Profiles

Boston Ballet's Misa Kuranaga on Her Favorite Role and How She Stays Motivated in the Studio

Rosalie O'Connor; Courtesy Boston Ballet

What comes naturally to you?
My emotion onstage. I don't have the ideal ballerina body, so I have to move to prove myself. My strength is that I can work hard and I don't think it's hard; I enjoy it.

You went to the School of American Ballet after your apprenticeship at San Francisco Ballet. Did that experience change you?
Hugely. I had coordination and could do some tricks, but no basic technique. I came to the United States from Japan and hit the wall. What do you do? You have to fix it. SAB gave me confidence to be a dancer because I was able to fix myself.


Is there a skill you've acquired that you're particularly proud of?
I had no turnout when I came to the U.S.; that's partly why I wasn't rehired by San Francisco Ballet. American companies care about that so much, everyone has an amazing way of using their feet. I really admired that. SAB gave me turnout and footwork—I'm still working on it every day.

How do you prepare for the rehearsal day?
I take class as a training session, not just to warm up. I'm always close to the mirror, side view, checking my turnout and line to improve myself. If I see something, I fix it right away. If it doesn't come overnight, I fix it on a month plan or a year plan. That way I have a goal that motivates me every day. It's fun.

Do you have a favorite role?
My favorites are dramatic roles. I don't particularly like Kitri in Don Quixote because the story is shallow—you're just a happy girl. In Swan Lake you are half bird and half woman, depressed, and then this evil, deceptive creature. Tatiana, in Onegin, is such a shy girl, then she grows into a sophisticated married woman who has to reject her real passion. Those things are so deep, so interesting.

Are there performances or dancers you return to for inspiration?
Gelsey Kirkland's Nutcracker or Theme and Variations. Natalia Makarova. Misha Baryshnikov is still my favorite male dancer.

What is it like working with your coach, Larissa Ponomarenko?
It's really fulfilling. She's about my height, and because of that, she wasn't always the first one to be chosen. Larissa mastered how to make herself look big and long, and she teaches me all that. It's a treasure.

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
News
Frances Chung as the title role in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella. Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Six-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz has lit such Broadway musical hits as Frozen, Hello Dolly! and A Chorus Line. She is also one of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's biggest collaborators, designing the lighting for works such as Broadway's An American in Paris, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella, a 2012 co-production of San Francisco Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. Shortly after SFB opened their 2020 season with Cinderella last month, Pointe caught up with Katz to talk about her career, her collaborative relationship with Wheeldon, and the lighting profiles of co-productions.

Keep reading...
Viral Videos

Happy Valentine's Day! Below, Josephine Lee plays a version of the Newlywed Game with Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancers and couple Michael Montgomery and Shuaib Elhassan.

Keep reading...
Profiles
Irina Kolesnikova with Kimin Kim in Swan Lake. Courtesy Konstantin Tachkin.

This weekend, Irina Kolesnikova will appear on a U.S. stage for the first time, dancing alongside Bolshoi Ballet star Denis Rodkin. The Russian ballerina is a member of St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, a touring company helmed by Konstantin Tachkin that will appear at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 15-16. Before joining SPBT in 1998, Kolesnikova, a native of St. Petersburg, graduated from the city's esteemed Vaganova Ballet Academy. Koleniskova spent just two years in the company's lower ranks before being promoted to principal.

Keep reading...