Year Promoted to First Soloist
Year Promoted to Principal
Born in Osaka, Japan, Nozomi Iijima trained at Soda Ballet School in Japan and at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy.
She joined the company in 2008, and was promoted to first soloist in 2017. She has danced such principal roles as the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and as Princess Badr al-Budar in David Bintley's Aladdin in 2014. In May 2014, she performed the leading female role in the climactic pas de deux of William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated. In 2013, she created the leading female role in the world premiere of Stanton Welch's The Rite of Spring. She has also created roles in Garrett Smith's Return and in Mr. Welch's Sons de l'âme (Sounds of the Soul), both in 2013.
In January 2013, she was selected by Dance Magazine as one of their "25 to Watch," with writer Nancy Wozny observing, "Nozomi Iijima is the pocket-sized wonder of Houston Ballet. Don't let her tiny frame fool you, Iijima knows how to take up space, whether it be on the ground in artistic director Stanton Welch's jittery Divergence or the air space of his exotic Tu Tu....Her exacting quickness makes her an ideal Stanton Welch ballerina."