Lani Yamanaka


Growing up in San Diego where she honed her technical skills in Dance while training and competing nationally in Judo, Lani Yamanaka graduated from UC Irvine with BFAs in Dance Performance and Choreography and had the honor of working closely with the late Donald McKayle, whom she continues to draw inspiration from.

She was in the original cast of Pearl, directed and choreographed by Daniel Ezralow, which premiered at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre. She was a Company Dancer with Entity Contemporary Dance, co-founded by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato Moreno, for 3 seasons before joining ODC Dance Company in San Francisco. After 2 seasons she felt the urge to discover more versatility and joined the cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a multimedia production designed for The Shed NYC, by award winning director Chen Shi-Zheng. She worked as Dance Captain with choreographer Akram Khan, and assistant choreographer, Joy Alpuerto Ritter to manipulate movement while coordinating with Martial Arts choreographer Zhang Jun, and Aerial Director Lisa Giobbi.

Before Covid-19 lockdown she spent 5 weeks in Dhaka, Bangladesh with Akram Khan Company training 25 local dancers and ultimately performing Father: Vision of the Floating World. The piece featured in MOVE, a dance doc-series by Falabracks on Netflix.

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