Home > Interviews, Profiles of dancers > Featuring: Michi Kasuga

Featuring: Michi Kasuga

The most influential clips are those that show you what a style is ultimately capable of. This is particularly surprising when you dismissed a style and never bothered to imagine how cool it could be. I felt the same reaction when I first saw Madd Chadd and Poppin John clips. Who knew the robot could look so cool? Even more so, who knew the puppet could look so cool?

I was looking at youtube clips for puppet style dancing. I saw clips from some poppers, but I wasn’t too enamored with the style. It seemed uninteresting, not really worth pursuing. Just when I began to dismiss the style completely, I saw this clip.

This changed everything.

This dancer used his entire body to create the effect of a puppet. His ability to let his body sag down to the floor, his legs in a split position. His ability to pull himself up using on his flexible ankles and the strength of his knees, making it look like strings were pulling him up. His bobbing head and flailing arms. Legs without bones.

I rewatched that clip dozens of times, and found another one from him. This one looked even cooler. Again, he uses his entire body, letting it fall on the floor, only to pick himself up in the blink of an eye (I need to learn that move, too). However, also check out his impeccable timing of his ticking, popping, and slow mo movements that correspond perfectly to the music.

I found out the dancer’s name, and looked at his other videos. This guy is no one trick pony, but someone ridiculously skilled in a wide range of styles. He is an exceptionally hard popper, locker, tutter, and liquid dancer. As if that isn’t enough creativity, he’s a damned good guitar player. See him play complex pieces by the great acoustic composers Tommy Emanuel and Andy McKee.

After checking through his site, I contacted him for an email interview. Some of his answers surprised me.

Michi’s friends in Canada inspired  him to dance and specialize in popping related styles (he moved from Japan around ten years ago). But as time went on, he began practicing more and more on his own. Based on my personal experiences, I asked him whether this self-reliance allowed him to become more creative. While he emphasized the need to have others give you feedback until your foundations are solid, he conceded that “it just won’t work for me to practice with others. But as I am becoming aware of my style, I know exactly what direction I’m going.”

Despite having to work hard on his foundations to become that good, Michi gave me no indication that he has any ambitions to impress others. “[B]attles are to me just sharing styles. I am not competitive. I sincerely enjoy sharing my dance […] The fact is that I lose most of the time.” It appears that his parents aren’t even aware that he dances. I have the sneaking suspicion that Michi isn’t aware how good he is, either.

Michi has no ambition to become a professional dancer (he works as an engineer), and when I contacted him, he wrote that he would move back to Japan by the end of the week. He hasn’t uploaded any clips for a year, but he wrote that he’ll put up more when he has the chance. I feel grateful for knowing his work, and hope to hear more from him soon.

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  1. June 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm
  2. July 31, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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