I remember watching Swan Lake and everybody looking exactly the same, but being able to relate because they were the only company I had ever seen even on video that had Asian dancers. The Asian community in Hawaii is actually almost as dominant as the Caucasian community. I thought "I can relate to that company because they look like people that I see every day." They weren't all little stick-thin Russian ballerinas.
It's a very obsessive profession that you need to stay obsessed to get anywhere, and it's very easy for us to get obsessed and then nothing else matters. I was reading Somerset Maugham's novella, Moon and Sixpense, about this artist based on Gauguin's life. It was so beautifully written. You must be first rate because second rate you might not survive. If you're an accountant, you'll survive second rate. If you chance it big, you may not get anywhere.
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I've received e-mails telling me about the protests ... friends who have gone back to work for American firms ... they are very, very worried and a little scared, ... I am a little scared. Every time tension like that builds up, I feel like I am not trusted by the Americans. I'm not trusted by the Chinese. I'm not trusted by anybody.
I went to Indiana University for college for a couple of years where I double majored in dance and journalism, and after my sophomore year there, I went to the San Francisco Ballet school for the summer, but then they offered me a scholarship to stay for the year. That's where I danced after the year they offered me a contract with the company.
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In order to dance professionally, you have to start at a young age. No matter what, your muscle structure and your bones have to be groomed from a very young age. Nobody wakes up at 17 and decides to become a ballet dancer. I'm saying that and someone's going to be born tomorrow who decides to do that and I'm going to have my foot in my mouth.