Dance Photo Shoot Interview with Ballet Dancer Asami

I recently did a dance photo shoot with Asami Seki, who made her Rachel Neville Photography appointment because, as she says, “I love love love your work!!!”
Asami began taking ballet in a small studio near her home in Japan when she was only three years old.  After years of training, she danced abroad, attending the Walnut Hill School in Massachusetts. Asami won the YAGP while at Walnut Hill, then moved on to the Joffrey Ballet School here in New York City, with a full dance scholarship.  Asami then danced with the Nashville Ballet and she now teaches and choreographs in her home country of Japan.


After the shoot, I connected with Asami, who is now back in Japan, to ask her some questions about her experience at the dance photo shoot.  Here is what she had to say.
dance photographer Rachel Neville dance photo headshots Japanese dancer in America

Where are you headed next in your career?

Right now my goal is to find a dancing job outside of Japan.  Although it will be more challenging mentally and physically, I feel ready to explore more.

I always tell dancers that the consultation is so important in preparation for dance photoshoots and dance audition photoshoots.  Was there anything in particular during the consultation process that stood out to you as being helpful or that you’d like to share?

Yes, absolutely helpful.  When you asked me to describe what kind of dancer I was, that really got me thinking.  It was actually an eye opening moment because I realized I could not answer that question and that was a big problem!
dancer jumping jete in sunflower dress Rachel Neville Photography
I would not want to hire someone who doesn’t know who she is or what she is good at.  So after not being able to answer [during our] Skype consultation, I was more cautious of my mind and action to find out about myself.  To be honest I still haven’t been able to put it in one word like I was supposed to, but I’m getting there and because I know that in back of my mind, I feel more confident now and that will be helpful at auditions, I think.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you prepare for a photo shoot?

This takes me back to the [previous] question a little.  I was looking through your website for pictures and each picture showed a very strong personality of each person.  I was nervous about not being able to show mine.  I must say that the biggest challenge for me was to figure out what kind of person I was, so I know what I want to show on my pictures.

What is the biggest challenge for you during the photo shoot?

Getting the right angle was very hard.  It was a little different from what I would normally do, but being able to see the photo right away on screen and you navigating me was very helpful!
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What did you enjoy most during your Rachel Neville Photography dance photoshoot?

I really liked the fierce shoots!  I thought I was making fierce face, but looked like I am smiling at first.  I imagined I was in ballet Dracula to get a more serious look.  It worked and was very fun!   Also I really enjoyed posing with the fan for my dance headshot!

How would you describe the experience shooting with me?

It was a lot more relaxed than I imagined.  You were very easy to talk to, so when I wanted to try again after seeing the shot on the screen, it felt like you thought the same.  You would also push me until I got it, so it was very comforting to know that we were aiming for same thing and you understood what I wanted.  I totally trust your vision and I felt I was in good hands to have you as my photographer.
modern leotard classic ballet photo pointe

How do you feel about your audition process now that you have had this audition photo shoot experience?

I feel more confident because I know I will have good pictures to present.  Also preparing for the shoot mentally was exactly the process I needed in order for me to be ready for auditions, so I am glad I got to do it.

What would you tell others who are just about to have their audition photo shoots?  Any tips, tricks things to remember or note?

There is no need to worry about what to do at the shoot because it will come naturally.  Try to have fun and enjoy the moment even when it takes many times to get the right shot. Because sometimes it’s more interesting to see photos with emotions rather than just a pretty line.

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I suggest to bring many different colors of lipstick if you are doing makeup yourself because you should change the colors depending on the mood of the pictures.
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