Kiki Miwa. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court

Two talented Japanese students at the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) were hard at work over the Christmas holidays choreographing special works for the Wellington Japan Festival.

Described by NZSD director Garry Trinder as “two of the most impressive and delightful young people imaginable”, 3rd Yr students Kiki Miwa and Airu Matsuda were looking forward to sharing their love of contemporary dance with the wider public.

Kiki was introduced to contemporary dance by her father Shigeo Miwa who was a dancer in Japan. She started dance classes at the age of five after her family moved to New Zealand.

 “(My father) showed me the magic of dance and the liberation it could bring someone and I’ve been in love with it ever since”, she says. “I always knew I would dance forever whether that be professionally or for myself in my room.”

New Zealand-born, but raised in Sydney, Airu returned to New Zealand to study at NZSD.

“I have had many friends and people I know from Australia who have been through the School and have told me how amazing the School and training is. I have loved dancing with my New Zealand whanau and making new friends for life here,” he says.

“I became interested in contemporary dance while I was in high school at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (in Sydney)….I’ve learnt so much during my time here (at NZSD) from all the tutors we have had. It has expanded my knowledge of contemporary dance and I’ve also learnt a lot about myself through this. “

The pair agree that the most important quality for a dancer is love of the craft. Kiki’s dream after graduation is to move back to Japan. “I feel as though I haven’t learnt as much as I’d like to about my Japanese heritage,” she explains. “The dream would be to dance and live in Japan.”

And for Airu, the dream would be “dancing for a contemporary dance company or creating my own short work”.

Airu Matsuda. Photo Credit: Stephen A’Court

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