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60 seconds with... Hironao Takahashi

In a nutshell describe your job and how you got into it

I auditioned for Northern Ballet because I knew Chiaki [Nagao] was there. I didn't know her at the time, but I thought, if she is in the Company that means they may take Japanese! (Those days it was so hard for Japanese to get work visa.) So I tried. Christopher Gable was the Director at time. He wanted me to join the Company so he asked me to come for a week to see whether I fit in or not. So I went to Newcastle where they were performing  Romeo & Juliet. Everyone was so nice to me, the atmosphere was great and the production was so moving. I performed on stage as a villager which was most enjoyable. I felt that this is the Company I want to work with so I joined.

My day starts the same as everyone else’s. We train in the morning, then rehearse [either for the current or next production] and perform.

Not many people know but I have another title, 'dance captain,' which is bit like ballet staff. It means that sometimes I take training or rehearsals. I try to watch the performances from the wings as much as I can, so I’m usually quite busy! (Not really...)

Where can you be found when you’re not at Northern Ballet?

That would be a hard one because I don't go out much... On tour I go to M&S to for food shopping so you may find me there.

Which is your favourite Northern Ballet production and why?

At the moment, I'll say Beauty & the Beast just because that's what I am doing now. You’ve gotta love what you do if you’re doing it many times, you know? That's how I’ve survived all these years; all the productions are my favourites when we’re performing & rehearsing them!

If you weren't a Dancer what would you be?

Perhaps I will be working some kind of computer programming job...

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Colin Farrell, I think he could be me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

"Maximum effect with minimum effort"

What song will always get you dancing?

 90's music that I used to party to!

What scares you?

Ghosts?! I want to see them, but I'm too scared...

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

That would be "sudoku".

If you were on a reality TV show which would it be and why?

The Apprentice, I would never try to do it but the contestants do things I’ve never done before, so that would be a big challenge!

What do you want to do before you die?

I want to smile.

It’s your dream dinner party – which six people (dead or alive) would you invite?

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Bruce Willis
  • Linda Hamilton
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Alyson Hannigan
  • Bill Murray

What has made you stay with Northern Ballet for 20 years?

Well... I guess the spirit of Northern Ballet has kept me going. I don't know how we do this but we have some kind of special bond here which I love. Also David and Yoko are great to me, if they didn't come I may not dance as well as I could do now, and as I said before I like the productions we do, all of them are so interesting.

A phrase I use far too much is…

"Do you understand what I am trying to say?" I guess I'm not confident with my English...

Describe yourself in three words?

  • Quiet
  • Peaceful
  • Stubborn

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