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Leaving Japan to pursue new opportunities, Tomoha Terada now performs with the Yekaterinburg Theater of Opera and Ballet.

Tomoha Terada was born in Osaka, but has spent a third of his life outside Japan, studying and performing classical ballet. Here, Tomoha recounts his career thus far and his new role in “Snow Queen.”

My mother danced ballet for a time, but later decided that it wasn’t for her. She wanted my sister to follow in her footsteps, but never thought that I would dance as well. Once when I was five, while watching my sister practice, her teacher told me to try instead of just sitting idly. That’s how it started. My ballet class in Japan included 50 girls and only a couple of boys. And although the country has many schools, theaters where you can perform are scarce, so many dancers have to travel abroad.

I was encouraged to move to the United States and spent four years in New York studying under Anatoly Kucheruk. Given my ongoing desire to dance in Russia, my sister, who now works in Kazan, suggested I look into the Yekaterinburg Theater of Opera and Ballet. After writing to their new art director Vyacheslav Samodurov, I received an invitation to join the company.

It was scary to move here at first, as I didn’t know the Russian language, but I like this quiet city, so different from U.S. or Japanese cities. Communication remains difficult: my colleagues help me and sometimes I talk to them using the iPhone translator. Now I have undertaken the challenge of dancing the role of Kay in “Snow Queen,” a fairy tale from my childhood. Many children attend this performance and they require more emotions and passion – it’s more difficult to convince them. Technique is simple, but acting is difficult.