dance academy

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Raised in Tokyo, Japan, Mari started ballet at the age of 9 in her hometown at Kinuko Yamazaki Ballet Studio. She moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at the University of Utah Ballet Department and obtained a bachelor’s degree in ballet performance and teaching and a minor degree in nutrition. During the four years of the program, she had opportunities to train under the highly esteemed faculty, many of whom were former principal/soloist dancers at major ballet companies such as Ballet West, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, and a graduate of prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy. She also explored various styles of dance other than classical such as modern, contemporary, and jazz.

Mari attended summer intensive programs at Boston Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre. She has performed with Festival Ballet Providence and Ajkun Ballet Theatre in the US and Setagaya Classical Ballet Association and Dance Teatro 21 in Japan. 

As a teacher, she has worked at various dance studios and an arts college in Japan, where she also lectured on dance-related topics such as injury prevention, nutrition, and music for dancers. In 2015, she worked as a  choreographer for a bone marrow donation campaign & Great East Japan Earthquake reconstruction assistance musical theatre production.

Mari has also done dance education DVD subtitle translation for the Japanese dance market, such as Analyzing Turnout and Effective Stretching, originally published by a US dance educator, Deborah Vogel, and Mari conducted workshops with the releases.

She trained in several methods including Vaganova, RAD & Cecchetti syllabus and has teaching experience for 12+ years for all ages, from 2 to 80s, and for all levels from absolute beginners to pre-professional level dancers. She moved to New Zealand in 2017 and continues to enjoy teaching and sharing her passion for dance. Mari is a registered RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) teacher and mUvmethod (Progressive Dance Conditioning System) Level 1 certified teacher.