Born in Nara, Japan, Yonen Takano trained at The Tokyo Ballet School and Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia. After graduating in 2011, he joined The Mikhailovsky Theatre Ballet and later danced with State Ballet of Georgia as Principal Dancer before joining Hong Kong Ballet as Coryphée in 2021 and became Soloist in 2022.
With HKB, he has danced the Nutcracker, Cavalier, Lead Peacock and White Tiger in Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker, the Prince in Webre’s Cinderella, Fairy Carabosse and Courage Fairy’s Cavalier in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Mad Hatter and Dodo Bird in Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland). His notable roles include Prince Siegfried in Alexei Fadeyechev’s Swan Lake, Albrecht in Fadeyechev’s Giselle, Prince Desire and Blue Bird in Fadeyechev’s The Sleeping Beauty, Basilio in Fadeyechev’s Don Quixote, Prince and French Doll in Vassily Vainonen’s The Nutcracker, Romeo and Mercutio in Mikhail Lavrovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. Takano also danced in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux and Serenade, Jiří Kylián’s Petit Mort and Sarabande and in works by Nacho Duato, Alexei Ratmansky, Mikhail Fokine, Jorma Elo, Trey McIntyre and Yuri Possokhov, among others.
He has guest performed with world-renowned prima ballerinas like Nina Ananiashvili in Europe and Japan and was awarded the Danseur Noble Prize at the 2014 Korean International Ballet Competition and finalist diplomas at the 2014 Arabesque International Ballet Competition and the 2013 Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Competition. Takano was also a finalist at the 2012 Helsinki International Ballet Competition.
1. Why do you dance?
I don’t need any reason to dance. Do you need a reason to eat? I think dance is essential for all human beings.
2. Why did you start dancing?
I was amazed how Mr Kumakawa Tetsuya danced on a TV programme when I was 7. I could not leave the TV screen. The next day I asked my mum to take me to ballet class.
3. What was the first ballet you ever performed?
As a professional, The Sleeping Beauty by Nacho Duato. I was dancied Corps de Ballet there, and as a principal, Basilio from Don Quixote.
4. Most memorable/weird onstage moment and why?
Invisible by Nacho Duato. It was my first solo performance, and other dancers I shared that stage with were stars I looked up to.
5. How do you unwind after a show?
Wine and sleep!!
6. Where do you feel most yourself?
Of course on stage!!
7. What would you be if you were not a dancer?
8. What’s your personal style?
I love Comme des Garçons and Shanghai Tang.
9. What is your favourite movie/book?
Movie: Farewell my concubine by Chen Kaige and In the mood for Love by Wong Kar Wai Book: My name is Red by Orphan Pamuk, Silence by Shusaku Endo.
10. Who is your favourite dancer?
Too many. But I have worked with great stars very closely like Leonid Sarafanov, Andrey Batalov, Marcelo Gomes, and Nina Ananiashvili. They all inspired me a lot.