On Tuesdays, we watch talks or interviews with artists and designers and discuss how to present our work clearly and with confidence. This week we’ll listen to Naoya Ebe, a principal dancer for the National Ballet of Canada, in one of the Meet A Dancer talks on their website.

As you watch this interview, consider these questions: Does the artist/designer speak clearly and with confidence? Does he use gestures and intonation to emphasize his points? Does he smile and look at the camera? Does he use professional vocabulary?

What does Ebe do well? He speaks clearly and is easy to understand. His volume and speed are good, and he looks at the camera when he speaks. He smiles and speaks with confidence, and has good posture. He doesn’t use too many filler words. My overall impression is that he is pleasant to listen to and seems very comfortable in his interview. 

What could he improve? My only real suggestion for improvement is that he uptalks a little bit, which means that his intonation rises at the end of a sentence. Usually, in English, only questions end with a rising intonation. As a result, a speaker who uptalks sounds a little unsure of what he is saying – as if everything is a question. This habit conveys a lack of confidence. Ebe only does it a little, but he would sound even more confident without it.

Ebe talks about a lot of the topics that are common in a short interview, and he uses some professional vocabulary. He begins by sharing his background and how he got started in ballet. Next, he shares his inspiration and motivation for becoming a dancer. He mentions the steps he had to learn and how physical it is. Then he talks about his approach and what’s important in a performance. He also shares a memorable story about how he had been a second soloist and then was shocked to discover that he’d gotten the part of Romeo. As a principal dancer, he talks about the benefits and says he especially likes to see what he can accomplish when dancing with others. He finishes by talking about his challenges and what he enjoys most about dancing.

What do you think of this interview? Do you agree with my comments? Do you have questions about the vocabulary? Do you want to suggest an artist or designer for me to discuss next week? Leave a comment below!

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To see the original video, posted by The National Ballet of Canada on July 19, 2016, click the link below: