01 Apr 2024


Performance Artists attracting global renown. Creative inspiration is drawn from the fashion as well!

── Congratulations on your show at Milan Fashion Week!

Thank you. It was a good experience for us all. But I feel a little relieved now that it is over (laughs). As many people were going to be watching us, I thought about a new ensemble format for a dance that can be viewed from any angle.

── It was an original dance.

Yes, that’s right. Dance steps that I originally developed were arranged for this show, and putting on the Onitsuka Tiger garb gave the show a vibe that was slightly different than usual.

── I watched the show later on Instagram, but it made a lot of buzz!

I’m happy! It isn’t often that you get to perform such a speedy dance as a group at a fashion show event. This was a challenge for us as a dance group and we are grateful for the opportunity.


── When Onitsuka Tiger offered you this gig, what was your reaction?

I was excited and thought this would be a fit! Onitsuka Tiger is sporty and fashionable, yet also allows one to enjoy an everyday variety of fashion. Avant Gardey has a sense of familiarity, but at the same time is a one of a kind dance group that has elements that slightly depart from the mainstream. I was excited about what could be produced through this collaboration.

── Is there anything that you are particular about or mindful of in producing an original dance?

The world that we build up from scratch is hard to express in words but it is a little odd (laughs). I want to produce cool dance routines by incorporating movements that are difficult to forget once you see them.

── To produce a dance routine, what do you get your inspiration from?

I personally enjoy fashion and learn from watching fashion shows, so I may get my inspiration from fashion. I want to wear that garb, so I will play this music to suit, and dance this way — I sometimes get my ideas in this way. Costume and fashion are an important part of my work.


── What do you think about the original costumes that were made for this dance number?

I felt that all of the elements of the garb such as the silver lining in the sleeves and the stretching skirt hem placed attention on our dance moves. Our normal uniform costumes are a white shirt with conspicuous sleeves, and the Onitsuka Tiger garb was designed similar to our style so that the movement of the arms stands out. The yellow shoes and Onitsuka Tiger Emblem on the left breast fit well with the dance number too I thought.

── What did you like about the Onitsuka Tiger garb in particular?

The sweats that I wear are colorful and the pattern and needlepoint design are grand and I like it a lot! You don’t often see people wearing such a daring pink, but I wanted something that isn’t redundant and let’s me stand out. I love how this ensemble allows me to promote my presence at one glance.

── Were you nervous for the show?

I wasn’t nervous but I was thrilled and excited! When we perform in different countries and towns, the reaction is completely different depending on the location so I was worried a little bit. Performing at a fashion show is a rare opportunity and the guests are not there to see our dancing, so I was all the more apprehensive about their reaction. There was wild applause after our show which thrilled me tremendously!

── It was a superb show! What is your relationship like with the Avant Gardey team?

We spend more time together than we do with our families. We practice our dance moves daily in the spirit of arranging something fun and thrilling for our audience. Some of my dance team members I have known for five or ten years. To be given the opportunity to dance in diverse settings is a credit to them. I hope that our relationship continues forever!


── How would you describe your personality?

I am frank and say what needs to be said without covering up what I really think. If I am stern, I believe the members accept this as we have a shared goal to create something worthwhile. I am also somewhat stoic and perfectionistic. This is in contrast to my persona outside of work; I tend to lose things soon or not know how to board a plane so everyone lends me a hand (laughs).

── In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you maintain your motivation?

Cheering and applause from our audience or their reaction on SNS motivates me a lot! To produce one show, even if it is just two minutes long, we put all of our effort into creating something by rehearsing repetitively. All this work becomes worthwhile when our audience tells us “it was a lot of fun!”


── What are your plans for the future?

One of my goals is to perform our shows around the world. We now perform live shows in Japan, but it would be great if this manifests as a world tour someday. As well, it would be neat if we could collaborate with artists on the world stage!

── Do you feel differently now compared to when you were garnering acclaim with the bubbly dance?

I haven’t changed much (laughs). With the bubbly dance, online buzz generated in Japan spread outside, whereas with Avant Gardey it was the opposite with a big response from an overseas audience seeing us on Instagram and TikTok. Then we came to be heralded in Japan as well.

── Unlike the bubbly dance, Avant Gardey’s dress is uniform.

Yes, that’s right. For everyone to be dressed in the exact same fashion while showing off their respective moves is a novel idea. I hadn’t seen something like this done before myself, so I enjoyed choreographing it. So it is greatly satisfying if the audience enjoys the show! I feel the same way today as I did in the past.

── When I first saw Avant Gardey perform, it was a real shock!

Many people remarked that they want to see it again, so I think it is a good reaction. When we were on America’s Got Talent, our visual aspect was outstanding so people initially thought that we were messing with them (laughs). But we received a lot of positive comments from a wide range of people, so we are happy!

── I got to see your production first hand!

Thank you. We finished a live show in Japan a little while ago, but we are honing our dancing on a daily basis to create new dance routines. This collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger made me aware how our performance changes when the fashion changes. We hope to take on new challenges in the future!

Direction : Shinsuke Nozaka
Photo : Yoshiaki Sekine (SIGNO)
Text : Makico

Together with her interview, check out a special dance film featuring the "Lonely Dancers" put together by Conan Gray who is an Onitsuka Tiger brand ambassador!


akane is a choreographer who has done work in a variety of media including TV commercials and film.
She started going to dance school from the age of three and taught dance at the Tomioka High School dance club which is her alma mater high school. In 2017, the “Bubbly Dance” was viewed a 100 million times on YouTube.
She is a choreographer for foreign films, artists, the Yokohama Anpanman Children’s Museum show, and produces the dance team Avant Gardey.
Avant Gardey
A dance team formed by producer akane who choreographed the Bubbly Dance.
It was launched in February 2022 and has gained a global following on TikTok and Instagram as “a mysterious uniformed bobbed hair group.”
In 2023, they appeared on America’s Got Talent, picked up a following of more than 3 million viewers on SNS, and are attracting the public’s attention in Japan and abroad.