Kanami is a dancer, choreographer and street performer born and raised in Japan She started her dance training at age 6 at a local studio in Japan, and graduated
with a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase College in 2020.
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Times have been tough for performers all over the city during this lingering pandemic. I managed to stay healthy, positive, and strong through it all. You could catch me, almost daily, performing at Washington Square park around NYC or at an Arc'teryx store.
I absolutely love performing in outdoor spaces even though nature is not always kind to me. I appreciate both the pleasures and challenges that the outdoors throw at me. I appreciate the sun, the rain, the wind and snow equally. The elements and the experiences I have around each one of them greatly affect my dancing and they help revitalize my soul in unexplainable ways.
The combination of the community and the nature in the park have the power to turn any day into a
beautiful day. Sometimes there are people who yell heartless words at me during my acts, but all that
hatred is immediately dwarfed by the amount of positivity coming from these environments. I don’t necessarily assume those mean people are evil; they are probably just having a bad day or struggling internally. In fact, those incidents, somehow, amplify the amount of love and compassion I feel from the ones who are nice to me.
When I was a child, my parents would take me camping from time to time. I loved playing by myself
and being one with nature. I enjoyed observing the sky, picking colorful flowers, digging the soil and
scooping up the water from the river. All those memories remain in my mind and have been absorbed by my body. These memories shaped who I am today, and they inspire my movements when I dance.
Sometimes, when I'm performing in parks, I zone out and almost forget that I'm dancing in public spaces and being watched by random civilians. My body flows with the music for hours and I love it when beautiful people send me positive energy through their body motions or words. While I am dancing, I’m aware of everything even while I’m zone out; I’m aware of the sounds, the humidity, the temperature of the air and the flow of the people. It's a very interesting experience that I can't quite describe with the right words.
I love what I’ve been doing. It is not always easy being an Asian woman performing by herself in the street of New York. I must be tough and stand up for myself in some situations to protect my safety. I do believe, however, that putting myself in these uncomfortable situations makes me grow and makes me stronger as a person.
I think being a woman has made me much more aware of gender inequality in the world, in general. In
most cases, women are physically less strong than men, so women have more of an understanding
about the fear of being oppressed. Because of that understanding, in my opinion,
women are more empathetic and compassionate to others. Sometimes that might be seen as
vulnerability or weakness, though it is crucial for all human beings to be able to understand these emotions and use them as a strength or skill so we could all live peacefully and find common ground.
When I dance at Washington Square Park, I untie my hair and put up this cardboard sign that reads “@LetHairDown and I’ll Dance For You.” I dance for myself and for the people who tell me that my performances have the power to enlighten their life. People need to slow down from time to time. They need to relax, breathe, and feel positivity. Through my dance, I would love to meet more people, share more love and to contribute to World Peace by producing positive energy.