#2Pointe shoe painter Ree【Interview】

Hi!  I’m Tomoya Ichikawa. (@tomochan8282)


I interviewed Ms.Ree who established Pointe shoe painting.  This is the art genre that was created for the first time in the world.


Ms.Ree realized an idea in her heart and connected to the world by taking overwhelming action.  She talked the history of try and error.


Ree’s official website is here↓↓



#2 Pointe shoe painter Ree【Interview】

I categorized myself


I also built up something I cannot express only with ballet.


You also could not find the place using your energy.


Yes, so I drew a picture.


I know!  I was a child who came up with various ideas relativery from elementary school student,  I might have a wound there.


A wound at elementary school student.


My idea was, for example I had a favorite teacher and gave her a poem.  “The voice of teacher looks like a rose.”


Oh, you gave her a poem.


She read it in front of everyone.  hahaha.


Your teacher read your poem in front of everyone?




The poem with your heart?


Its like love letter.


Thats terrible.


Yes.  I was hurt very much.  Such a things sometimes happened to me.


When I was in the ballet, I could not express straight.  I really categorized myself.


You categorized yourself.


Yes. I categorized myself.  I have both personality, stubborn and obedient.


They are living together.


I managed to live by using obedient while hiding stubborn.


You were hiding stubborn.


Right. However, since I was about 20 years old, I started thinking about Is my life OK ?


I asked me Is my life…OK??


Were you a university student at the time of 20 years old?


Yes, I was.


What did you do when you were university student?


My university was Japan Womens College of Physical Education.  I specialized in Dance Studies.  I studied Classical ballet and Jazz dance, Contemporary, Modern, Hip hop.  I experienced various genres.


I belonged to a big ballet association, where seniority was valued.  As I was serious, I took part in rehearsals without a rest and I acted on the stages.


When you graduated from college, were you still doing ballet?


Yeah. Sometimes I was a teacher of a ballet classroom.  I quit ballet two weeks before the big earthquake occurred.


That was a big decision.


Exactly.  At that time, I was miserable.  I was afraid to talk with people.


You were mentally stricken.


The teacher of the studio where I joined valued a technique very much.  I was not interested in a technique so much.


And also, I was not good at a technique so much.


You were not interested in a technique.


I was good at emotionally energetic dancing.  On the other hand, I was not good at formal delicate motion like 3 revolutions.


You didnt like formal motion.


My studios policy was like If you cannot do that, you are not qualified to be a dancer.  This environment let me lost confidence.  I could not dance gradually.


After I left the studio and restarted dancing in another studio, but I noticed.  My passion has gone away.  An emotionally energetic dancing was my biggest weapon.  But I couldnt find a passion.  I was exhausted and thought Its all over.


I couldnt no longer talk while looking at the eyes.


You was pressured mentally.

The image that I wear black clothes and walk around the audience seats

Yes. I turned away my eyes for losing confidence.  I forgot my identity.


In such a situation, I started a part-time job.


You didnt work at part-time until that time.


Everything in my life was a ballet.  It was the first time to work 5 days a week.  I could talk to a customer in the eyes while working.  But, after working hours, I felt uncomfortable.


You could work at the cafe in such a situation.


I was thinking about that I want to know the job related to Art · Design · Fashion.


A world different from ballet.


I always continue to move by my inspiration.  Suddenly, an idea comes to my heart.  The cafe has Art · Design · Fashion.  I surely longed for such a environment.


Did you work at Bunkamura after the cafe?


Before at Bunkamura, I worked at jeans shop, ethnic general store, cake shop, bakery.


You tried various jobs.


The last was Bunkamura.  When did you work at Bunkamura?


When I started working at Bunkamura, you were already there.  You were my senior.


By the way, there was a buffet style event for the staff at Bunkamura.  If I remember correctly, you joined that event.  And then, you got a chance to be a stage director assistant, didnt you?


I didnt remember correctly…Oh, I just remembered.  This is also my images.


When I was working at Orchard Hall in Bunkamura, I often got an image during work hours.  The image was that I wear black clothes and walk around the audience seats.


You got a fountain from your heart.


The image gave me a vision.  The vision was indicating that I will be backseat player.  I was watching the image from the back.


Your camera shot from behind.


Yes.  I was looking at the whole from behind.  So I should be a stage director, I thought.  There was a step to be a stage director.  First, I had to be an assistant.  I researched how to be a stage director.


You understood the step to be a stage director.


I participated in various workshops to learn the stage. 


I acquainted with costume designers and lighting staff there.  They gave me an advice about a company producing the stage.  A lot of people led me.


You said your vision to a lot of people.


Then, I told that I would like to be a stage director.


And you got a feedback and made an action.


I was opposed so much.


You are very active.  You did not only come up with an idea but also act. You connected certainly.


Finally, I could work at Bunkamura as a stage director assistant.


Your image came true.


The image that I wear black clothes and walk around the audience seats came true.  I thought I am doing it normally.  At that time, I felt that this is something different.


You felt something different.


Yes.  I felt this position is something different.  The job was mentally hard for me.


Walking around the audience seats with wearing black clothes is the same, but I felt something different then.

The cells in my body cried out

Did you have a boss who taught you about the stage.


I had bosses like papa and mama.  A stage director like papa was big-hearted.  He wanted me to have a lot of experiences, such as how to use saw.


