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Inside the dancing life in Los Angeles

January 15, 2012 |  9:00 am

Chisa Yamaguchi

Being a concert dancer takes equal parts talent, skill, and perseverance, particularly in Los Angeles. But ballet and modern dancers say the artistic opportunities are worth it, despite the city’s primary focus on the movie and television business. 

It takes grit to succeed, however. Chisa Yamaguchi, a member of Diavolo Dance Theater, recalled that when she started going out on auditions after getting her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, she was unprepared for just how competitive the process was. She had to learn to steel herself not just for rejections, but for the cut-throat environment.

 “At first, it was really difficult to be happy for the people who were getting the jobs I wanted,” she said. “The audition where they [Diavolo] hired me, was the one audition that I helped people who asked me for help. You need to look at people not as competition but as assets. We need to stick together otherwise we are going to all fail.”

Read the stories of Yamaguchi and other Los Angeles dancers

-- Laura Bleiberg

Photo: Chisa Yamaguchi in "Origin," by Diavolo Dance Theater. Credit: Thomas Vu