Dance Mogul: What inspired you to start dancing?
Maiko: I started choreographing for my friends who liked to dance before I learned how to dance myself. Once I got good at that I started making shows for competitions which made me want to also dance in them.
Dance Mogul: How did you develop a work ethic to train?
Maiko: My work ethic comes from seeing the happy faces when my work was performed, it inspires me and motivates me!!!
Dance Mogul: When was your big break?
Maiko: When I auditioned for a major artist in Japan in 2004. I booked this tour out of 500 dancers. I never thought I would be a backup dancer, but I enjoyed being a part of a big project and dancing in front of 60,000 people for one show.
Dance Mogul: What have been some of your memorable moments on stage?
Maiko: When the audience calls my name when I’m performing my solos. Also one time, my shoes flew in the air and I had to dance on my toes, pretending to have on high heels. It was so embarrassing, lol.
Dance Mogul: Based on your experience now what would you tell your younger self?
Maiko: “Take ballet class!!” I first started learning contemporary dance then took Hip Hop. I always took classes of the genre that I liked and not ballet. Now that I am older, I love the ballet moves and techniques and need them to further my creativity. It is really important to learn different kinds of genres to be the best performer you can be and to find what is unique about you.
Dance Mogul: How was it performing on this year’s BET Awards?
Maiko: I performed at the BET Awards two years ago as a dancer and now this year I was able to have the opportunity to be Creative Director and Choreographer. It was such an honor to participate in this year’s Awards which a lot of artists were watching. For a Hip-Hop dancer, this Award Show is something special.
Dance Mogul: How did you transition to be a Choreographer then to a Creative Director?
Maiko: One of the artists I was dancing for asked me to choreograph a new song that has been added to the tour. She loved it and since then, she asked me to choreographer her music video, tour and so on.
Dance Mogul: As Creative director what are your responsibilities?
Maiko: This job is so important. It can kill the artist’s career if you don’t do it right. It’s the same as branding an artist to me. I need to think about what do the fans want and also what will surprise the audiences. If the dancers look good and the artist doesn’t look good, to me it’s a failure. So overall my responsibility to make everyone look good.
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for the younger generation of dancers?
Maiko: Always have a goal of how you want to be! Do everything that you want to do and not just the things you’re told to do.
Dance Mogul: How do you survive in a male-driven field?
Maiko: I think as long as you have a strong passion for entertainment and for perfection, gender doesn’t matter. Respecting others and working hard amongst your peers is the most important way to survive in this field.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Maiko: I want to thank my parents for supporting me. They never told me to stop dancing and they always made my environment great to further my dancing career.