LITTLE BIG PORTRAIT of MIMOZA KIOKE
@ Alice Blangero
@ Alice Blangero
@ Alice Blangero
Mimoza Koike, A multi facetted dancer
Dancer with the Ballets de Monte-Carlo since 14 years, Mimoza Koike is also a choreographer, a painter and a photographer. Mimoza nurtures from every art and always chose singular and challenging projects.
With her thin silhouette, her harmonious gestures and her graceful gait, we instantly know what her job is. The interview took place in the “atelier” of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, which is where all the dancers rehearse. Light-bathed rehearsal rooms, black and white pictures of dancers hanging on the walls, models of past ballet stage sets, lined up suitcases ready for an upcoming tour & piano music in the background. The place is magical! What is striking us right away when talking to Mimoza Kioke is her sense of humor and her personality. «I get inspired everywhere! Sometimes I think about an attitude or an emotion, and I enter in the character right in the middle of the street! People looking at that time must think I am crazy! »
She was born in a family of artists, her mother is a painter and her dad an architect. They called her Mimoza because of their love for this flower that they discovered in Marseille when her dad was studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. « First they called their car Mimoza, then later chose the same name for their daughter! », Mimoza tells us laughing.
Too tall to be a dancer!
Mimoza started dancing at 6 years old, in Tokyo. « My teacher told me then that I would never become a professional dancer because I was too tall and I would never be able to find a partner my size! » But she did not give up. Her parents always supported her, and very young, she met a modern dance choreographer, who truly believed in her.
At the age of 13, she was already working with professionals but decided to leave her country to pursue her training. « In Japan there are only private dance schools and there are no official certifications». At 15 years old she was accepted in the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon. « I did not speak a word of French and I found myself in boarding school. After 2 months, I started to understand where sentences started and ended and after 6 months, I was almost fluent! ». What she really enjoyed there is that her singularity was accepted. « In Japan, I felt different. I was too tall and almost considered as a monster! In France, being different was not a problem! »
An open-minded dance company
In Lyon, Mimoza trained in classical and modern dance. After her graduation, she joined the ballet of this same dance academy. She is then hired by the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in 2001. That same year, she performed in the Monaco Dance Forum and Jean-Christophe Maillot noticed her. She joined the Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 2003 and she is enjoying it so much that she is still there 14 years later.
« It is a very open minded company, with more than 20 nationalities. I had the opportunity to perform very different roles from a naïve or romantic young girl to a more nasty character. Jean Christophe is a big cinema fan and likes that his dancers, as actors would do, identify with their characters, and embody their emotions and their personalities. This allows me to express a full range of feelings and to dance multiple roles. Named soloist in 2005, the dancer performed roles such as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the fairy in Cinderella, and also roles in ballets created by choreographers invited by the company such as Forsythe, Jiri Kylian or Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
From Dancing to choreography
Mimoza is also a choreographer and worked on multiple projects such as « Rossignol » in 2010 for the Monaco Dance Forum and « Ichi Ni San » as part of the «Imprévus of Ballets of Monte-Carlo» in 2012. She also created a performance in the Chagall museum in Nice about Chagall’s childhood, with the dancers & choreographers Gaétan Morlotti and Bruno Roque. « I love projects combining multiple arts» In 2010, she joined the Logoscope in Monaco and organized the Japan Dance project, a cycle of different dance shows given in Tokyo in 2015 and « Agrarian Revolution » a performance of danced theatre that will be filmed at the end of march 2017 and broadcasted in different museums. A crowd funding campaign on Kiss Kiss Bank Bank made this project possible. Mimoza is also a photographer. « I started during my travels to take picture of decors, of unusual places like lifts. » She also takes picture of the wonderful sea view she has from her windows in Roquebrune Cap Martin.
Inspiring and transmitting
« I never had any role models even if I am inspired by many dancers such as Bernice Coppieters or Gaëtan Morlotti », explains Mimoza who transmits her art by organizing dance workshops in the Tokyo Ballet School. « It is important not to keep everything I learned for me. I would like to show, in Japan, that being different, can be an advantage and I would like to stimulate the imagination of the students of the Japanese ballets. »
Mimoza is not forgetting her country even if she lived longer in Europe than in Japan. It is partly from her roots that she draws inspiration, like from the Nô theatre or Kabuki. « I really like Japan, its history, its art and its food! I would like to share my life between my country and the Côte d’Azur». What about pain? « Obviously it is difficult to dance when you are injured, but the most painful moments were as well when I learned the most». When I injured my legs, I worked a lot on my arms; I had to think about how to work in a different way. And most of all, I love dancing!
THE LOCAL TIPS OF MIMOZA KOIKE
Which place do you find the most inspiring in Monaco?
The salle Garnier. When I dance there, I can feel the energy from the Russian Ballets and the creativity of all famous artists who performed there. During the day, when the curtains are opened there is a magical view on the sea and the rocks .It is inspiring and reminds me when artists like Picasso or Cocteau have combined their art with dance. I want to work in the same spirit.
Your favourite restaurants ?
I really like the market in Monaco, with the Japanese restaurant Kudera and the Italian one Le Comptoir. I usually mix the two cuisines in a same meal.
A secret to stay in shape?
Eating organic food, sleep well and of course dancing!
One of your little daily pleasures ?
From my home, I am lucky to have a wonderful view on the sea. I also see birds that come and eat in the persimmon tree, and cat climbing on trees. In the evening, the reflection of the moon on the sea is incredible, I also like cooking.
A local artist you admire ?
Jean-Christophe Maillot, the director of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo and Agnès Roux, founder of the Logoscope.
Your secret addresses to share with our Little Big Monaco reader?
The restaurant la Différance.
For more information
@ Alice Blangero
@ Alice Blangero
▼ THIS IS YOUR POP WINDOW ▼