Introducing Central’s 2024 MA Choreography Cohort

25 January 2024

This January, two new students were welcomed onto Central School of Ballet’s MA Choreography course, Kai Tomioka and Katya Bourvis. The 18-month course, led by Susan Kempster, develops the Master’s students practice and portfolio, interrogating their choreography with classical and contemporary Ballet. The unique course is designed for professional choreographers seeking to refine their choreographic voice and develop professional skills. Previous graduates of Central’s MA, which was established in 2011, include Christopher Marney who is the new Artistic Director of London City Ballet, after re-founding the company nearly 30 years after it announced its hiatus. Continue reading to find out more about Kai, and to learn about his choreographic vision and style.

Kai’s Choreography

Kai’s choreography is a product of all his life experiences up until now. Classical and Contemporary techniques are the basis of his work, incorporating experiences of floor work, and improvisation. As well as working from an anatomical approach, he also really values working from and within sensations of the body. This connection to feelings, metaphors, and imagery allows every dancer who experiences his practice to have their own interpretation of the work. It also gives an empowerment and ownership of one’s own feelings, emotions and sensations, as you can never be wrong in how you feel. He enjoys delivering and generating his own dance vocabulary and movement, combining this with tasks to create material, using improvisation also as a tool to aid in this process. Drawing from his identity as a Japanese British dance artist he works on exploring and merging Japanese traditional forms and practices with his own movement language. He aims to enter every new creation with an open mind, and to be present with whoever it is he is working with.

Kai graduated with a first class degree from Central School of Ballet in 2015, where he was also in the BBC Young Dancer’s inaugural year in the Contemporary dance category final. He went on to tour with the postgraduate company VERVE at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, performing works by Anton Lachky, Renaud Wiser, Efrosini Protopapa and Athina Vahla. Following this, Kai worked with a variety of companies in the UK such as 2Faced Dance company, Richard Chappell Dance and Southpaw Dance before moving to Japan in 2018. He joined Noism Dance Company based in Niigata for three seasons, performing works by Jo Kanamori and Mori Yuki, as well as his own choreographic works. After his time in Noism he worked with Fabula Collective in Tokyo, performing work by Travis Clausen Knight as part of the programme ‘HUMAN’. In 2021 He returned to the UK, and joined the BalletBoyz, under the direction of Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, touring ‘DELUXE’ by choreographers Maxine Doyle and Xie Xin, and the recent ‘England On Fire’ performing works by Russell Maliphant, Holly Blakey, Vidya Patel, Shelley Maxwell, Thick &Tight amongst others. He was a part of the Commonwealth Games opening Ceremony before joining Scottish Dance Theatre in August 2022 where he has performed works by choreographers such as Emanuel Gat, Sofia Nappi, Roser López Espinosa, Joan Clevillé and Colette Sadler. Kai continues to develop his own practice and is passionate about working on building relations between the UK and Japanese dance sectors.

Images by Jack Thomson