Name: Hodaka Maruyama
Hometown: Matsusaka, Mie, Japan
Home Ballet Studio: Takada Yukiko Ballet School
Repertoire Favorite: “Don Quixote”
The PBT School Intensive Summer Program (ISP) is definitely an indicator of dedication – sometimes starting with the journey to Pittsburgh alone. This year, the more than 200 students of ISP have converged on Pittsburgh from 29 states and four countries.
At age 15, Hodaka Maruyama – one of 19 Japanese ISP students – traveled more than 15 hours to Pittsburgh from his hometown of Mie, Matsusaka, Japan. For Maruyama, the journey boils down to the drive to refine and rehearse ballet “every single day.”
Now a second-year ISP student, it was a major international ballet competition that paved Maruyama’s way to Pittsburgh. As a competitor in the annual Japan Grand Prix ballet competition, Maruyama had the chance to meet PBT School Director Dennis Marshall, who sits on the judging panel, and learn more about PBT School and the annual ISP.
The program’s immersive five-week training period, state-of-the-art studios and diversified dance exposure – from classical ballet to modern and character dancing – convinced Maruyama to take his training to Pittsburgh. Plus, he hopes the exposure will continue to benefit his English skills.
Ballet first piqued his interest ten years ago when he saw his younger sister engaging in her own ballet training as a child. He emphasizes that it was something he chose to pursue himself – not something his parents persuaded him to try.
Although it’s common for children to take ballet classes in Japan, he said that professional companies are less numerous than in the United States. So, like his training, Maruyama is prepared to take an international track to achieve his goal to become a professional dancer. He also plans to incorporate college and possibly teach dance later in his career.
In Japan, Maruyama balances full-time high school with evening ballet class. Here in Pittsburgh, he’ll take ballet all day – practically every day – in technique, partnering, modern, character and repertoire with a variety of health and wellness seminars on the side. One of his primary focuses this summer is to refine the quality of his tendu, a building block to more complex combinations and his goal to hone clean and precise technique.
After 10 years as a ballet student, the art form has not lost its “fun” factor for Maruyama, who said that – and the ability to get out of it what he puts in – drives his continued passion for ballet.
Before leaving Pittsburgh, Maruyama and the other students of ISP will have the opportunity to showcase their talents in two studio showcases at the end of July featuring repertoire works and student-choreographed pieces. For more information about PBT School’s annual ISP, click here.
Special thanks to PBT School student Marina Yabuki for contributing her translation skill
Photo by: Aimee DiAndrea