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Interview: KEI TSURUHARATANI at Theater Mu

Kei is teaching two workshops at Theater Mu

Interview: KEI TSURUHARATANI at Theater Mu

"Dancer Kei Tsuruharatani (Broadway's Jagged Little Pill) will be holding two movement workshops this May at Theater Mu. The first is focused on body awareness and interpretation, with applications to all performing arts and general mindfulness, while the second is based more on ballet technique taught from a decolonized approach. Both are shaped by Kei's collaborative, non-pedagogical teaching style that truly invites participants to open themselves up and learn from each other's creativity and strengths.

Whether participants attend one or both workshops, they will come away with a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can be more connected with their bodies and their movements. Anyone 16 or older is welcome to attend, but the space will be centered on BIPOC and TGNC (transgender/non-conforming) experiences."

We chat with Kei (she/they) about their theatre experience and the movement workshops.

How does it feel to have live theatre back?

It's a mixture of joy, excitement, and doubt about how oppressive the industry can be. I think the pandemic has given us the time to reassess the meanings of live theater for the audience and creators. It's important for all of us in the industry to reflect now on what kind of change is necessary to be sustainable.

What inspired you to pursue a career in performing?

The initial inspiration was my love for dancing, and I just wanted to do that as much as possible while I'm alive. Now the inspiration is to create a culture (the way people see the world) that is less cruel and careless.

What was the first musical you saw?

I think it was either the Japanese production of Phantom or Cats.

What is a favorite role you've played or production you been a part of?

I really loved being a monk in Miss Saigon. I just walked on stage by myself with a bowl. I ended up ordaining in Burma after finishing up the Broadway run.

What is your favorite musical?

Ironically, I am not a musical person, but Next to Normal... maybe?

What is your favorite musical song?

Breathe from In The Heights

What another role you want to play or production you want to be in?

I have no idea where I would fit in as an immigrant Asian trans femme within pre-existing shows to be honest.

What do you enjoy about teaching?

Seeing participants light bulbs go on and sharing the understanding of the art.

When someone takes your dance class, what do you hope their take away is?

We all can be a little more kind and generous towards ourselves.

Could you talk about and share the AAPI theatre experience?

This is a huge topic, but it is not easy. It is difficult to find opportunities in what's laid out already in mainstream culture. That could feel detrimental, however, on the flipside it means that there are new and exciting possibilities that have been done in mainstream culture.

Thank you so much Kei for your time!

Visit Kei's website here

Fore more information about the movement workshops, click here

Photo courtesy of Kei Tsuruharatani

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