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Spotlight on Yuki Clark: Our Newest Leading Artist!

YukiIf you've been to our performances the past few seasons you must have noticed our pint-sized powerhouse Yuki Clark. She's been working her way up the proverbial dance ladder and has now been promoted to leading artist. Since you'll be seeing more of Yuki on stage, I thought it would be fun to get to know her a little better. I sat down with her to chat about dance, returning from an injury, ice cream and what it means to her to be an Asian American performer in Milwaukee.

When did you know you wanted to be a dancer?
At 4 years old, when I first began training I really didn't care much for dancing. By the age of 12, when I began entering competitions, I was addicted to the beauty of Ballet's form at its purest.

Did you have a favorite dancer growing up?
Sylvie Guillem

What was it like leaving your home at such an early age to go to Russia to continue your training?
It was the most exciting thing I had ever experienced at that time in my life. Vaganova is so respected and the Theater and all of St. Petersburg are majestic and beautiful.

Why did you decide to come to Milwaukee Ballet?
In 2007 (the year that I came to audition), Milwaukee Ballet was in Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine several times, I was impressed with the work and the artistic vision of Michael Pink and I wanted very much to come to Milwaukee to dance with the Company.

How often to you get to visit Japan? How often do you get to see your family?
I return each year to visit my family in Japan. This past year my family came to Milwaukee and saw the Ballet performances.

What’s your dream role?
Odette and Odile in Swan LakeThe Sleeping Beauty

What’s your favorite ballet to watch?
Manon

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Strawberry Cheesecake

What do you miss most about Milwaukee when you leave for the summers?
I usually don't leave for the Summer, there is a lot of fun to have in Milwaukee and Wisconsin during the Summer months.

At Milwaukee Ballet we perform both classical and contemporary work. Do you like both?
I enjoy the stories and the classic technique of the Classical Ballet works, but I do enjoy the aesthetic and the individual attention that comes with inventive contemporary work.

You also perform as guest artist with Wild Space. What keeps you coming back there?
I want to broaden my experiences with dance and my work with Deb Loewen has always been interesting. We work out the performance pieces one on one, and a collaborative process that brings my best work to the performance. I don't always understand what the final product will look like but I have come to trust my directors as a result of these experiences.

Give me three words to describe Michael Pink.
Focused, direct, funny

A few seasons ago you were injured on the stage performing The Sleeping Beauty. What did you miss about dancing while you were recovering? And how did you feel your first show back?
I can't even begin to describe how emotionally taxing the idea of being motionless is. I hope that I will never be severely injured again.

Upon my return, I was unsure that I would be ready, but when I danced out on stage I felt like I was home again after being too far away for entirely too long.

We’ve a received few phone calls from Asian Americans here in Milwaukee that are inspired when they see you on the stage. Do you ever think about that? Do you ever hear similar things from fans?
Yes, I think of the emotion performers give to their audience. I am always excited when I hear that my performances inspire Asian Americans and I hope to continue to inspire the next generation of performers and fans.

Lately, I have been thinking about the tragic loss of lives in Japan from the Earthquake and the Tsunami. Last week, I attended a small benefit/ fundraising event in support of Japan disaster relief and was delighted to hear from several Ballet fans that they were inspired by my performances.

Leslie Rivers

Marketing Associate