As a member of The Boxcuttuhz, Asami entered ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’ on MTV and has used the exposure to catapult her career. Growing up in Kanagawa, Japan, Asami Hoshi started out in a school marching band and has gone on to collect an enviably long list of accomplishments.
Flavour spoke to the talent about her many inspirations and aspirations…
Her career still in its infancy, the dancer has achieved the kind of success that many dancers could only imagine. She met her crew ‘Boxcuttuhz’ while based in Los Angeles, where she studied at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studios and the Millennium Dance Complex, and together they went on to appear on the show. Asami has taught in local dances schools, choreographed Japanese Idols ‘Morning Musume’ and performed alongside award‐winning comedienne Margaret Cho – is there anything Asami hasn’t done?!
What first got you involved in dancing?
I loved to dance when I was a kid but before this I was in a school marching band for 4 years. We had a lot of parades, and a regular end of year performance. From this I started dancing with ‘cheer girls’. We danced mainly Hip Hop and Jazz styles, then as I grew older I became more interested in Hip Hop music. I spent all my spare time watching music videos and Michael Jackson, Usher and Janet Jackson concerts just to learn the dance routines. I wanted to dance just like the dancers I saw!
Eventually, I started to practice Hip Hop moves on the street because there weren’t many dance studios where I lived. I used to practice my routines in the street and I was lucky because I was surrounded by a group of fellow dancers who were amazing so it became like a training ground, a school. I went to practice everyday just to learn skills from them all.
Then after some time, I started going to dance school and dance studios because I wanted to learn ballet, jazz and Hip Hop from qualified professionals. I still have a lot of affection and respect for street dancers though. You can see that all of their moves and raw energy come from within!
How would you describe your style as a visual art?
My style is essentially Hip Hop and I like to dance with emotion and ‘inside the music’ as my teachers would have said. Also because I grew up dancing and loved listening to Hip Hop, my style incorporates a lot of classic, old school moves… I have feminine moves but I also like the contrast of a female dancing in a cocky, masculine way. You can also definitely see the influence of Michael Jackson in my style.
Describe the feeling you get before going onto stage ( be as descriptive as possible)?
I get very excited – I get to do what I’m passionate about!! I also love it because I get to unleash and discover another side to myself with every experience be it on stage or in a music video. I admit that I can occasionally get nervous – you always do when the stakes are high – but most of the time I thrive on dancing in front of an audience.
You often dance in a group have you even thought of branching solo or would you say that is impossible in dance?
It’s much more common to be a dancer in a group than a solo dancer – there’s a lot of visual excitement and dynamism with dancers in a group and a camaraderie but I enjoy dancing solo too which you can get to do sometimes when you’re dancing for an artist on tour. It’s an electrifying feeling to be on stage dancing to an audience of thousands with all eyes in the audience just on you and with nowhere to hide! It’s awesome. My first experiences of dancing as a solo artist were in Japan where I took part in a lot of dance battles and showcases.
It’s not always seen to be as frontline but there are so many artists out there for whom dancers are an integral part of their performances. For example you can’t imagine stars like Michael Jackson or Madonna without their dancers. Their dancers became an important part of their visually exciting shows.
You have achieved a lot so far, how would you say you were able to grab the invisible and make it happen?
I think it all starts with being passionate about what you do. If you’re passionate about what you – and it can be anything – then you’ll put your all into what you doing and you’ll work hard without even necessarily feeling that you’re working hard. Also the people that count can sense that you’re passionate about what you do and all this will help to open doors. Of course there will always be challenging times in the beginning but passion, learning from and working with the best and belief in yourself will carry you through. Also sometimes success comes to those who just stay in the game and don’t give up! My advice is to find that thing that you excel at, make it your passion and work hard at it.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Michael Jackson. When I saw his video “Smooth Criminal” for the first time…I was so blown away that it left me speechless. The ‘My Love,’ video by Justin Timberlake, also inspired me a lot in my dance career. In fact, Marty Kudelka (Timberlake’s choreographer) and his dancers are one of the reasons why I left Japan for the US.
Who would you love to dance for?
I’ve been blessed enough to have achieved many of my ambitions and I’m so grateful for all the opportunities that I have been given but I would have loved to have danced with Michael Jackson as he is my absolute hero. I think that many dancers would say this though! I’d also like to work with Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Usher…. I love their music.
Have you dipped your hands in other arts such as acting, singing etc before?
Yes I have. I was singing almost every day for 10 years! I started singing in a chorus when I was 8 years old, and I had a lot of performances. Then when I was in my teens, I was in a band with friends and we used to perform in clubs. It was really great and valuable performing experience. I have also been playing the piano since I was three so my background has always been very musical.
I would have continued singing as I loved it but dance just took over. I discovered that I wanted to use my body as my instrument rather than my voice. I wanted to dance more than I wanted to sing.
What are your influences in terms of your dancing style?
My fellow dancers here in LA, I’m surrounded by amazing and talented dancers! Dance is a universal language, it’s constantly changing and evolving so it’s good to be out there in dance studios watching and learning from other dancers from all over the world.
What is your aim when you dance to a crowd what do you want them to feel?
I want to spread joy, to entertain, to move and to inspire.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I want to work on more tours and I want to have worked for ALL of my favourite artists. I’d also like to go back home to Japan to teach dance and share some of the amazing benefits (knowledge and experience) that I’ve gained from dancing here in the United States.
Where do you see yourself and your group by the end of 2011?
For me, continuing to work as hard as I can to be the best that I can be. For the Boxcutthaz – world domination! Winning awards and touring around the USA and beyond – we want to come to dance for you all in the UK!! I’ve met quite a few British dancers in LA and I can definitely say that you guys have got great skills! So yes UK here I come!
She will perform with her crew in the big ‘Body Rock 2011’ competition in San Diego and travel around the US during 2011.