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Meet Momoko Yasunaga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Momoko Yasunaga.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I am a dancer from Japan. I moved to LA when I was 18, and I have been here for four years now. Dancing was just a hobby for me and never thought about pursuing my career in dance industry or even calling myself a “dancer”. Not so many people know but I moved to LA to study cinematography, and my dream was shooting music videos, movies, promotion videos with a bunch of dancers. I liked to watch people dance more than I do it. However, I started taking my dance career serious about two years ago after I taught the first dance class in my life with my best friend. I had so much fun sharing my art with others and watching them give my steps life. It made me realize that purpose of my life is sharing my gift through dancing with people. Since then I started working so hard to be a better dancer. For example, take as many classes as possible every day, go to showcases to learn how people create, and choreographing by myself…However, with all hard work, being a dancer was really tough. I was told “No” “You’re not ready.” “You are not enough” so many times (I still do). I don’t know how much I got depressed by that, but I never thought about stop dancing. I just trusted my path and kept going. Through a lot of hardships, my journey as a dancer started shifting in a good way. I got to perform two big dance showcases in LA called Choreographers carnival / Club jete for several times, got to assist classes in major studios, flew Dallas as a convention assistant, won the world of dance challenge 2018 sponsored by NBC…etc.

Moving to LA with knowing little English by myself was not easy. Keep chasing my dream in any situations is even harder but I am living my dream in LA. Now I am trying to expand my dance styles more and get artist VISA to be able to work as a professional dancer.

Please tell us about your art.
I dance and choreograph. “Be myself” “be deferent” are the biggest messages that I always think of when I work. I am a strong hip-hop dancer, and my style is very boyish both in dance and fashion. I used to care about people who say something like “oh she only knows how to dance like a boy” “she goes too hard.” but not anymore. Now I am confident to be myself and to show what I love the most. I hit beats that nobody would hit, I put some floor work to songs that nobody thinks it would fit, I choreograph hip-hop piece to slow R&B…etc. Be deferent is sometimes risky but better than being somebody that is not you to be liked by others. There are ALWAYS people who love you in the way you are and proud of what you do. I am so lucky to have them around me, and they make me wants to keep going. I hope I can open doors for those who are struggling with being deferent or scared of being themselves by keep dancing and telling my story.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
It is little different than being lonely, but I think sometimes we need to separate ourself from others including families, friends to focus on our goals. We have to do what is best to make our own dream come true. For example, if you want to be good at certain dance style, you have to put effort in it, and it doesn’t matter if your friends are doing the same or not. If you know your goal, you can’t be influenced by what others do or think. However, you still can be surrounded by supportive people who understand who you are and what you want to do. I have few dancer friends who have totally different dance styles as me. My best friend is one of them. She is doing her, and I am doing me, but we respect, support each other and are rising together. There are not always great positive relationship with others because dance industry is pretty competitive but I am sure that having supportive attitude attracts same warm souls. We can start from saying hi to the person who stands next to you in dance classes or some events. Someone said “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” this is what I believe in any situations in our life.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I do perform at many showcases out here in LA. Choreographers Carnival, Club jete, Club Posers, etc. I love live performances because I can feel the excitement of audience with all my body and it is such a blessing to get down with crew who practiced, bounced ideas off, cried and laughed with. Also, I constantly post videos of myself dancing, photos of my life or information of events I will be performing on my Instagram. It is not only about dancing contents, but it is about who I am. If you are interested in my life, my fashion or even what I eat, Please follow my journey on Instagram!

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Image Credit:

Judeus Samson, Olamide Oladimeji, Ninja, Nick Serian

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