The Indianapolis dance community is very fortunate to have several area dance schools that provide strong, technically sound training for young dancers. Within these schools, there are highly accomplished, very successful faculty members that ensure the future of dance in Indianapolis. One such faculty member is Jane Hachiya-Weiner, currently the Artistic Director of Ballet Theatre of Carmel at Performer’s Edge in Carmel, Indiana.
Jane Hachiya-Weiner has been an integral part of the Indianapolis dance community since 1985 when she joined Indianapolis Ballet Theatre under the direction of George Verdak. She remained with the company under several leadership changes including Dace Didonis and Eldar Aliev (company renamed as Ballet Internationale). During this time, Hachiya-Weiner was one of the founding members in establishing the Clara R. Noyes Academy of Ballet Internationale. Both the professional company and the Academy ceased operations in 2005.
In 2001, Hachiya-Weiner began teaching at the Jordan College Academy of Dance at Butler University. This position eventually led to an adjunct teaching position with the University’s Department of Dance. She was later invited to join the faculty of Ballet Theatre of Carmel at Performer’s Edge, where she is now the Artistic Director. Hachiya-Weiner is also a member of the dance faculty at Anderson University, and she is an ABT® Affiliate Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and has successfully presented students for examinations.
As a native of Indianapolis, I was very fortunate to study and train under her tutelage for many years. She recently answered some questions about her dance background that will allow the Indianapolis dance community to learn more about her as an individual.
How did you get involved with dance at a young age?
My mom wanted me to learn Japanese Traditional Dancing, which I did. However, after I saw a performance of Les Sylphides by a Russian touring company, I begged her to find me a ballet teacher. She found a teacher named Lorna Lable, a young dancer and wife of the Dental Officer on the Naval Base. I still see her when I visit New York City, but neither of us are very young any more.
What made you realize that you wanted to pursue a professional career?
It was that performance, and I think I was 7 years old. From that point on, I had my heart set on a professional dance career. Fortunately for me, I was "discovered" by my future Artistic Director at the age of 13. He was a great advocate on my behalf to my parents who were hesitant about sending me into such an unpredictable career path.
When did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I was kind of thrown into teaching when I was in my mid-twenties at the Inoue Ballet Company. My Director gave me a class to teach because he thought it would help me analyze my own dancing, while also helping the younger dancers. I was the principal dancer of the company at the time, and I was very busy with my own rehearsals. To be honest, I resented it a bit at first. I think I realized one day that I really enjoyed teaching the 11 year olds I was assigned in Tokyo when their onstage success at the year end concert for the ballet school was so thrilling to me! They were my "first-borns." I got very attached to them, and I still stay in touch.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
It really is the joy of watching a young dancer trust you as their mentor and then go to bear beautiful fruit of their own as artists....like you did!! (The author of this article dances professionally and teaches all levels of dance.)
What brought you to Indianapolis?
I was in Boston when, Elaine Bauer (native of Carmel, Indiana) and principal dancer of Boston Ballet (at the time), told me that Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IBT) had just lost a dancer mid-season, and she wondered if I would I like to audition for the Artistic Director Mr. Verdak.
What do you like most about the Indianapolis dance community?
I have almost 30 years of memories and history in this city so I don't know where to begin. I suppose I love the fact that the dance community is truly determined to nurture the availability of high quality performing arts in Indianapolis...not just the dance community but the performing arts community in general. I am especially excited about the possibilities that Indianapolis City Ballet is spearheading!
What is your advice for young dancers aspiring to a professional career in dance?
Learn to find a mentor you trust. Listen and learn with humility. A teachable spirit conquers all! Do not give up on the dream just because of a few short years of slow slogging.
Thank you so much, Jane Hachiya-Weiner, for taking the time to answer some questions to help the Indianapolis dance community get to know you better. If you are interested in taking class with Hachiya-Weiner, please visit http://ballettheatreofcarmel.org/ located at Performer’s Edge in Carmel, Indiana.