Indy Like a Local: Yoshiko Kamikusa

Who is Yoshiko?

Yoshiko Kamikusa is an award-winning founding company member of Indianapolis Ballet, now in its first full season in Indy.

Q. What initially got you interested in ballet?

My parents took me to my first ballet class when I was 7 years old. I actually didn’t know anything about ballet prior to, and for a while, I only kept going to the lessons because my parents took me there. Strangely, I also didn’t oppose any of it, and I guess I had fun even though I didn’t really know what I was doing. Eventually it grew on me, and by the time I was 10 or so, I was firm in my desire to become a professional ballerina. With that said, I don’t think there was any specific person, thing, or event that triggered my interest in ballet. It just naturally became a part of me and from that point on, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. 

Q. What are some of your favorite roles you’ve had, and why?

My favorite classical roles that I have done are Kitri from Don Quixote and Odile from Swan Lake. I love Kitri because she is such a strong, passionate, and lovable character that I feel I can relate to. Her fiery Spanish flair is one of my favorite characteristic features to embody. Odile on the other hand is also strong, but she is a dark, evil, and manipulative figure. I am always finding different ways to portray the scenes in which she deceives the Prince with her seductive charms, so I enjoy the excitement this role brings me each time. 

Q. You’re one of Indianapolis Ballet’s founding members. What was it like to be a part of a brand-new company?

Very exciting. It is an honor knowing that everything I take part in this company will be defined as its “firsts.” That’s not something everyone can experience. I am truly looking forward to sharing my talents and passion with everyone else at IB, to make it a world-class ballet company that Indiana can proudly call its own. 

Q. What are you most looking forward to about the 2018–2019 season?

I am looking forward to the full-length ballet of Swan Lake in April next year. 

Q. At this point, do you know what roles you’ll be taking on this season?

I will probably revisit the role of Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. Lastly, I believe I will do the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. These roles are iconic but very different from one another, and I cannot wait to bring them to life on stage with my personal touches.

Q. What’s the best part of being on stage during a show?

Being able to fully live in the moment and experience the special world of the piece I’m dancing in. I become the character in my own way, and it’s unique because only I can experience this specific character’s story – everyone else’s interpretation of the same role will be different. It just feels so liberating to perform on stage. Also, when I have those shows where the audience is completely drawn to my performance, I can feel it. These audiences give me an enormous amount of energy, and I love it when they live through my story on stage with me.

Q. What are your goals personally and for Indianapolis Ballet as a whole?

My personal goal is to make each day count, both in the studio and life in general. I want to go to bed every night knowing that I gave it my all that day and made even the smallest amount of progress toward my growth as an artist, performer, and human being. It is my continuous goal to bring joy and inspiration to others through my dancing, which will require many hours of hard work dedicated to improving myself in every aspect of this beautiful art form. In regards to a goal for Indianapolis Ballet as a whole, I would like to see this company flourish not only in Indianapolis, but internationally as well. I am quite certain it will, since we have an incredible artistic director and staff who are committed to presenting wonderful repertoire and high-quality dancing. Combining this aspect with the extraordinary dancers currently forming the company, I believe we can move audiences far and wide across the world. 

Q. What are some places or attractions you’ve visited that you’ve really enjoyed?

I do have a sweet tooth so it was on my list to find a good dessert place in Indianapolis. I am sure there are more hidden gems, but I have been to The Gallery Pastry Shop (pictured below) and it had everything I could want. The store itself was designed beautifully and the desserts on display were works of art. It tasted as delicious as it looked – I can’t wait to go again and try more things on the menu.

Gallery Pastry Shop

Q. What are some other events around the city that you like to attend? 

I was fortunate enough to visit the [Christkindlmarkt] when I did The Nutcracker with the IB school in 2017. I always gravitate more toward the food vendors, so of course I tried many of my favorite German dishes, such as the waffles, caramelized almonds, and bratwurst sausage plates. They were all very good!

Q. Fill in the blank: Any visitor to Indy must____. 

Watch an Indianapolis Ballet performance! 


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