Kevin “TOKYO” Inouye is everywhere. A typical week might take this in-demand contemporary teacher and choreographer from Australia to Las Vegas to West Palm Beach, FL, and then to Atlantic City. When he’s not leapfrogging around the globe, TOKYO calls Hollywood home. He teaches at Millennium Dance Complex and his combinations feature contemporary dance hallmarks: solid technique, elongated lines and sinuous transitions. But he also includes surprising details, like carefully choreographed hand movements and undulating torso work—the visible traces of his unconventional career path.
From age 5 until age 17, TOKYO studied martial arts, first at his dad’s training school in Honolulu, HI, then in Mesa, AZ, where his family moved when he was 12. He excelled in a multitude of disciplines, from karate to judo (he holds five different black belts). This is the root of his distinctive dance style. “The hands are used a lot in martial arts,” he says. “The energy comes from the spine and reaches out to the fingertips.”
While he was studying more traditional forms, TOKYO grew interested in mixed martial arts (MMA), also known as cage fighting, and was headed toward a professional MMA career. Then, during his senior year of high school, he needed a PE credit—and the school dance teacher convinced him to fulfill it with her class. He agreed and began dating a classmate whose sister owned a dance studio. They invited him to take a jazz class, then to join their competition company. Three weeks later, TOKYO was performing at his first competition—and he was hooked on dance.
After a couple years of training, TOKYO landed a job dancing in a children’s musical. He spent a year touring with the show—during which time he realized he didn’t love performing—and then moved to Orange County, CA. With his heart set on teaching, he went studio to studio, talking to instructors about their work. His curiosity and commitment landed him a job teaching for Kids Artistic Revue, which led to a job as co-director of Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, where he worked for three years.
At the same time, TOKYO was developing as a choreographer. In 2006, he was invited to create a piece for the Juilliard Centennial Senior Showcase. During a tech rehearsal, TOKYO was sitting near Lawrence Rhodes, director of the school’s dance program. “This guy was performing a solo I choreographed and Lawrence turned to me and said, ‘That arabesque doesn’t make sense,’ ” TOKYO says. The critique stung, but TOKYO learned from it. “He was saying I showed off the arabesque only as a technique,” TOKYO says. “His point was that I should have done movement that released the arabesque. It changed my whole outlook.”
Today, TOKYO’s career is taking off. In addition to his hectic teaching schedule, he has choreographed for Gina Starbuck’s Art4Life American Cancer Society benefit.
Birthday: September 1, 1982
Favorite dance movie: Dirty Dancing
Choreographer role models: Ohad Naharin and Bob Fosse
Favorite TV show: “The Ultimate Fighter”
Favorite book: “I like reading history books: dance history, any kind of history. I like to learn about anything and everything.”
Favorite food: Vietnamese food and sushi
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
The 2018 Oscar noms are here. Which is fun and all; we'll never not get excited about a night of glitz and glamor and, when we're lucky, pretty great dancing. But we'd be a heck of a lot more excited if the Academy Awards included a Best Choreography category. And really—why don't they?
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
If you're in need of a piece that's both trendy and sophisticated, look no further than this Só Dança crop top. Featuring elegant long sleeves, a high neckline, and a delicate lace trim, it's both classic and contemporary—perfect for everything from that big audition to a long night in the studio. Enter below for your chance to win it!
Auditioning for summer intensives in person may be the ideal—but for Anna McDowell, a 16-year-old student at Juneau Dance Theatre in Juneau, AK, it's rarely possible. “Living in Alaska, it's difficult to travel to auditions," she says. “It gets way too expensive!" Instead, each year, with help from her teachers and a videographer, she puts together a well-crafted video and submits it to schools around the country. Last year, her high-quality video helped her earn acceptance to nearly every program she applied for. Most summer intensive programs, eager to attract students from far and wide, will accept video auditions from those who can't travel to take class. But major schools look at hundreds of submissions each year, which means video auditioners have just a few minutes—or even seconds—to make a great impression. If you're about to create an audition video, follow these tips from the professionals to put your best digital foot forward.