Arika Yamada: choreographer, dancer
Arika Yamada was a 7 year old girl in Motor-City when she began dancing. She liked to jazz and tap but unfortunately had no rhythm. Her first correct tandu happened at The Joffrey Ballet School at the age of 13. She realized that ballet wasn't so bad, and continued to pursue further ballet training through many wonderful teachers worldwide. In her teens she worked for Bloc Agency in LA and appeared in an international Coca-Cola commercial. At 15, Arika met her life and dance mentour Elena Tchernichova at The Nutmeg Conservatory in Connecticut who brought her to St. Petersburg, Russia. While in St. Petersburg she was accepted to The Vaganova Ballet Academy. Arika decided to return to the US to attend The Juilliard School in 2005, where she enjoyed dancing the works of Twyla Tharp, Aszure Barton, Nicolo Fonte, Matthew Neenan and Lar Lubovitch. As a part of The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, she has performed with Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for their 40th Anniversary at NY City Center, City Center's Fall for Dance with Twyla Tharp's "Deuce Coupe," and at Twyla Tharp's Gala at The Joyce Theater. Soon after receiving her BFA in May 2009 she began working with Gallim Dance. For the last 2 years she has performed with the company in Spain, Holland, Russia, Canada, and many cities along the East Coast. Arika appeared on subways and billboards of New York City on the cover of City Center's Fall for Dance posters in 2010. That year she was also commissioned to choreograph 'Lotus Lives,' an Opera composed by Su Lian Tan for Middlebury College which will premier in September 2011. Currently in rehearsal creating a production of 'Pinnochio' with Company XIV, she will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland this August.