Meet Eri Chikusa of Go 2 Talent Agency
I started as a ballet dancer when I was 5 years old in my hometown in Japan. I was a ballerina for 5 years; however, my school got busy so I ended up quitting. After 11 years, I restarted my dance journey. I was a basketball player in my middle school, and even though I was really into it, my dream back then was to become a backup dancer for this one artist group there; they have dancers and singer in a group and perform as a whole. When I was in high school, I started to train in Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Lock, House, and Krump in those three years to experience as much as I can.
Then, I moved to Tokyo for university(it was kind of my excuse to train in tokyo), trained under s**t kingz, a world widely well-known Japanese dance artist team, Yoshiki, dancer who experience so many stages as a back up dancers in Japan, and many more well known choreographers. By training those years, I discovered dance community in LA through YouTube such as Brian Puspos, Shaun Evaristo, Ian Eastwood, Jonny Erazme, Amanda Grind, Lyle Beniga and many more. My feeling wanting to train in LA was born, and I decided to travel back and forth Japan and LA from 2013 to 2015 to train there.
Through that, I met Keone and Mari Madrid, who are well known choreographer/dancer from San Diego, in Japan. I fell in love with their perspective in dance, and wanted to train/dance with them. I needed that to become true. So when I was visiting to LA, I tripped down to SD just to train with them. After building relationship with them, I had an idea to move to the US. One day, I saw the IG post saying Keone and Mari are going to leave their professional dance team, Choreo Cookies, and I decided to move to the states. I didn’t want to wait any more to make a move. Remind you, I was attending university at the time, and i was third year; however, I decided to leave there.
6 months later from that point, I was here in the states. I first was training in LA, but I ended up moving to San Diego because I wanted to train with Keone and Mari, as well as, wanted to join Choreo Cookies. I worked hard to become a part of San Diego dance community ,but at the same time, it was such an organic process. It happened really naturally. I was given opportunities to perform with San Diego community dancers in many places such as Bay area, worked with Keone and Mari, trained so much both in SD and LA to grow and become a better dancer.
In the end of 2017, I became a member of Choreo Cookies which is my dream team, world winning dance team, the team that Keone and Mari was on, as a first international member. Through this experience, I want to tell all international folks who want to achieve their dream that nothing is impossible.
From there, it was just ups and ups. I got to travel to Singapore for performing dance show and teaching there, went to Canada as a guest performer, performed in many competitions and winning or placing them and many more. Aside from achievements with Choreo Cookies, I was able to work with Sorah Yang, a choreographer, still going back to Japan and worked with Ian Eastwood, Keone and Mari, and many more.
In 2019, I was able to sign with one of greatest agency in the US, Go 2 Talent Agency. This whole journey connected to this moment. GTA resonate with my personal work ethic, and I truly admire all the talents there; I became one of them. From that point, I was able to work with paid jobs here in LA such as be a part of Daddy Yankee’s Music Video, which has 672 million views, performing at Latin AMA with Daddy Yankee, performing with Amber Liu at Unforgettable Gala, and so on.
Honestly, no. As a person from Japan, there is a language boundary. Even though I’m more fluent than majority of Japanese people here, there are still inside jokes that I can’t get during rehearsals. As well as, I didn’t have real friends here when I first moved(the only relationships I had back then was all those choreographers because I’ve met them prior to moving here, so in daily life out side of class room setting or rehearsal setting, there are only few people I could hang out with. To sum up, the hardest part of me was trying to be in the community and connecting with them.
In terms of dancing, there are a lot of talented dancers in LA/SD. The environment is really different from Japan too, as well as LA dance scene and SD dance community are very different. So for a long time, I was comparing myself to others until I accept myself as a dancer and finding my own strength and uniqueness. This applied when I attend to auditions too. I am a short young looking Asian(most of Asian looks young in general but). So I had to compete with all the surroundings in those competitive space. It is not easy. You need to know yourself, confident about yourself, and being okey to be true to yourself. After I was able to accept that, there were no scary thing. I just go out there, and be myself.
I belong to GTA as a professional dancer/performer. I think the most proud of being this agency/company and their strength is that they can get really personal to me, understand what I want to do as a dancer in the industry, and how I wanted to be represented by them. Most of agency doesn’t do it, unfortunately. If I don’t want to go to the audition which I need to be half naked and dance, they don’t force me to go. They actually believe in my talent. They trust me. They give opportunities specific to talents.
What sets me apart from others is that I have been in professional dance team for years. Being a part of consisted by 25+ members requires you to be selfless. Meaning that I know how to dance clean, but also I know how to express myself when the time is right. I notice that these days, they are so many dancers who can express themselves so well, which is important, but there are less dancers who can dance clean which requires in professional jobs; you need to know both. I know how to be selfless and dance as a unit, that sets me apart from others.
I define success as my happiness. I believe that if jobs don’t make me happy even though I would have much income, it’s is not success to me. I rather go through hard/tough times, rocky roads to get to what I want to do in my life with dancing than book jobs which don’t resonate my persona as a dancer. I like to work towards such goals, and often time, I don’t see that situation where I go through hard time as a negative thing. I would enjoy the process, and take those as a “challenge.” My success is also making my love ones happy with my jobs or what I do. Whether that is with my income, or just making them proud what I do. As long as my love ones see me and feel some kind of happiness, that is also my success to me. I hope it does make sense!