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A Story of Muscle and Sinew, of Head and of Heart

Tomomi Aramaki is a dancer. Some may wonder, “what kind of dancer – what is her area of speciality? What is her genre of choice?” These would all be valid questions. But in Tomomi’s case, the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem.

For the books you could say she is a contemporary dance artist. But, when you watch her dance, you’ll very likely be struck by how difficult it is to pigeon-hole her style into just one ‘box.’

When she moves, she moves with the strength of an athlete, the intention of a seasoned professional and the grace of a woman. So although one could say she is a contemporary dancer with a background in ballet and jazz, she is so much more. She is a dancer in every sense of the word – the kind of person in whom the philosophy of free movement is deeply ingrained. And it’s beautiful to watch.

To ballet and beyond

Tomomi attended her first ballet class at the age of 6 and quickly progressed into jazz dance. She followed her natural aptitude into the contemporary space when she was just 16 and since then, has built a thriving career grounded in her passion for the performing arts.

It’s not uncommon for contemporary dancers to start off as aspiring ballet dancers. But ballet is uncompromising in its pursuit of perfection and scientifically mapped out anatomy. Many simply ‘don’t have the body for it.’ This was the case for Tomomi. But, thankfully she fell into the all-embracing arms of contemporary dance and never looked back.

Destination Dubai

Today, Tomomi is one of the lead dancers at the SIMA Dance Company in Dubai. She is lucky enough to spend most of her days in the company’s studio and auditorium which hosts regular performances, classes and workshops. SIMA is the brainchild of choreographer Alaa Krimed – a pioneer in the Arab contemporary dance space who identified a need to bring this style of movement to the Middle East.

The company was founded in Damascus, Syria and later moved to a studio in Beirut. In 2015, SIMA moved into its very own space in Alserkal South Avenue and today, it is the creative home of dancers from all over the world, including America, the UK, Germany, Japan and South Africa.

Tomomi’s journey to SIMA was anything but linear. One of her first professional stints took place at the Natural Dance Theater in Japan, where she worked for over a decade, performing in venues across Japan and in over 40 cities. In 2022, she moved to Singapore to join the ARTS FISSION Company where she fulfilled a senior role for four years. In 2017, she followed her feet to the doors of the SIMA Dance Company and the rest – as we like to say – is artistry.

What you wear, should move you

In class and on stage, you’ll find Tomomi in dance gear that allows for a full range of movement but also provides a visual framework for the curves and lines of the body. She is particularly fond of The Idō Movement’s ballet shoes, which are her go-to for classes and performances. Our ballet shoes feature resistance split soles for a snug and stable fit as well as cross-strap elastic fastenings to provide for the fullest range of movement.

Tomomi also moved us to create something special. And now, everyone can own a piece of the magic. She was also the inspiration behind our Tomomi Kuro Top, an elegant long-sleeve, wrap top made from luxurious black velvet.

The fabric contains ECONYL® regenerated nylon, a sustainable textile made out of waste that would otherwise pollute the ocean or end up in landfills. This way, waste gets a new lease on life and a second chance at being something beautiful. The textile is resistant to oils and sunscreens with UV protection, so you can wear the Kuro on stage, to date-night at the opera house or on an evening out on the town.

You could think of the style as sports-luxe – designed for the optimal amount of movement but distinctly elegant and ready to turn heads (especially if it’s while you’re doing a pirouette).

A story under the spotlight

The way that dancers approach choreography varies greatly and depends on a number of factors. For Tomomi, choreography is a music-driven art form. When she choreographs, she allows the music to determine her movements.

First, she listens, and allows images and shapes to form in her mind. Then, she brings those images to life through dance. The storyline of a piece of choreography is a secondary consideration. And very often, the story she tells through her dance pieces are windows into her lived reality – her truth. What this brings to her pieces is a sense of authenticity and rawness that is irresistibly relatable.

When you watch her dance, you’ll immediately feel as if you know her. It is through dance that she shares parts of her story with the audience, drawing them in and daring them to take a journey that is both outward and inward into the realm of human.

Tomomi uses movement to make the music speak, and oh what wonderful things it has to say.

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