BWW Interviews: Charles-Louis Yoshiyama Talks Houston Ballet's THE NUTCRACKER
As many in the Houston area are preparing their Thanksgiving feasts, the folks at Houston Ballet are putting the final touches on their annual production of THE NUTCRACKER. In anticipation of the holiday favorite's opening night, I recently spoke to Charles-Louis Yoshiyama, who was recently promoted to Soloist, about this year's production.
BWW: How did you first get involved in dance?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: When I was five, I was playing soccer and all different kinds of sports, but my mom took me to the ballet studio. Going to the studio, I hated it. I did not want to be involved at all. I made it into one of the Christmas shows, nothing like THE NUTCRACKER. Then I saw one guy, and he was probably seven years older than I was. I told my mom I wanted to be like him. That's when I started dancing.
BWW: When did you know you wanted to be a professional dancer?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: I had a few injuries on my feet. I had two surgeries when I was like thirteen and fourteen. When I was twelve, I went to Walnut Hill, an arts school in Boston. I was there for summer school, and that's when I decided I wanted to become a professional dancer somewhere in the States or in Europe. I started training my mind at that summer school at Walnut Hill.
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: It was great. I wasn't expecting it to be this soon. I feel like I've done a lot with the Houston Ballet, and I feel great. I've always wanted to be a soloist. Now, I can train harder and attempt to become a Principal for the next few years. It gives me more for my motivation. I'm not one to back down.
BWW: So far, what has been your favorite role to dance?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: The character role of Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet. I'd like to do that again. I was myself and I was able to enjoy every moment of the role as Mercutio.
BWW: What are a few dream roles that you would like to dance?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: I'd like to dance SWAN LAKE, DON QUIXOTE, and LA CORSAIRE. All of those main parts, I could do. That would be a dream come true. I've always wanted to dance in those roles, even when I was young. I danced those solos for competitions, showcases, and stuff, but I'd like to dance the whole show. It would be a great opportunity if I could do that. It would be great for my dance career if I got to do those roles.
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: We do this every single year, and we always revisit roles that we've done before, which is great. There's a thing I couldn't do last year for The Prince, but this year I've been improving, and I'm able to accomplish the thing I couldn't do last year performing and technique wise. I always make it a goal to improve myself and get better every year.
BWW: What are you most looking forward to about this season's production of THE NUTCRACKER?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: I get to do the Prince again this year with Allison Miller. She was just promoted to Soloist with me a few weeks ago. I've danced with her before, and it will be a great show. I like partnering with her and working with her. Those things are very exciting for me. There's nothing new that I do this year, so I feel like the only thing I'm looking forward to is the performance.
BWW: What advice would you offer to others hoping to become professional ballet dancers?
Charles-Louis Yoshiyama: Dance every day. Never stop learning from your teacher. It's about working hard. Work on your technique and try to improve yourself every single class.
THE NUTCRACKER, produced by Houston Ballet, plays The Wortham Center's Brown Theater, 500 Texas Avenue, Houston, 77002 from November 29 to December 29, 2013. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.houstonballet.org or call (800) 828-2787.