Hi-Bit Magazine has been following KOHARU SUGAWARA for a while now, one of the greatest Japanese female dancers, choreographers out there and today I would like to share some of the stories and insights of the young prospective dancer.
Everything written here is based on her true words. Let’s find out what she is all about.
I was lucky enough to join KOHARU’s dance workshop held in En Dance Studio in Shibuya (Tokyo) and we sat down for a cup of coffee to hear her stories.
“I always wanted to be different from others”
As an ordinary 10 year old girl, she was simply happy to dance in front of her families and friends. Nothing special, a girl who was just happy to see everyone smile.
I have to admit that her style is so unique. Most dancers happen be categorised in genres or styles but it seems that KOHARU does not have a certain box to fit in. I would say KOHARU style, that is more like it.
Even she is still 22 year old, she has seen the world, through dancing, teaching, and meeting people. She definitely sees the world differently compared to an ordinary Japanese 22 year old girl.
“You’re personality is not so Japanese so try to look outside”
Her father told her from her early ages. This conversation is rarely heard in a typical Japanese father and daughter situation. But eventually, his words encouraged her to go overseas.
She was at the heart of entertainment, Los Angeles when she was a high school student. Los Angeles was her dream, but she arrived there without any plans and English skills what so ever, only with the love of dance.
“Of course it was really hard for me. Simply spending times with friends chatting at cafes was even hard for me, not knowing how to communicate in English and couldn’t express myself fully. As a result, people never understood me”
She recalls those days as one of the hardest times, and soon she started expressing herself by dancing with no other choice left. Fortunately she was confident with her dance so it took her not much time to get people’s attention. That was the beginning. No language needed when it comes to dance, it was universal.
One day, a good friend of hers, also a great dancer offered her to do a workshop for him in Canada and she accepted that. Since then, she travelled anywhere she needed to from North America to Europe, no matter how far it was. Once, she had over 30 workshops in Italy and she had to sleep over in a car while travelling.
- The words that changed her life 180 degrees -
It was Suleman Malik (QUICK CREW), also her partner who told this to her 2 years ago.
“Japan is a country with a lot of talents. As a Japanese dancer, KOHARU is one of the few people who can boost the Japanese dance scene so I would recommend spending more time here and explore more what you can do here. Otherwise your uniqueness will be lost”.
KOHARU is very internationally minded so it makes sense for her to live overseas but it also makes sense that she is doing her thing in Japan after hearing those words.
Despite that episode, her presence is consistently increasing online and overseas so who never knows what will happen in the future.
“I am really impressed with all the talented dancers in Japan and they practice really hard. But the most important thing I believe is how much soul you put in to it”.
It takes a soul to move people’s heart and you can improve your dance so much if you can put all your thing in it. That’s her ultimate belief.
A very important word from KOHARU, whether you have a dream or not.
“Just believe your instincts. Just try anything that strikes your interest even it may not be what you were expecting and try to learn as much as possible from that experience. And don’t be afraid of failing”.
“Be open to other dancers and share with others so we all can grow. I want to accomplish more things in the future with all of my dearest people”.
She always likes to be positive and thats a very treasurable mindset in Japan. It’s almost like sports, always having respect for your opponent.
KOHARU says dance is an art form. She finishes off by saying that she wants continue pursuing is dance and expand her way of expression, regardless of the method.
Fashion, music, dance, graphics, videos.
She wants to get people to understand the value of “dance”, even to those who are not so into dance. It was almost like infinite possibility was there waiting for her.
Special Thanks to KOHARU and her manager for making this whole interview happen. It surely will encourage a lot of people who is in the middle of pursuing their dreams.
INTERVIEWED by Daisuke Inoue (Jan. 24 2015)