Visiting Artist Spotlight: Eddie Taketa

Eddie Taketa.Throughout the year students have stopped by the chair’s office to say, “Eddie Taketa has changed my life.  Not just my dancing, my LIFE!”

Born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, Taketa received a BFA in Dance Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The companies with which he danced comprise an encyclopedia of modern dance: Murray Louis, Alvin Nikolais, Lar Lubovitch, Janis Brenner, Robert Small, Jacob’s Pillow Men Dancers, and for 20 years, Doug Varone and Dancers, for which he also served as rehearsal director and education program director. Taketa received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for Sustained Achievement in Dancing.

"What an amazing year it's been getting to know the department and all its people -- faculty, staff and students,” he said. “Everyone (is) rich and distinctive, learning how these unique voices are cultivated, supported and encouraged. . . all collaborating, directly or indirectly, with one another creating a vibrant environment. I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this community."

Taketa staged the Varone work Of the Earth, Far Below, for Dance Downtown 2015 at the Capitol Theatre. Cast member Heidi Murr said, “Eddie’s patience, encouragement and drive in rehearsals motivated me to put in the extra hours outside of the studio and invest my heart and soul into not only learning the piece, but digging deep and understanding the arc of the work.” Julia Ayau observed that rehearsing and performing this dance “opened my world to an entirely new way of perceiving and engaging in danced relationships.”

Murr also served as rehearsal assistant for Onionskins, Opaques, Oxbloods, and Pearls, a new dance Taketa created for the Spring Concert. She said, “By watching Eddie work with his cast day-to-day I developed a better eye for choreographing on a large group, improved my coaching skills and more deeply discovered my love for choreographing.”

Taketa transformed many dancers in his contemporary movement classes. BFA student Tess Gilbert writes, “In Eddie's technique class I was inspired to explore and question the way I execute steps, becoming a more mindful mover.” Murr notes “the balance of humanity with technical elements” in these classes. Ayau appreciates Taketa’s focus on “committing fully to movement, continuing to be playful and curious, and following instinct.”

After a brilliant career in studios and stages around the world, Eddie Taketa has made Columbus his home with his wife, BFA dance alumna Stephanie King, and their two daughters. We welcome them with open arms.