Lani Yamanaka is a professional dance artist based in California, USA.


Lani grew up in San Diego where she honed her technical skills in dance while simultaneously training in gymnastics and competitive Judo. She continued to delve into her artistic curiosity at UC Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts, earning her BFA in both Dance Performance and Choreography. At UCI she worked closely with the late Donald McKayle as a proud member of his Etude Ensemble. She was featured in his work Even As The River And The Sea Are One and holds her time working with him close to her heart.

Lani is represented by Go 2 Talent Agency. She was in the original cast of PEARL, a multimedia production based on Pearl S. Buck, directed and choreographed by Daniel Ezralow. She danced with Entity Contemporary Dance, co-founded by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, for 3 seasons before joining ODC/Dance Company for 2 seasons under the direction of KT Nelson and Brenda Way. Lani was Dance Captain and performed in Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, an off broadway production designed for The Shed NYC which premiered Summer 2019.

Before Covid-19 lockdown she spent over a month in Dhaka, Bangladesh with Akram Khan Company training 25 local dancers and ultimately performing Father: Vision of the Floating World. A piece featured in the 100 year anniversary celebration of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whom they consider the Father of the Nation in Bangladesh.

Currently Lani is working on a few dance for film projects. You can view her newest work, Blank State, a dance film in collaboration with Megumi Iwama below. Stay tuned for more.

lani yamanaka

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