Endowment

The Anita B. Stude Principal Dancer

Birthplace

Osaka, Japan

Dance Training

Soda Ballet School (Osaka, Japan)
Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy
Houston Ballet II

Year Joined

2008

Promotions

Principal - 2019
First Soloist - 2017
Soloist - 2014
Demi Soloist - 2013

Favorite Ballets/Roles

Marie by Stanton Welch AM
Onegin by John Cranko

Bio

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 as an apprentice after being in Houston Ballet II.  She rose through the ranks as demi soloist in 2013, soloist in 2014, and first soloist in 2017.  She was promoted to principal in March 2019 after dancing the title role in Stanton Welch’s Sylvia.  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 Sir 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 Stanton Welch's Sons de L'âme (Sounds of the Soul), both in 2013.  She danced Sons de L'âme (The Chopin Dance Project) on tour with pianist Lang Lang and the Company at the famousThéâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, France in October 2013.   In 2018 Welch created the pas de deux role in Act 3 of his world premiere of Just on Ms. Iijima, a commission from Jacob’s Pillow.  The same year she toured with the Company to Dubai, UAE to perform Odette/Odile in Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake.  For the Company’s 50th anniversary in 2019, Ms. Iijima was featured in an original role for Chinese choreographer Disha Zhang’s first American ballet commission Elapse.

In January 2013, she was selected by Dance Magazine as one of their "25 to Watch," following a promotion to demi soloist.  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."  Ms. Iijima’s performance in Stanton Welch’s world premiere of Just at Jacob’s Pillow was featured by Pointe Magazine as one of their “Standouts of 2018”.

Ms. Iijima, first soloists Allison Miller and Mónica Gómez were featured in portraits in mid-jeté en avant for C. Finley’s Sky Dance mural in downtown Houston, Texas in 2018.  Sky Dance is Houston’s largest mural celebrating the city’s arts and culture in vibrant color and femininity.  The mural is meant to evoke empowerment and joy and is located at 1415 Louisiana Street with the dimensions of 230 feet wide and 130 feet tall.

 

Ms. Iijima was featured in the September issue of Vogue “34 Starts Who Continue to Shine on a Global Stage” and June issue of Vogue Japan about beauty in 2018.  She is the Chanel ‘Code Coco” beauty campaign ambassador.  Ms. Iijima partnered with French director Lola Partel-Olivia as both choreographer and dancer to create The Fifth Sense. 5 Paradoxes inspired by Chanel Nº5 L’Eau in partnership with Chanel in 2017.  In 2019 she was photographed for Vanina Sorrenti’s Violet Book cover story in Japan.

"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."

Nancy Wozny

Dance Magazine

Photos

Emma Forrester

Soo Youn Cho