• Megumi Eda

The artistic journey started from an unexpected encounter.

Karole Armitage was the director of a Florence dance company: Maggiodanza back then. I was 17 years old in my 2nd year of my professional ballerina days with the Hamburg Ballet company.

I had two good friends / colleagues Vanessa and Nicholas who were an Italian and Belgian married couple and that summer during the vacation I decided to spend a couple of weeks with them. They had worked with Karole before at their previous company, the Ballet Monte Carlo, so they wanted to visit her in Firenze and they were so nice about me coming along with them. They said that they could stay at Karole's house but were not sure about me, I said “that's totally understandable!” But it ended up that I stayed at her beautiful apartment on top of a hill where you could see a panoramic view of Firenze, and it had once been a monastery with classic geometric pattern ceilings. She had an extra futon so I slept on the floor. I was shy, insecure, naive and my English wasn't good, and basically all I could do was be an observer. On the first morning I was up early and getting some fresh air outside. Karole showed up with her tomato red coat and sharp blonde short bob hair style, then she went down the hill on her funky Italian scooter. That's how I remember her and It had a huge impact on me. She was definitely the "PUNK BALLERINA"! I could never have imagined that that was the beginning of our artistic journey and we would go on to have a long, close collaboration after that. 20 minutes later she came back with a bag full of Italian pastries for our breakfast.

We reunited 10 years later while I was working with the Rambert Dance Company in London.

My life was different then: I was getting married, I already had worked with a few different companies and had been touring all over the world and now I was more of a contemporary dancer than a dreamy ballerina. That was the first time Karole saw me dancing. She created a piece around me called "Living Toys" that premiered at Sadler's Wells and after that she invited me to New York City for her new piece. Karole had left America professionally in the early 90s, so that was also a special homecoming piece for her.