Kawashima in rehearsal. Photo courtesy Tulsa Ballet

25 to Watch 2018: Maine Kawashima

In a crowded company class at Tulsa Ballet, Maine Kawashima stands out, and not just because of her tiny size. (She's 4'11".) The 22-year-old corps de ballet member is fiercely focused, repeating combinations over and over again with tireless determination. Once class is over, she keeps going, whipping out fouettés.

"She is a technical wizard," says artistic director Marcello Angelini. "But she's also a sensitive and versatile dancer."


Kawashima, who was born in Japan but trained in the U.S., is only a third-year corps member, but she's already a favorite among visiting choreographers. During the company's recent Creations in Studio K program, Kawashima had first-cast featured roles in all three premieres.

Onstage, her almost brutish work ethic allows for utter freedom, whether as a soulful, searching loner in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Shibuya Blues; the lone woman among a posse of tough suits in Young Soon Hue's If; or an assertive demi-soloist in Helen Pickett's abstract Meòul. Her steely technique allows her to fearlessly plunge into movement without sacrificing grace or intention—a choreographer's dream, indeed.


Find out who else made Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" list this year.

Latest Posts


Bradford Chin. Photo by Pat Berrett, Courtesy Chin

Watching the Dance World Return, Without Me

Sitting on a quiet South Carolina beach this month, I felt something I hadn't felt in many months: the desire to move. I tried single-leg balances, some basic floorwork, headstands…formerly easy things that I now couldn't quite do. Stunned and emotionally spiraling, I sat in the sand and let it all wash over me; it wasn't until this moment that I finally reflected on what I had lost to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
July 2021