Five Questions for Ryoji Sasamoto

Name: Ryoji Sasamoto

Title/Occupation: Dancer

1.  Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?

I was born and grew up in Chiba Prefecture in Japan. Chiba Prefecture is located in the south of Tokyo.  I moved to Yamanashi Prefecture to attend my high school and lived there for 3 years.  After graduation, I came to New York, and I live in Brooklyn now.

2.  Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?

I have been strongly influenced by my father.  He is a sushi chef.   I love his sushi and have been eating it since I was a kid. Even now, I eat his sushi whenever I go back to Japan.  I still get a lot of strong impressions and discoveries through the taste.  I think that it is not easy to impress people no matter what we do.  When I started dancing,  I have realized that he is a great performer.  And I want to be such a performer like him.

3.  What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?

I would like to develop an ability of feeling the distance between the audience and myself on stage. I think there is a possibility that it becomes only self-satisfaction and it is dangerous for dancers.  However, I think that I am capable of making conversations with the audience by it.

4.  What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.

I belong to some dance companies.  I make a living by performing and rehearsing with the companies. In the past, however, I occasionally could not earn enough to live in spite the fact that I was very busy.  My parents supported me in that situation.

Right now, I cannot accept jobs in New York because I have a long-term commitment in Japan that is coming soon. I am looking for jobs that are short term or random projects.

5.  Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

It hasn’t happened to me yet.  However, I think that I will be in situations where I have to make choices in order to move forward.  I have made choices for my dance jobs as a dancer.  When I had the support from my parents, I have rejected a paid job with a dance company and chosen to dance in my favorite artist’s work.  I think that this fact that I was able to choose what I wanted will be my big treasure in the future.

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