Jetsetting With “Step Up” Actress and Dancer Mari Koda
Mari Koda moved to New York City from Japan after graduating high school to pursue her career as a dancer and actress. She is now an established performer trained in multiple dance styles and gained notoriety for her role as Jenny Kido in the popular “Step Up” film franchise. She reprises her character in the latest movie “Step Up: All In.”
Mari’s career has taken her all over the globe. Read on for her travel advice and recommendations and catch “Step Up: All In” in theaters on August 8!
Q: What type of traveler are you? (I.E., adventurer, cultural explorer, free spirit, rejuvenator, spa aficionado, etc.)
A: I am a free spirit!
Q: What types of activities do you like to do on your travels? Do you look for a place where it’s quiet and you can relax or someplace that has great activities or nightlife?
A: I love to do whatever the local people do so I can learn about their culture faster.
Q: When thinking about where you will travel to next, what inspires you to make a decision? And what, if any, research do you do about that destination?
A: I usually have a dream about the country I go to next, or I start getting some signs; for example, I’ll see an advertisement for the place, people talk about the place, or I receive an email from friends who live in the place, and so on.
Q: What is the most memorable trip you’ve taken and why?
A: When I went to Brindisi, Italy, I didn’t know anybody but I met so many people who knew me. Also I saw the sign “Mari” everywhere because mari means “seas” in Italian. It was a very spiritual trip, so I am going to go back soon.
Q: What is the best food you’ve ever found on a trip?
A: A scampi dish in Ibiza. It was so tasty!
Q: What, if anything, do you always take with you when you travel?
A: My iPhone, a credit card, and underwear.
Q: What’s your best piece of travel advice?
A: Do not bring too many things with you because that will affect your whole experience of the destination. You always need some empty space to fill up your heart, mind, and soul at the place to which you are traveling.
Q: Is there a destination to which you can’t imagine not returning?
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: I love going to the ocean or the mountains to mediate.
Q: Where would you like to travel to next?
Q: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
A: “Step Up: All In” comes out on August 8. Then, hopefully, there will be a “Step Up 6”!
Mari Koda’s Bio:
Actress/dancer Mari Koda, star of the upcoming film “Step Up: All In,” reprises her role as Jenny Kido in the newest installment of the hugely popular “Step Up” film franchise. Originally from Japan, Mari is an accomplished dancer in many styles, including hip hop, popping, locking, jazz, and salsa and is also trained in classic ballet. Mari won first place on BET’s “106 & Park” freestyle dance competition, danced in the MTV Video Music Awards opening act with Jamie Foxx, and appears frequently in music videos for artists including 50 Cent, Skrillex, and Missy Elliot. She is the first person from Japan to be granted a performing arts visa in America for hip hop dancing, and she hasn’t looked back since.
After graduating high school in Japan, Mari moved to New York to begin her dance and acting career in America. She didn’t know very many people and didn’t how to speak English, so she quickly learned the language, began acting, and created a dance company where she is in high demand as a professional dance instructor in New York, Japan, and Europe. Now, each time Mari returns to visit her family and teach dance in Japan, she is recognized everywhere from her “Step Up” fame.