The second part of our two-part interview with Queensland contemporary dance teacher Kei Ishii, founder of The Kollective Idea and workshops The Kontemporary Idea, which reveals his early passion for dance and an ongoing commitment to helping aspiring dancers reach their full potential.
Kei Ishii Contemporary Dancer & Teacher
Q&A Interview | Profile Snapshot
Early passion for dance
Q. How and where did your passion for dance begin?
A. It started when I was 7 years old. I originally wanted to start Irish dancing, but my mother didn’t know the difference between Irish dance and tap dance, so she sent me to The Ritz which does Tap dance and the rest is history.
Creativity in the genes
Q. Do you come from a creative family?
A. I come from a very musical family, everyone has played an instrument at some point, but I am the only one who went into dance.
That pivotal moment
Q. When and how did you become interested in contemporary dance?
A. After high school, I found my interest in Contemporary dance. I had already done a year of full-time dance at The Space in Melbourne and was wondering what to do with my career when one of my instructors suggested I go to Ev & Bow to pursue Contemporary dance.
Q. Which choreographers inspire you?
A. So many different Choreographers to choose from! Pina Bausch, Gary Stewart and Anton to name a few, but there are so many I have seen and worked with that my list would go on forever.
Your studies and qualifications
Q. Where did you study and what are your dance qualifications?
A. Well, I started learning dance at The Ritz then I completed full-time training at The Space in Melbourne and Ev & Bow in Sydney and gained a Cert IV in dance performance.
After you graduated
Q. Any performance related highlights or working adventures in Australia?
A. One of my first contracts was Legs On The Wall in their piece ‘Puncture’. I have also done some independent work in Sydney Fringe Festival. I entered a choreography competition Fast + Fresh with a short work ‘Memories’ which was awarded ‘Most Outstanding Choreography’ and ‘Most Outstanding Group’ which was quite amazing for me as it was the first work I’d created.
Formation of The Kollective Idea
Q. What is the story behind your formation of The Kollective Idea?
A. Coming back to Brisbane, I realised that the contemporary community is growing quite significantly, and Contemporary dance is become more popular amongst dance studios. I wanted to contribute to this growth and help young aspiring dancers to experience what Contemporary dance has to offer. Contemporary dance is something which needs to be experienced by teachers, it’s all about what you experience.
Q. What upcoming events do you have planned for The Kollective Idea?
A. There’s our 3-day workshops The Kontemporary Idea in January and plans are underway to hold a few more workshops throughout 2019. I have plans to create our first show/development this year.
Goals for The Kollective Idea
Q. What are future goals for your workshops The Kontemporary Idea?
A. I want to create a company for young dancers, so they can experience what it’s like to be in the Contemporary dance industry, what to expect, be part of the creation of different works.
Q. Is there something encouraging you can say to aspiring dancers?
A. Never take anything for granted, especially your teachers. They offer a wealth of knowledge and are helping you to achieve your fullest potential.
Many thanks for your time, Kei, and best wishes for your dance career.
CLICK to read the first part of our two-part interview.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
The Kollective Idea
Check the website for upcoming workshops