As the Tokyo Ballet concludes its 50th Anniversary Season to favorable reviews and looks forward to further success in the years ahead, it would like to announce that its long-time prima ballerina, Yukari Saito, will take up the position of Artistic Director on August 1 of this year.
When Yukari Saito takes over from current Artistic Director Munetaka Iida in August, she will have primary responsibility for the selection and casting of dancers. She will also conduct daily rehearsals and do everything she can to enhance the artistic aspects of the company. Iida will become ballet master and assistant to General Director Tadatsugu Sasaki, as well as overall manager of the ballet troupe and ballet school.
Ever since joining the Tokyo Ballet as a principal in 1987, Yukari Saito has performed leading roles in a wide range of repertoire, winning accolades from critics both in Japan and overseas. She is well-known for dancing leading roles in La Sylphide and Don Quixote, and her 2010 performance in the Tokyo Ballet's first production of Onegin allowed her the opportunity for a stunning display of acting talent, which brought her the highest acclaim. This performance led to her receiving the Purple Ribbon Award for Artistic Achievement from the Japanese government, one of the many honors and awards she has received during her career.
In order to qualify as a ballet instructor, she enrolled in the Ballet Master and Instructor Course at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography and graduated at the head of her class. After that, she became the assistant to choreographer Pierre Lacotte as he mounted a production of La Sylphide at the Moscow Musical Theater Ballet. Two years ago, she built upon this experience to offer enthusiastic coaching to the young performers in the Tokyo Ballet's own production of La Sylphide. In September of last year, choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev chose her to direct and oversee all aspects of Don Quixote until he arrived in Japan.
In addition to her wide-ranging career as a dancer, Yukari Saito has had many enriching experiences outside the ballet company and has cultivated an impressive network of professional contacts. Everyone has great expectations for her and for the future growth and development of the Tokyo Ballet.
We hope that you will continue your unwavering support of the Tokyo Ballet as it enters a new phase of its existence on August 1.
(The Japan Performing Arts Foundation (NBS) / The Tokyo Ballet)