Reverence: Precision and Power

Maki Onuki lights up the stage at Washington Ballet.
Published in the April/May 2014 issue.

Fresh and confident: Onuki as Giselle. Photo by Paul Wegner.

Which ballet character do you feel is most like you?
Liberty Bell, from Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes. It’s closest to my personality—bright, full of power and lots of energy.

What is your hidden talent?
Skiing! My parents took me when I was 3 and since then I’ve been going on a family trip every year, so I’ve gotten really good at it.

Do you like high heels or sneakers?
High heels. I love wedge sneakers, too, but not normal sneakers.

If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
A figure skater. I have the qualities they need, like a high jump and flexibility, so I think I would be good at it.

What was your worst onstage nightmare?
My debut as Kitri in Don Quixote. On my first entrance, I threw my fan on the floor! I was shocked for a second, but I just kept going like nothing was wrong, and my friend picked it up and gave it to me pretty quickly. A lot happened in my head, but everything was fine.

What is your favorite costume?
A Le Corsaire tutu made by my teacher back home in Japan, who’s very good at creating costumes. I am actually into sewing and making costumes—I make my own tiaras—but a tutu is quite hard, so there are a lot of things I need to learn.

What is your go-to dance snack?
A protein bar and Coca-Cola.

What’s the toughest part of being a dancer?
Dealing with the drama and stress that dance puts on the body—and sewing pointe shoes.

What would you take with you on a desert island?
An iPad for Netflix, sushi and an unlimited amount of Coca-Cola. And a yacht in case I get bored of the island. P