Nanako Imai began studying ballet at the Tani Momoko Ballet Academy in Tokyo. In 2013 she dance in the Tani Momoko Ballet Company and since 2014 she experienced different ballet institutions in Europe.
For 2 years, she danced in Germany, at the Benedict Manniegel Ballet – Munich, then for a year in Poland at the Wroclawska Opera, for 2 years at the State Opera in Zagora, Bulgaria.
Since 2019, she is a ballerina at the Romanian National Opera in Timișoara, an institution in which she also dances solo roles.
– Nanako, how did you discover ballet?
Nanako Imai: I saw a beautiful ballerina with costume and tiara when I was 4 years old. She was like a real princess. From that moment on, I wished to become a ballerina. I said to my mother that I want to do ballet so I began the intensive study of this wonderful art – ballet.
– What is the reason why you decided to build a career in Romania?
Nanako Imai: I was working in Poland and Bulgaria before. I wanted to see and try another company and country, to have more experience for the future. I like to dance classical ballet as I was trained for this style.
In Romania, you have more classical repertoire, almost all the popular ballet classical titles, so I was interested to try.
– Why did you choose Timişoara National Opera House?
Nanako Imai: I found a public audition in Timișoara so I applied for it. Timișoara also, is such a beautiful city, with great architecture and a vibrant cultural life.
I came to the audition and I saw the Director, Choreographer and the Teachers. They all were really nice persons and I felt that I want to work here with them.
I was luckily to get a contract and now I’m dancing here, in a great beautiful institution with very nice colleagues.
Ballet keeps making me grow as a dancer and as a person.
– What does ballet mean to you?
Nanako Imai: Well ballet has 2 meanings for me.
Ballet means one of the way to unleash my heart without any language. I can open all my mind on the stage which is hard to do it in general. I love to feel the energy and passion from my heart and just unleash it!
The second meaning is that sometimes I get disappointed to my ballet and myself. But each time I can think about what I want to do now. And that I can be stronger than before. Then, I can grow up as a person too. So Ballet keeps making me grow as a dancer and as a person.
– What role did you enjoyed the most on Timișoara National Opera stage?
Nanako Imai: One of the most enjoyed role was Nikia from Bayadere when I debuted principal role, first time in Opera Timisoara. I didn’t have many rehearsals but I enjoyed to be a Nikia for my first time and I danced with Ovidiu Iancu Matei, a great partner and support. The performance was a real pleasure for me.