Kai Kane Aoki Izu’s room is immaculately groomed, from the neatness of his desktop cables to the factory-clean glass of his ash-catcher. A tuft of his hair is still dyed blue from his gig this past summer and fall. Yeah — for the first three weeks of school, KK bullshitted HumBio by day and performed in front of a total of 15,000 people by night.
His show was “MU”, a magical fable in which an urban man (played by KK) learns a the value of the environment from a mythical mermaid that takes him underwater.
Max: How do you get a job like that? Is there a Craigslist for that or…
KK: The world of dancing is really small. It’s all about who you know and who can vouch for you. I got invited to go on tour by my parents (both his parents are career dancers/directors/producers that toured with him), but when I got a phone call from Kimi Okada, you know, Tony-nominated and all, asking if I had plans for the summer, I was was like, ‘Well, yeah… but not if it’s for this.
Tour lasted three weeks. Rehearsal lasted all summer, starting the day after his last final.
M: What was it like to have dancers as parents?
KK: In one sentence, they’ll tell me to do my laundry, and give me a stage cue. In the same sentence. Like, ‘Wash the dishes and be more lively onstage.’
At this point in the interview, curiosity got the best of me. KK describes his style of dance as “modern contemporary”. The play featured a live ensemble that included an Emmy-awarded bass player, a few lauded taiko players, and a koto player “trained by masters”. I am no dance aficionado, and I didn’t even have a rough mental picture of what this guy actually does.
M: KK, bust a move.
KK: Uh hmm. (Stands) I started out dancing to hip hop.
He busts out the silkiest C-Walk I have ever seen.
M: KK, you were that motherfucker in the middle of the dance circle at 7th grade homecoming?
KK: Uh huh. (chuckles)
I beatbox “Teach Me How To Dougie” and he dougies while I shit my pants.
M: KK, do you ever sit in class and think, ‘I don’t need this shit, Imma do dance’?
KK: I don’t think so. In high school, I had a choice of training for two or three years and then going into the professional world, you know, but then I had good grades, got into Stanford, and realized I could do something else. So I’m just doin’ Stanford.”
M: Just doin’ it.
KK: Just doin’ it.
For now, KK is just doing Stanford, but look out: he might go on tour with “MU” again if it goes international. Until then, watch him do some really dope shit in this trailer. I’ve watched it like five times.
As part of our mission to raise awareness of the arts on Stanford campus, the Stanford Arts Review is starting a weekly feature on the visual artists, writers, musicians, directors, and general fuzzy-types that make Stanford shine. Check out last week’s profile on poet Kunal Sangani here.