Image: Shiori Kase in the role of Medora in Le Corsaire © Photography by ASH

With an exciting and busy season now behind us, hear from Principal and Backes & Strauss Ambassador Shiori Kase to find out what it was like performing in her hometown of Tokyo during our Japan tour last month.

What were you most excited about when you heard you would be performing in your hometown Tokyo?

I don’t get to perform in my home country very often so when I heard that we would be touring to Japan, I was beyond happy that all my family and friends could come and watch me dance. Japanese audiences are really knowledgeable and passionate about ballet, so I knew that their expectations would be high – I was looking forward to performing to the best of my ability in front of them!

English National Ballet's dress rehearsal of Le Corsaire
Shiori Kase in the role of Medora in Le Corsaire © Photography by ASH

What was it like performing the role of Gulnare in Tokyo?

Gulnare is a very special role for me. Last year Tamara surprised me by promoting me to Principal after I performed the role for our final show at the Palais Garner in Paris. It was a night I will never forget.

Due to injury, that was the last time I danced on stage until I performed the same role in Tokyo earlier this month. I had been determined to get fit again by the tour to Japan, so I was really pleased I made it. My friends, family, colleagues and everyone at Backes & Strauss gave me the moral support I needed to get me back on stage and our medical team worked so hard on my rehabilitation – I can’t thank everyone enough. I absolutely loved dancing in front of my home country surrounded by everyone who had supported me.

As well as performing you went to some events – what was your highlight?

It was wonderful to be invited to the British Ambassador’s Residence for an event hosted by Backes & Strauss. Laurretta Summerscales, Jinhao Zhang and I have been brand ambassadors for two years. It was a fun evening and a great opportunity to celebrate our tour to Japan. It was also great to catch up with Vartkess who has been so supportive of me over the past couple of years. The residence and garden itself were beautiful and the violinist Midori Komachi performed some beautiful pieces, including one from Coppélia!

What are your 3 top tips for anyone visiting Tokyo?

Mori Art Museum – After looking around an exhibition, get lunch or dinner in their restaurant overlooking the whole city.

Shibuya Crossing – Even though I have crossed these streets so many times – I still can’t believe that over 2,000 people cross each time!

Ueno Park – I love exploring this park as there are museums, galleries and even a zoo there. The best time to visit is in spring as the central pathway is lined with over 1000 cherry trees.

Look out for Shiori performing in our upcoming season.