?
ONUKI: I practice with Richard. He is gorgeous and inspiring. He looks like Dorian as he is, but as I’m Japanese, I don’t, so I try to show the sexual charms of Japanese.

TJ: Do you need to speak English with Richard or the choreographer Matthew Bourne?
ONUKI: I talk with them in English generally, but for detailed directions, I need an interpreter. I really feel the need to be proficient in English.

TJ: What do you think of the choreography of “Dorian Gray”?
ONUKI: It is more like acting rather than pure dancing.

TJ: I understand that in “Cabaret” you also needed to act and sing. Have you studied acting or singing? Which was more challenging for you?
ONUKI: When I was in “Romeo and Juliet” in 2011, I discovered the power of acting and singing. Before that, I thought dancing was the best. But I was inspired by that experience and took acting and singing lessons. I was so glad to be cast for “Cabaret” in 2012, and had to train for the show for one and
a half months. It was incredibly tough. But it was a wonderful experience that changed my whole way of feeling. The biggest factor was my responsibility as a main cast member. Before that, I could follow other people. The pressure and expectations on being one of the main cast members made me grow. In“Romeo and Juliet,” I played a dancer representing death. So I watched a lot of horror movies to learn how to terrify people.

TJ: What similarities are there in dancing, acting and singing?
ONUKI: I thought that they were totally different, but recently I feel they are similar. They all express what I feel or what I want to communicate. I think that they have synergies that affect each other. Studying acting helps dancing, and dancing can also affect acting in a good way. Movement in dancing can be more meaningful, and make people share what is expressed. Heart is the most important thing for dancing, acting and singing. So I would like to continue dancing,
acting and singing in parallel.

TJ: As you know, Japan is bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Do you think Tokyo would be a good location?
ONUKI: It would be good to have the Olympic Games in Tokyo because the economic effects would be advantageous for Japan. When people get wealthier, they will spend more money on seeing performances (I hope).

TJ: Do you have any special feeling for the Olympics because your grandfather was a gymnast who competed in the previous Tokyo Olympics?
ONUKI: Not especially. But the Olympic Games are very moving, and I love to watch Japanese athletes succeed.

TJ: What goals do you have for the future?
ONUKI: In the distant future, I want to own a theater and put on a variety of performances. Also, I now teach children at my mother’s dance studio, and I hope I can support them to realize their dreams. But as a performer, I want to dance, act and sing globally. For the time being, I also want to perform in New York because I love New York. It really inspires me.

TJ: What advice would you give to someone starting out in their dancing career?
ONUKI: I think anybody can be anything in any field if they appreciate every encounter they have. It is important to think of human relationships and to not forget the preciousness of other people’s support.

TJ: Do you have any hobbies?
ONUKI: In my free time, I enjoy movies and I love to travel. I also love skin diving and wall climbing. I often climb walls when I find suitable ones. Additionally, I like bungee jumping. It helps me to understand those terrifying moments that may be helpful in acting. Furthermore, I want to try skydiving. tj

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Written By:

Miyuki Kawai


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