Miki Akuta on The Little Mermaid
In the run up to opening our spring tour of The Little Mermaid, we spoke to Dancer Miki Akuta about preparations for the production and her role in creating Erina, the little mermaid’s sister.
‘Ever since I heard that David [Nixon OBE, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet] was creating The Little Mermaid I was so excited! The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favourite childhood stories and when I was little I dreamt of swimming just like a mermaid. Last Christmas, the dream came true on stage when I was involved in creating the role of the little mermaid’s sister, Erina.'
‘This is the first time I’ve been involved in creating one of David’s ballets since I joined the Company in 2014 and it was such an amazing experience. When David creates a scene, he always explains his intentions behind it and what the relationship is between each character. This helps us to understand the role and get creative.'
'Dancing in costume can hold certain constraints for a dancer, so it’s important that each dancer has the time to learn and practice for their new role.'
‘One of the special things I had to work on in The Little Mermaid was dancing with a tail! I worked hard on how to keep a nice shape without stepping on it, how to perform swimming movements with two guys lifting, and how not to flip over my tail. It was also challenging to keep my limbs and upper body moving to perform the smooth, wavy movements as if you’re swimming underwater throughout the ballet.
‘David held workshops with a few of us last summer to help us discover the movements for the mermaids and water women. It was nice to be spontaneous and see what our bodies could do, to make interesting shapes, and find how we can direct our character’s feelings towards the audience. I try to give each character I dance their own lives, to make sure that each gesture and step tells the story and draws the audience into their world.’
See Miki perform in The Little Mermaid in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes and Leicester this spring.