Tetsuya Kumakawa speaks about his most recent project, "Cleopatra," in a way that's as grand as the Egyptian queen herself.

"Nobody except me could have created this fantastic work," he tells The Japan Times. "I hope it remains a ballet classic for hundreds of years, as I'm sure it will."

The 46-year-old founder of Japan's K-Ballet company and current artistic director of Tokyo's Bunkamura Orchard Hall says he was inspired to embark on this challenge by the tumultuous life of Cleopatra herself. Indeed, as the lover of both Julius Caesar and his top general before her broken-hearted suicide at age 39 in 30 B.C., it's like her story was made for the ballet.