Lynne Charles

Lynne Charles

Ballet dancer and organizer of Dancing 4 AIDS Orphans


Originally published on on August 2007

698 QA Charles

World-renowned ballet dancer Lynne Charles helped organize Dancing 4 AIDS Orphans, a three-day charity event that takes place this month in Yokohama.

What was the inspiration for D4AO?
I have danced in seven different charity events, and I realized it hasn’t been done in Japan. I lost many dance partners to AIDS. It’s not something that only affects people in Africa—AIDS affects everybody.

Why did you decide to perform Les Sylphides, and not an AIDS-related program?
Everything is related to AIDS. Theater is about bringing people together and experiencing the moment. People will come together, learn about the issue, and think about AIDS orphans in Africa, regardless of the program.

Why did you choose Les Sylphides?
We expect diverse audiences: ballet lovers, VIPs, art lovers, and those who are just curious, so I wanted a well-known and classical ballet rather than a contemporary dance piece.

How did you originally come up with the idea?
I knew a lot of dancers who wanted to perform, but in Japan they have to pay. I thought “Why don’t they dance for free?” The idea of a charity event came later. In Japan, you have to book a theater one year in advance, so last summer I reserved a space in Yokohama. Then in the fall, I got technical crews together and auditioned young ballet dancers. I received support from my ballet dancer network. And I’m working with choreographers who I worked well with in the past.

How has the process been?
It has been difficult because this is the first time. Everyone is learning a lot from it. I hope to continue this project, and in the future I want to have other charity events to benefit other causes besides AIDS orphans.

What do you think of Japanese ballet culture?
Ballet in Japan is 80 years old—you can’t compare it to Russian or Italian ballet, which has 300 years of history.

What do you think about Japanese ballet dancers?
I think it must be difficult for them because ballet is about showing yourself, which is contradictory to Japanese culture, where people are closed. If you dance ballet, you have to be open. I think kabuki is very dramatic, but since it’s mostly vocal, the performers can be expressive. Ballet is non-verbal and is performed through bodily motion.

What would you like to tell to our readers?
We have lots of different events over the three days from August 20-22. Come out and enjoy it, and show appreciation to the artists!

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