BY FRANKI WEBB
Kanon Hewitt is a performer first. Whatever other aspects of her you may think of when you intitially meet her, this girl is a performer. For someone so young it might be rather difficult to fathom how she can be taken so seriously, but she’s not only a performer, she’s also a mature lady with a drive to prove herself.
Kanon realised her passion for performing when she began dancing ballet at the tender age of four. Later, when she was only seven she moved dance studios, where they performed an array of musicals. She soon came to realise that she was not only interested in dance, but also had a love for acting and singing, too. Her experiences of being on stage, in her words, were like, “becoming a completely different person.” As her skills began to develop, she found that teachers and other performers were noting how talented she was.
Although naturally talented, Kanon began taking intense acting classes along with singing coaching and dance training too. The support given to Kanon through her various coaches was, she felt, needed to help her grow as a performer. Kanon is not only thankful to her teachers but also to her parents. Realising from the beginning that pursuing a career in performing arts didn’t come cheap, she says, “Being old enough now to understand the cost of the lessons and workshops that my parents let me take, I am very thankful for them. Although their support of my performing is conditional on my equal effort at school, they are very supportive.” Her mother in particular wanted her to realise that being performer meant more than just fame and status. “She always encouraged me to be someone who has many ways to express oneself, and to continually cultivate a rich personality so that I have something worthwhile to express.”
Although Kanon is making her mark in Tokyo’s theatre world, she has even bigger aspirations. In the future, she hopes to further her career by performing in the States, “I hope to someday perform on Broadway and appear in Hollywood movies. I also enjoy academic studies, so I would like to continue both performing and academics, and contribute to people’s happiness in both fields.” Unlike other Japanese actors and actresses who hope to crack America, Kanon is fluent in both English and Japanese, which has given her an edge over others in the industry at the moment. “It makes it easier to access and perform in groups like Tokyo International Players, and it helps me enjoy the unique experience of doing English theatre in Japan to its fullest. Most of all, I feel that being able to speak both English and Japanese allows me to give more colour and depth to the characters that I portray, and lets me examine the character from many different angles and perspectives.”
Performing might be her forte, but Kanon is also a self-confessed nerd. “I’m a nerd, so I actually enjoy studying.” There’s more than performing to Kanon, although you’d wonder with school and performing how she have time for anything else. Kanon loves movement, and that is something you come to realise as you get to know her, not only does she dance; she also studies martial arts. “I’m also interested in the art of combat—not in the actual act of hurting or fighting someone, but in the physical movements, the spiritual concepts, and the histories behind various styles of combat and martial arts. I currently take ninjutsu lessons, and I really enjoy its physical rigorousness and the fact that it is deeply embedded within Japanese history.” Just like other kids her age, Kanon has her own fandom: for some it’s Naruto, while other might lean towards Harry Potter. However, Kanon is a little more old school than that.”I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and coupled with my interest in learning, I know a whole lot about the Expanded Universe (the continuation of the story introduced in the Star Wars movies). Whenever someone asks me a question regarding Star Wars, I have to restrain myself from giving them the complete definition on Wookieepedia.”
Kanon is currently doing rehearsals for her stint as Dorothy in a steampunk! version of The Wizard of Oz, but this success hasn’t just landed on her lap–it has taken many dance and acting classes to get here and also trying to maintain good grades so she can actually perform. What’s her advice for girls like her who just want to perform? “Be patient with success, keep trying hard no matter how daunting the obstacles are, and believe in your abilities and your uniqueness, because ultimately, that will set you apart from the countless other performers out there.” Kanon also passes on advice that her mother gave her, “Devote time and effort to other activities, like reading books, going to art exhibitions, and studying hard in school. All of these activities, which may seem so mundane or tedious can show you many different characters and their lives, and shape your own life and perspective.” She continues to elaborate, “Be thankful of the fact that you have the ability and the opportunity to perform, and enjoy what you do.” With such drive and ambition it’s evident she’ll soon be on the stage without the hassle of trying to keep up with a perfect grade sheet and after school clubs. Although she’s not in any rush to focus solemnly on her career, she’s content just appreciating the moment.
To see Kanon on stage or learn more about The Wizard of Oz, visit the TIP website.