On Thursday evening, our own Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews will jump into the spotlight at their new home company, Houston Ballet, when they lead the season's opening performance of Paquita. Word around the block is that they'll be dancing Giselle when HB visits Detroit in November, but we don't yet know which date.
The Houston Chronicle published a charming interview with them that included some non-dance photos by Marie D. De Jesus. Jared recounted how Yuriko repeatedly rejected his efforts to woo her when they first met. His persistence paid off, and they've been together for a decade and are engaged to be married.
Yuriko shared her story of how she arrived in the U.S.:
I'm Japanese, but when I was 10, I moved to China by myself to go to the National Ballet School in Shanghai. I didn't go because I wanted to dance. I went because my parents told me to. They said, 'Why don't you go for two months, get a cultural experience and come back?' They didn't send me to be a ballerina, but I ended up staying for six years. After that, I won the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland; and from there I went to the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. It's very close to New York, so I went with other dancers to audition for ABT.
We thought that we would bold-up that sentence "I went because my parents told me to" because it has such a cheery ring to it and is so contrary to what is popular in this country.
About 12 hours after Yuriko and Jared leave the audience standing and cheering from their Paquita, on the other side of the planet, our own Stella Abrera will make her full length debut in Giselle with Ballet Philippines in Manila. The country has gone a little nuts over the return of the Manila-born ballerina who not only is performing, but also teaching classes, and checking up on the construction of the new school which her charity is helping to support.
Ballet Philippines is celebrating its 45th Anniversary during 2014-2015 with the Blue Moon Series. A blue moon isn't actually blue. It's a term used when there is a third full moon in a season or a second full moon in a calender month.
Here is Stella's cover on StarWeek Magazine:
Little did the editors know how bull's eye accurate they were in writing about Stella's Giselle as Once in a Blue Moon – an event so rare as to be deemed impossible. We've got our fingers crossed for some photos or video from members of the H.H. Team 6 Ballet Activities Division (BAD) who are on the inside so-to-speak lurking in the shadows, but we'll just have to wait and see how Operation Stella goes.