1. Tell us a little bit about you, where you grew up and how you came to LA and more
Well, I am a creative here in LA that enjoys using my time and energy towards doing things that make me smile. I also love making unique things that I see in my head, with my hands. I was born in San Francisco and grew up mainly in Tokyo, Japan (I moved from SF to Tokyo when I was 6 years old) After graduating from University , I wanted to Learn how to dance. I saw that there was much happening at that time in Los Angeles, so around 2007 I decided to move here on my own.
2. We first got to know you by your dancing. How did you get into it?
Growing up, I have always been in love with Hip Hop culture, especially Hip Hop and R&B music. My first CD I ever bought was the “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” that changed my life and is still one of my favorite albums to date. To be completely honest, I didn’t even understand her lyrics at that time but her music still spoke to my soul. My best friend Yukiko from my University was and still is an amazing dancer, she took me to my first dance club when I was 18, I saw people having fun and dancing freely and it blew my mind. I saw that people can move their bodies because the music made you feel like it. With Japan’s strict culture and rules, the looseness of and free flow of people dancing for fun made me feel like this is what I want to do forever.
3. I know you used to dance with some big names in music. Who were some acts that you used to tour with and can you tell us a funny story if you have any.
I have worked with many artists like Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Missy Elliot but my favorite artist I have ever worked with is Pharrell Williams, I like to call him “P san.” He found me on YouTube actually around 20I3. The story he told me, is that he followed my work on YouTube for a while and when he was starting up his world tour, he asked his Choreographer at the time to reach out to me and audition for him. The rest was history! I was on his “DEAR GIRL” world tour, did major festivals with him, music videos and was a part of his clothing line for Adidas. I had that pleasure of working for “P San” for about 4-5 years, It was and will always be a highlight of my life.
4. Your husband, Shaun Evaristo is also a professional dancer/ choreographer and I loved the story of how you two met. Can you tell our readers about your romance?
Well, actually when I was 22 and ready to move out to LA from Tokyo. Taking his classes was one of reasons that I wanted to come to LA and dance. I was watching him dance on YouTube since 2006. His movement felt special to me so I wanted to learn it for myself in person. We actually became friends in 2008 and maintained that friendship over the years but in 2015, my friend asked me to perform with him in what I heard as “Portland.” After some intense rehearsals and right before leaving, I realized that we’re actually going to perform in Poland not Portland!! It was a major shock and a long travel but I’m so glad I took that trip there because Shaun ended up being at that same dance camp where I was performing. We were able to reconnect and we would eventually get married.
5. The pandemic has been so tough especially for performers and I love how you pivoted yourself in another direction. What advice would you give to those who want to pivot their careers, interests, and passions into something new?
From my experience, as a dancer, I created this story in my head that I couldn’t do anything but dance as my career. It was a wall that I made up because I gave all my energy to “make it” as a dancer. The pandemic took so much of that away from me, I lost confidence, my ego was hurt and realized all my eggs were in one basket of creativity. I saw that I’ve been limiting myself, that there is so much more to me than just dancing, that dance was just an extension to my creativity and not limited to only that. There is much more depth I have to offer in other realms and new areas. During this time I’ve tried and failed at so many things, much it did not stick. I tried my hand in stained glass, macramé and even eyelashes. It was the jewelry though, the freedom I felt to let loose on the patterns, colors and textures I see in my head. I found it. I am still a work in progress, I still don’t have this new venture figured out but I know that it brings me joy. You never know if you keep limiting yourself and if you don’t try, so do it!
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