Dancing Spotlight - Motivational & Inspirational Jo Carta
This week, I got the chance to speak with the motivational and inspirational Joseph Carta;
dancer, dance teacher, international judge, model, influencer…the list continues. With a finger in every pie, Jo certainly lives life at 100 miles an hour. However, as Taiwan are currently enduring a lockdown due to rising Covid-19 cases, I was intrigued to discover how life has changed for Jo, and what the future holds.
Jo originally hails from Sardinia, Italy and now lives in Taipei, Taiwan. With a large following of 14.6k followers on Instagram, I wanted to find out where it all began.
“I started dancing at 6. Growing up I tried theatre, just for fun. I then met a girl who was a Latin American dancer and fell in love with her, went to the studio and decided I wanted to dance. I always loved music and the way it made me feel; happy and free to express myself.”
Wanting no handouts, Jo went to work with his Dad in construction to pay for him and his sisters’ dancing, with whom he had danced for 16 years.
“I then started competing in Italy and around Europe. I met Espen Salberg who became family to me, then everything became more international.”
Espen Salberg is a former Professional International Latin Champion and Blackpool Amateur. He is seen as the most desired Ballroom dance teacher in the dance world, as well as a prestigious fashion designer.
It was clear that Espen meant a great deal to Jo: “He became a father figure to me.”
I was intrigued at what stimulated the move to Taiwan.
“I used to live in Bali, but then Espen moved to Tokyo. I worked in Taipei a lot, and my dance partner was over there, so I decided to move. I love Bali, but it’s too relaxing to live there; it’s not like real life. Taipei is a city and I love the culture.”
Having gotten to grips with his journey, I understood that Jo lived a very fast-paced lifestyle, which lead me on to asking him: “How do you stay motivated to dance and stay positive during lockdown?”
He responded, without hesitation: “I keep dancing throughout lockdown because it is my passion. I like to be positive, because everything will be fine sooner or later, if I feel down it doesn’t change anything that’s happening. I often find lockdown challenging, but I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m lucky, because I have students that care about me and call me to see if I need anything. Of course, I miss going out with my friends - drinking, going to restaurants and parties. I also haven’t seen my family (whom are in North Sardinia, Italy) since December 2020.”
“I’ve been saving a lot of money by not shopping, as only essential shops are open, although I believe the shopping mall is opening soon. It’s the first full lockdown in Taiwan and Taipei is like a ghost town.”
Lockdown aside, I was interested in getting to know more about Jo’s other working activities, such as his modelling and influencing.
“I didn’t used to care about Instagram and Facebook, I was working a lot and didn’t have the time. In lockdown, I’m barely sleeping because I’m always up until 5/6am, researching for socials like TikTok & Instagram; what influencers do, what people like & dislike etc. I’ve also been asked to be a part of a Taiwanese modelling when everything is back to normal.”
For 4/5 months, he has also been working with an Italian wine company - he imports and sells to restaurants and bars, now direct to clients in lockdown – whilst making commission in doing so: “I’m open minded and ready to do many things.”
Jo naturally has a great appreciation of Hand Made in Italy. Being a first class Latin dance teacher in Taiwan, it makes perfect sense that we welcome Jo onto our Anita Flavina Dance Shoes team as one of our Taiwanese agents.
Jo ‘’I am is delighted to represent the true quality and essence of Italian authenticity, style and passion. And what better way than launching Italian wine and dance shoes in the country and friends of my adopted home, Taiwan.’’
Jo speaks very good English, and I was surprised when he mentioned that 10 years ago, he couldn’t speak a word of it.
“When I went on my first trip to Singapore, my first dance partner was from Chicago. When we met, I didn’t know any English and we were literally communicating through body language. I learnt most of my English from her; at first it was very frustrating as I love to talk but I didn’t want to say anything wrong. I then got over this and realised everyone needs to learn, so I let myself.”
Impressively, he also can speak Indonesian.
During our video call, Jo pointed out his backdrop, which was a beautiful fabric jungle wall, which he believes relates to himself.
“I didn’t want a ‘normal’ wall. I love nature and water; it makes me feel more myself, perhaps because of living in Bali. I love to be different and don’t like to follow fashion. If you are watching my (Instagram) stories, it means you like it in some form so right or wrong, you can’t stop me.”
He goes on to link this to his teaching style, and how it may differ to others: “When teaching, a student may speak badly of another teacher; I don’t like to speak badly of other teachers because everyone is different, and everyone has their own way. I’m not perfect! Same with Instagram and TikTok, I like to improvise and post something wrong; why do people always need to see perfect? “
I found his demeanour inspiring, as this is an issue I often reflect on myself. Social media can come with a huge pressure to be perfect, Jo refuses to conform to this.
To finish our discussion, I had to ask: “What are you most looking forward to when coming out of lockdown?”
“The first thing I’m looking forward to is seeing my students. I love teaching. When I teach, I don’t even look at the time and I don’t care about going overtime, my students support me. The second thing is to be free and to be able to go out with my friends in the evenings. I am also excited to meet new people…this is my thing. I always want to meet new people from different cultures and countries, I can never meet enough people!”
From our 45-minute conversation, I found Jo Carta to be a hard-working, determined individual with an exciting personality, of whom certainly has a bright future ahead of him. I look forward to seeing what is next for Jo!