Tulsa Ballet’s Jun Masuda Shares His Typical Daily Routine

May 24, 2024

The past five years have been busy for Tulsa Ballet’s Jun Masuda. Not only has he been adjusting to life in the U.S. after graduating from Monaco’s Académie Princesse Grace in 2019, he’s also enjoyed a dazzling ascent from Tulsa Ballet II to principal dancer. Masuda recently completed his first season as a principal, which included dream debuts as Basilio, in Anna-Marie Holmes’ Don Quixote, and Romeo, in Edwaard Liang’s Romeo & Juliet.

A native of Osaka, Japan, Masuda began his training in 2005 and was accepted to the Académie Princesse Grace in 2016. Academy director Luca Masala, a friend of Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini, encouraged Masuda to audition for the company after completing his studies.  Now Masuda enjoys balancing his new principal schedule with spending time with colleagues outside of work, and he continues to practice his English during his downtime. 

Below, Masuda walks us through his typical day. 

Jun Masuda and Nao Ota dance a pas de deux onstage in front of a set depicting a Spanish village. Masuda Lunges on his right leg and balances Ota on his thigh as she poses in a fish and presses both of her arms back. She wears a red tutu, pink tights, and pointe shoes, while Masuda is dressed in black tights and shoes, a black bolero jacket and a white shirt with a large, open collar.
Masuda and Nao Ota in Don Quixote. Photo by Kate Luber Photography, courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

7:30 am: Wake up. Since Masuda isn’t much of a morning person, the first thing he does is drink coffee. He keeps his breakfasts consistent: eggs and rice. “I need just enough energy for class,” he says.

9:20 am: Masuda likes to warm up and stretch 10 minutes before class begins, focusing on TheraBand exercises for his toes and feet so he can feel the floor.  

9:30–11 am: Company class

11–11:15 am: Break. Masuda uses this time to massage his muscles and eat a banana before heading into a full afternoon of rehearsals. 

11:15–2:15 pm: First session of rehearsals. If the company is working on a mixed-repertoire program, Masuda may rehearse one or two pieces during this time. When it is a full-length production, such as Romeo & Juliet, he usually rehearses his pas de deux and solos. 

2:15–3:15 pm: Lunch break. Jun ensures he gets enough carbohydrates and fat by packing boiled eggs, protein bars and drinks, and rice balls. He also keeps his body warm by stretching and filming some dance material for his Instagram page.

3:15–6:15 pm: More rehearsals. If his earlier rehearsal schedule was very technical and “energetic,” the rest of the day may focus on acting and setting choreography. “The company really takes care of dancers to prevent injuries,” says Masuda.

6:15 pm: Masuda wraps up work and heads home to eat dinner and play with his German shepherd, Lamu. He also likes to continue studying English using his old textbook from Japan.  With his busy work schedule, Masuda uses the evenings to give his body a thorough recovery. “I usually take a bath for about 30 minutes or longer,” he explains. “It really works to loosen the muscle tension in my body because of the amount I have to rehearse as a principal dancer. I feel so much better the next day.” Afterwards, he stretches and massages his muscles with a foam roller.

Before midnight: Bedtime

During a performance, Jun Masuda jumps straight up with his right foot in retiré back. He puts his right hand on his hip and holds his left arm up over his head, and looks out over his left shoulder. He wears black tights, and white shirt with an open collar, and a black bolero jacket. Behind him, three dancers in Spanish style costumes sit and watch, and he dances in front of a set depicting a Spanish village.
Masuda in Don Quixote. Photo by Kate Luber Photography, courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Performance Weeks

During theater weeks, Masuda takes company class around 11 am, which is usually 15 minutes shorter than regular class. He and the rest of the company then receive notes from artistic staff on their previous rehearsal before getting a midday break. Masuda tries to relax as much as possible during this time to save his energy for the evening ahead. “I definitely stretch and take a nap so my body conditioning is consistent and gives a good performance,” he says. Around 5 pm, Masuda heads back to the theater for warm-up at 6, followed by a full performance run-through. Masuda maintains this daily schedule until opening night, which typically takes place on Friday. 

Days Off

When not performing, Masuda normally has Saturdays and Sundays off. He likes to completely rest one day in order to reset his body for the following week. “If I feel like I want to do some work, then I go to the gym or do a ballet barre at home,” says Masuda. He’ll also catch up with his family in Japan over the phone.

Masuda enjoys hanging out with his Tulsa Ballet colleagues outside of work by going bowling or visiting local bars and restaurants. Newly promoted principal Aubin Le Marchand has become a good friend. “We have the same work mentality, so we’re always pushing each other up,” says Masuda.