He taught you how to use saw.


Yes. I have never done such a things.  Do you know gun tucker?


When I used it first time, I shot it towards my eye.


Really?  Towards your eye !?


It was just before hitting my eye.  It was no wonder that I lost one finger.  Anyway, he made me experiences a lot.  He seemed to be papa who are too soft on his daughter.


He took care you so much.


Right.  He softly taught me how fun and severe the stage is.  And there was the other stage director like mama.  She was really scary.


She was really scary.


Yes.  I could not get close within the radius of 2m.  I could not sit down together in the dressing room.  Because she was too scary for me.


Moreover, she was intelligent.  She could see through everything.  I was often scolded enough to cry.  One day, I was sewing stage curtains with sewing machines.  I was good at such a work.


You seem to be good with your hands.


I was often charged with painting properties for the stage and sewing special curtains.


One time, Mama came beside me when I was sewing hard.  I felt scary and scary so much.  So I asked her.  Im sorry…did I make a mistake?  Was it different sewing?”  


Then Mama laughed a lot and said.  You!  I am just being here.  Dont be so scared!  hahaha!!  I was too scared abnormally.  Actually she was gentle person.


As I was a trainee in the first year, I could work slowly.  But a stage director assistant had to manage by themselves in 3 years.  After the first year, we had to work on own initiative.


Assistants who want to be a stage director took the initiative steadily.  But I was working to study.  Maybe the boss have seen through it.


My appearance turned strange than usual.  I would like to follow bosses.  I did not want to be a stage director.  I had to think about by myself.  I could not deal with it.


I just remembered!  I wanted to dance then!


Didnt you have an opportunity to dance while working as a stage director assistant?


Nothing.  It was 12 hours work and no break for 1 month.


Didnt you have off?




It was so hard.


I did not have time to dance at all.


This is a very sensory experience.  The cells in my body cried out and said. I want to dance and dance and dance!!  So I could not stop crying.  Such a feeling kept in my house for a long time.


My appearance was noticed by colleague during work.  My heart was somewhere else. They set an opportunity to talk with me.


They made an opportunity to talk with you.


Papa wanted me to try for a long time.  He said You had better continue.  Failure is not a big problem.”  On the other hand, mama said If you want to leave, I dont hold you back.  She has seen through my heart exactly.


She told you clearly.


Right.  She said to me.  Pilot in your life is you.  I was encouraged by her.


Mama pushed your back.


At that time, I would like to paint so much.  I could not stop impulse.


You got a fountain again.


Thats true.


Ohh I see!!  I was wondering how your experience of an assistant director would lead to Pointe shoe painting.  The fountain springed up at that time might have been more powerful than what you got before.


Thats why I participated in an artist residence.  When I danced in a wide place, I could make use of what I was doing in assistant director days.


On the stage of the ballet, I was laying linoleum, pasting with tape and marking on a stage thoroughly.


The work of spreading and pasting the roll paper was exactly the same as what I was doing in the assistant director days.


It was connected.

An indescribable excitement


An ordinary dancer cannot do it.  But I could do it.  Because I was doing this work to the death in the assistant director days.  It was a piece of cake for me.


Everyone else was struggling with that.  But It was a piece of cake for you.


Right.  I am doing the same as that time.  I felt.  And there was a moment that I like very much in director assistant days.  It was when the stage background curtain are rising.


Then I got an indescribable excitement.


That is so unique.


Maybe, there is not anyone like that.  It seemed like my blood flowing backward. Arghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!


When I performed at 5 m × 5 m for the first time, I lifted the background.  Then I understood that mysterious excitement I felt might be connected this performance.


TED. The background is also going up, right ?

Yeah exactly!  This is really simple setting.  I knew how to put it together.  For example If I use this material, it is OK.


This setting was tied by a black flat strings all around.  I understood how to tie it.  There might be other better ways, but I could do it in the best way I know.


You could do it.


This was good.  Very good stage was.


Time is long, isnt it?


There was a rule within 18 minutes.


There was such a rule.  Do you usually have a time limit?


When I perform in my own project, its around 15 minutes to 20 minutes.  Sometimes 40 minutes.


40 minutes.


Yes.  I set my project so that audience can watch it while eating and drinking.  At that time, they was staring at me for 40 minutes.


They was staring at you for 40 minutes.  haha.


When I performed at TED in Meiji University, audience watched as they like.  They were university student and said to me Your hands were really good!!


Student is good.  Because they dont fix their idea.


TED offer came from your agency?


No.  This offer came to me directly.  From my friend.  Most offers come from friends.


You have a big network.


I take good care of my friends.


Even if there is a moment What are you saying?”, dont you cut a connection?


I dont cut.


Thats amazing!


Maybe I forget it.


TED is amazing.  I often watch it.


I think you can speech in TED.


Not really.  I often watched TED.  So when I looked at your timeline on Facebook, I was so surprised.  Ree-san is performing in TED??  haha.


I did not know TED at all.


It is a video that we can get the worlds most advanced knowledge.


Ohh I see.  Therefore when the offer came from a friend, I didnt know what kind of event is.


After taIking about the budget, I decided to accept the offer.  I understood later that TED is the event where everyone want to perform in spite of the budget.  Phew, what a relief !”  


Im afraid what I dont know.  haha.


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