We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryota Takaji and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryota, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The loss of my mother. She had been my #1 supporter from the beginning and I never knew how much I was counting on her before she died. The moment she took her breath away, of course I was so scared to not have her support anymore, but I also felt a bit of hope to know that she’ll be with me wherever I go/whatever I do. It still hasn’t been easy, but it definitely pushed me to the next level of my craft.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started dancing when I was 5 years old and have been dancing since, so it’s been over 20 years at this point. I’ve wanted to quit countless times(I even tried to), but I just couldn’t for some reason or didn’t know how to to be more accurate. Dance has been the main part of my life, so not having it truly makes me feel like I don’t have any reason to live anymore as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve learned that anything that happens in life gives some sort of impacts to my expressions and any inspirations from outside of the field give so much depth to my creations which is so beautiful, so I’m trying to be more present and open to anything that interests me, but I can tell that this mindset is also coming from wanting to expand my creativity for dance, which tells how everything in my life is based on/ towards dancing.
Right now I’m focusing on building/finding my very own style and I what I want to tell the world through my dance. I’ve been focused on being very versatile and super clean with my movements, but it feels like that took any of my personality in my dance away. Recently I’ve been told that my dancing is too “well-trained” and it makes it hard for people to see who I am because my movement can almost feel like a bit artificial in a sense and not have any rawness, and I can see where they’re coming from.
It’s not gonna happen overnight for sure, but I’m being patient to discover my new self and so excited for what the future has in store for me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m currently based in Tokyo, so of course I would definitely take them around to the main touristy area such as Shibuya, Harajuku, Asakusa, etc., but I think one of the most beautiful things about Japan is we have so many different cultures in such a small country, so I’d like to plan out very original plans for whoever is visiting me to match their interests.
I’d also love to take them to Osaka, which is the second biggest city in Japan and is my home city. I’d love to show them around some local areas that the regular tourists usually don’t find.
Osaka is also right next to Kyoto which is known for such cultural and historical Japanese architecture, shrines and temples. If that’s what they’re interested in, we can also include that to our plans too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I first have to give my shoutout to my mother who passed away 3 years ago at this point. She opened the gate to where I am today and never hesitated to support whatever I wanted to do in my dancing life. She fought with cancer for almost 10 years and we had some ups and downs with our relationship, but she never not support me when it comes to dance.
I also wanna give shoutouts to everyone who have uplifted me when I was facing the wall and didn’t know what to do. I feel so lucky to have met these kind of people at the very perfect timing of my life, and I don’t even know if I’m dancing today without them. Not everyone get to meet such supportive friends who truly believe in you, so I’m so blessed to have these amazing people in my life.