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Arts Up Close With The Leading Ladies of Swan Lake by Ballet West UK

Up Close With The Leading Ladies of Swan Lake by Ballet West UK

Up Close With The Leading Ladies of Swan Lake by Ballet West UK
By Tania Jayatilaka
By Tania Jayatilaka
September 08, 2018
This year, Malaysian audiences experienced Swan Lake by Ballet West for the first time at Genting International Showroom, a full-length ballet production featuring a professional UK cast led by Genée medalist Natasha Watson (as Odette), Solo Seal Award medallist Uyu Hiromoto (the Black Swan) and Genée medallist Jonathan Barton (Prince Siegfried). We caught up with lead dancers Natasha and Uyu in the days leading up to the dance company's long-anticipated Malaysian debut.

1/6 What do you like about your roles in this production of Swan Lake?

Jonathan Barton and Natasha Watson
Ballet West Principal Dancer Natasha Watson rehearses with fellow lead dancer Jonathan Barton (Photo: Ryan James Davies)

Natasha: Odette is a vulnerable character, full of emotional depth and sadness — it's a role that is special for me as it was my first ever principal role. Preparing for our tour in Malaysia has been very exciting as I’ve been able to revisit Odette and work on developing a deeper understanding and emotional connection with the character.

Uyu: I love dancing the role of the Black Swan in Swan Lake because I get to play a different character than my usual self. She’s evil and playing it was really fun! All the same, it’s a challenging role. But being the character really takes away the hard work.

See also: Why Dancer Suhaili Micheline and Aidil Azman are #RelationshipGoals

2/6 As a child, did you imagine entering a full-time career in ballet?

Uyu Hiromoto and Natasha Watson prepare to do their own show announcements (Photo: Ballet West Scotland/Facebook)
Uyu Hiromoto and Natasha Watson prepare to do their own show announcements (Photo: Ballet West Scotland/Facebook)

Natasha: I’ve been passionate about classical ballet from a young age. I recall watching Swan Lake on television as a child: I was captivated first by the music and second by the story, and the combination of those elements made for some very special viewing.

Uyu: No! I actually wanted to be a nurse when I was younger. I had always loved dancing, but I never thought I would end up pursuing it professionally.

3/6 What do you think makes Swan Lake so loved by audiences around the world even today?

The 'Black Swan' Uyu Hiromoto has been dancing with Ballet West since 2015 (Photo: Ryan James Davies)
The 'Black Swan' Uyu Hiromoto has been dancing with Ballet West since 2015 (Photo: Ryan James Davies)

Natasha: The ballet deals with enduring themes such as love and betrayal, and in that regard, I hope that the audience will relate to Odette and her journey. Watching it as a child, the beauty of the piece was overwhelming and had a great impact on me.

Uyu: I just think that dance and arts can make people happy. Whether you are watching it or doing it, it can bring people joy and that is why I think it's so important.

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4/6 What’s the most significant moment of your careers so far?

Natasha Watson
Natasha Watson was the first UK candidate to be chosen for the 2015 Prix de Lausanne competition. (Photo: Ryan James Davies)

Natasha: I’ve enjoyed many career highlights but the most significant has been to perform as a Principal Dancer with Ballet West. To achieve this title after many years of hard work and commitment has been my greatest achievement and something that continues to drive me as an artist.

Uyu: For me, signing a contract with a professional company was my most recent significant moment, I felt like all my hard work had paid off. But it’s only the beginning of my career and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

5/6 Uyu, tell us a bit about your visit to Malaysia prior to this Swan Lake production.

Uyu Hiromoto
BBC Young Dancer Uyu trained at Kudo Ballet Japan (Photo: Ballet West Scotland/Facebook)

I had an amazing experience the last time I was in Malaysia for the Ballet West Asia Tour 2016. I worked with aspiring dancers in Penang who were so passionate, and it was inspiring for me to see! I also loved the food!

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6/6 Natasha, any words of advice to budding dancers today?

"A career in classical ballet can be both challenging and rewarding." -- Principal dancer Natasha Watson (Photo: Ballet West Scotland/Facebook)
"A career in classical ballet can be both challenging and rewarding." -- Principal dancer Natasha Watson (Photo: Ballet West Scotland/Facebook)

I admire dancers who are passionate, committed to their craft, and humble. A career in classical ballet can be both challenging and rewarding, so I encourage all aspiring ballerinas to remain focused on their greatest aspirations and gather as much information as possible about their chosen career.

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Tags

Arts Ballet West UK Uyu Hiromoto Natasha Watson Arts Swan Lake Pyotr Tchaikovsky

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