Anthony Haumanava Mataheiari'i Aiu, originally from Hawaii, recently moved to New York City where he is currently dancing and choreographing. Like almost every artist in New York he moved there with hopes that the city could help him get the experience he needs to acheive his professional goals. I've always loved Anton's dancing and I'm thrilled to be able to share his talents and New York experiences with you.
DB: You are Hawaiian and have a strong tie to your culture. How does this influence your dancing?
Anthony: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of how my ties to my culture influence my dancing is that I feel like the dance needs to represent something with meaning, or has substance and also is very aesthetic, full of emotion, and energy. Other than that, my culture affects my work ethic, how I interact with other people, my expectations of other people, and the way I move.
Sporting some Polynesian body paint.
Dancing Branflake: You made it out to NYC! What are you doing out there?
Anthony: I did make it out to NYC huh, Lol! Right now I'm in the process of building my own dance company. It is a blend of modern dance with Polynesian (Tahitian and Hawaiian mostly) traditional dances. It's quite exciting. I've done both pretty extensively, but separate from each other, and have always wanted to do something with them combined. So here goes!!!
DB: How do you keep in shape? Do you supplement your dancing with anything? Many dancers have turned to yoga, pilates, or meditation.
Anthony: Keeping in shape is a fun topic. Classes tend to get pricey, so you gotta get creative. If I get to class once a week, that's great. Often, I pick my bed up and move it to the corner and do my own class at home, sometimes I go for a run, the world is my gym :-), teaching class keeps me moving, but that can be difficult, for in shape purposes, because you're constantly focused on the students. I love yoga and pilates and try to incorporate that into class and personal training, and if I could meditate myself into shape, just forget everything I just mentioned, haha!
And he can dance ballroom! Nice!
DB: In the professional world, being a male dancer is just as cut throat as being a female dancer. How do you handle the constant pressure, insecurities, and criticisms that come from others and from yourself?
Anthony: Criticism hasn't passed my way. Casting directors are so great at keeping positive, whether they're thinking that way about you or not. In fact my first audition in NYC was for a ballet dancer in The Phantom of the Opera. It was awesome. I was there til the end, which was all day, basically, and didn't make it, but I didn't feel bad at all. I know I did well, and the casting director was very professional and motivating. I walked to the train station so upbeat and excited. Kinda backwards huh, seeing I just had gotten rejected. I appreciated it though. It made it easier to go to the next audition.
On tour in China
DB: You've had some amazing experiences traveling. Tell us where dance has taken you.Anthony: Dance has taken me all over the world. And I plan on it to continue. Besides many places in the US, I've been to China, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Tahiti, Italy, Greece, France, Spain, Morocco, England, Japan, Samoa, and New Zealand.
DB: What are your plans for the future?
Anthony: I hope to have an internationally recognized dance troupe and company. It has always been an idea, since with friends from high school, to open a performing arts school/academy. Because we didn't have this option in our little island village, yet we were so into it. Basically dance and I will not part.
DB: All dancers one day desire to end up in NYC. How has living there changed or helped your dancing?
Anthony: NYC can be a great and exciting place, but can also be just awful. Sometimes I feel like it has slowed my progress a little. You would think that in such a crazy fast paced city things would move along quicker, but that is not always the case. There’s so much involved in just being here, then on top of that, the life of dancing, supporting yourself, there is a lot to take in, it’s a culture shock for some, there are lots of distractions. I have definitely learned a little more about how to function as a working dancer in the city. You definitely discover more of who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, how much drive you have. New York forces you to really narrow and specify what it is you really want. I wanted to do so many things, but to do it here would require so much too many different directions. It is the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” but it really helps to know what that dream is.
DB: Anything else you want to add?
Anthony: Every dancer should experience New York; whether or not it is included in your goals.
Cirque Terre, Italy
Thanks Anthony for your insights! I would love to dance in New York City one day. I love the fact that the city is full of writers, painters, musicians, dancers, and those who appreciate the arts in general.
Anyone here in New York? Any advice to aspiring artists wanting to move out there?
ps.. all photos are from his Facebook page.