10 in 10 with Sawako Gannon

By Andréa Spearman

September 24, 2021, PUBLISHED BY IN DANCE

You are reading excerpts from Andréa Spearman’s recorded conversation with Sawako Gannon

10 in 10 theme music: Bright, upbeat pop music that you may hear in a teen-centered drama series.

[Theme music plays, then fades out slightly to play in the background of the introduction]

Andréa Spearman: Welcome to 10 in 10 with Andréa Spearman where we have short and lively dialogues with our local dance community.

Freelance dancer Sawako Gannon moved from Tokyo, Japan to San Francisco to pursue a dance degree from San Francisco State University. She has since trained with Ray Tadio, Cathleen McCarthy, and Yutian Wong and has worked with Driven Arts Collective, Jocelyn Reyes, PUSH Dance Company and more. Gannon is currently rehearsing as a Company dancer with David Herrera Performance Company for the company’s home season in Spring 2022.

[Theme music fades back in, then gradually fades out entirely as Andréa begins to speak]

Andréa: Who inspires you?

Sawako Gannon: Dancers that I work with. Seeing them in rehearsal, outside of rehearsal. Seeing them just working hard throughout this pandemic, even when we didn’t have access to studios. Just inspires me to generally work harder. Also musicians. I consider myself a little bit of a musician as well. I’m a music-driven person.

Andréa:  What’s your secret spot in town?

Sawako: I no longer have access to it but I really liked the parking lot of the apartment where I used to live. It was nice because there was normally no one around. However sometimes I would get really good feedback from other neighbors. (giggles)

Andréa: What’s your favorite Bay Area institution?

Sawako: LINES Ballet, I used to do the work exchange for them and I really like the faculties there. I would like to give a shout out to SAFEhouse Arts, because they’ve been really supportive. Right after my graduation from college in 2019, I’ve done a lot of RAW residencies there and was able to participate in West Wave Dance Festival this year. They’ve also allowed me the opportunity to keep creating and also space. They support emerging artists.

I would have no access to any opportunities without them. As someone that came from nowhere and has no training background, I’m so very grateful.
Joe, Jesse and a lot of people there are very supportive. If you get to know them, it’s really helpful, including yourself Andréa. Thank you.

Andréa: Aww thank you! This is a quick question, dancing indoors or outdoors?

Sawako: Dancing outside was fun. It IS fun but also during the time when we rehearsed outside my knee started hurting because I’m not so used to it [dancing] on concrete. And I have never had a problem with my knees before so it was a little shocking and I’m really disappointed in my knees. Coming back to the studio I think I really like dancing on the floor in socks. I get to roll around the floor.

Andréa: Intricate costumes or all black?

Sawako: All black!

Andréa: I had a feeling you would say that! (both laugh) Your most recent favorite song?

Sawako: Most recent and forever, I’ve been listening to Sophie a lot. She passed away last year and that’s really sad. But I really like her song “Bipp.”

Andréa: So this is situational, another artist is delayed to the show, you have to take the stage to fill the gap. Do you freestyle to music or silence?

Sawako: Depends on the music. If I really liked it I’d go with the music, but if I didn’t I would improvise in silence.

Andréa: What’s a piece of advice that has stayed with you over the years?

Sawako: In one workshop that I took 2 years ago with Post:ballet, there was one dancer that was really beautiful, I was just talking to her. I was really feeling insecure that I don’t have this training or that training. But then she just told me that “I have all what I have and that’s enough.” So I try to remind myself all the time, what I have is what I need.

Andréa: What’s a future goal or dream of yours?

Sawako: My goal is to become an independent artist. I don’t see myself as a company dancer but it’s something I rely on as an emerging artist.  I really enjoy working on myself, because the more I work on myself, the more I feel like I’m someone else, and it’s almost like working with someone else. If that makes sense. Although I do love collaboration.

I’d like to perform in Tokyo where I came from. It’s been a while, I haven’t been back there in a long time. Yeah, it’s my dream to perform internationally.

Andréa: The last thing is what’s your favorite dance move? And you have to show us!

Sawako: (stands up from her seat)

[Theme music fades in]

[Video transitions to show Sawako standing up in her home. She does some arm and leg isolations moving forward towards the camera. She swings her right leg behind her into a turn that lands in a lunge. She uses her momentum to push forward and spin twice in the opposite direction with her arms raised above her head.]

Andréa: Well thank you so much for answering all these questions.

Sawako: Thank you so much!

Andréa: Thank you everyone for tuning in for another 10 in 10 episode with Sawako Gannon! (both wave)

If you’d like to get in touch with Sawako Gannon, please follow the links below.


This conversation appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of In Dance.
In Dance is a publication of Dancers’ Group.

Bay Area native, Andréa Spearman is an administrator, choreographer, performer, teacher, and student of a variety of modern-based movement with over 20 years of experience. Director of her own dance company, A. Spearman & Co. and also currently produces and hosts, The Black Landscape podcast, a series of conversations that spotlight Black leaders in the SF Bay Area communities in various industries. Listen on Apple Music, BuzzSprout, Google Podcasts, and more. https://theblacklandscape.buzzsprout.com