When choreographer Akiko Kitamura was a teenager, her jazz teacher Etsuko Kawasaki showed her just how enjoyable dance could be.
“As a child I studied ballet, but it was very strict and limited. Then I started learning jazz and street dance from Etsuko. She was different than most jazz dancers. She taught a mix of street dance styles, including Michael Jackson’s. I liked the freedom in the dancing and the really groovy music. She showed me that dancing could be fun.”