JAMES YOICHI MOORE
Founding Artistic Director, Seattle Dance Collective
When I was 12 years old, I went on tour with San Francisco Ballet to perform at State Theatre in New York City. I was one of 6 kids performing the pas de six in the first act of Swan Lake. We had auditioned and rehearsed for months prior, and all of the activity had me beyond excited for the trip. Even so, I could not be prepared for what followed. Over the course of two weeks in NYC, I experienced what company life was like for professional dancers. It was a mix of hard work, intense focus, and something I had never known before: the payoff that comes post-performance. I’ll never forget the rush of adrenaline and the sense of pride and satisfaction that came after accomplishing something we had worked so hard to master. The feeling was exhilarating. During the performances, I felt a sense of camaraderie that I had never experienced before. I was hooked, and before my first teenage birthday I knew exactly which profession I was going to pursue.
Since that pivotal time, I have studied with the legendary Cuban dancer and teacher, Jorge Esquivel at San Francisco Ballet School, and with Peter Boal at the School of American Ballet. After dancing with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for four years, I was fortunate enough to join Pacific Northwest Ballet with Kent Stowell and Francia Russell for their final season. Peter Boal took the reigns of PNB the following year, and I’ve just now enjoyed my 15th season with the company.
Over the years, those post-performance payoffs have continued to be a driving motivational force. As any dancer can tell you, the feeling of euphoria after you’ve poured everything into a performance is intoxicating. While that sublime state eventually dissipates, the camaraderie I share with my peers lingers. Through the years, it’s become apparent to me that the sense of togetherness exists not only amongst the artists, but with everyone involved; friends and family, the administration, our audience, and our supporters. The successes I’ve enjoyed would not be half as meaningful and rewarding without the support of my wife, loving parents, family and friends.
Dance has a way of communicating our humanity. It’s a reflection of who we are as people. Through years of practice, dance has consistently challenged me through a life full of ups and downs, showing me the power of hard work and dedication and the joys that come with working closely with extremely talented artists. This profession continually provides a sense of fulfillment through accomplishment, and it has been one of my greatest teachers.