Akari Fujiwara, one of our 2016-2017 RBC Apprentices, has just finished her debut season with CBJ, which included her first tour across Canada! We sat down with Akari to learn about her impressions of Canada.

How was your first season? If you could describe it in 3 words what would you use?
Fun, challenging, and new

What was your favourite stop on the tour?
Saint John, New Brunswick – the city is really cute! I was in Belgium before I came to Canada, so the sea and the city reminds me of Europe and it felt so nice. I was only there for 2 years but I miss Europe a lot! Visiting all these different places is so inspiring, and dealing with all the different people helps me build my experience, which I incorporate into my performances.

What was your biggest challenge in this tour?
I was still in school last year, and the schedule was academic classes in the morning and ballet work in the afternoon, so I only did ballet for 4 to 5 hours each day. Now I have to think about ballet for almost every day for a full month. It’s a little bit challenging to keep going every day, but I pushed myself to do my best in each performance.

How did you stay in shape while on the road?
It was so hard! Personally, because I use my knees so much my knees hurt when they stay bent for too long. So I have to keep stretching my legs straight up and slept with my feet up when I was in the car. We have more mobility than people who don’t dance, so we just keep stretching. I know it’s kind of dangerous but everybody had their feet up in the car!

What do you think about when you’re on stage?
I’m making up my own story on stage. I try to be in character, and think about how the character feels on stage. When I dance with a partner I try to make eye contact and make up a conversation with him or her in my head.

What is your happiest memory from this season?
Having parties with the other company members at the end of the tour and on birthdays! We are all bonding with each other, I love them so much!

What do you hope for next season?
This year we had Swan Lake and The Nutcracker so it’s all classic ballet. Next season I would like to try a little bit of contemporary or neoclassic because those are new to me. Physically it was a little bit challenging for me this year, so next season I want to be able to concentrate every day every minute to be a better dancer and do the best show that I can. I want to learn a lot from the other dancers and bring all that I can to be the best.

Read Akari’s full biography here

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