The Robert F. Parker Principal Dancer
Shanghai Dance School
National Ballet School of Canada
Promoted to Principal
I love ballets that tell a story
A Defining Moment
Meeting and working with Irina Kolpakova as my coach!
Born in Aichi, Japan, Yuriko Kajiya began her training at the age of eight. At ten, she moved to China and became one of the first foreign students to study with and graduate from the Shanghai Ballet School on scholarship. During her stay in China, Kajiya performed many times on Chinese national television.
In 1997, at age 13, Ms. Kajiya won the Best Performance Award in the senior category at the Tao Li Bei National Ballet Competition. In 1999, she became one of the youngest finalists at the Third International Ballet Competition in Nagoya. In January 2000, she won the renowned Prix de Lausanne Scholarship which enabled her to study at the National Ballet of Canada School in Toronto.
Ms. Kajiya starred in the 2007 documentary Passion Across a Continent in Japan. She also appeared on the Tokyo Talk Show and presented the American Ballet Theatre documentary Dancers. She has performed as a guest in Japan dancing Odette in Swan Lake, Act II and A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as appearing in galas at the West Virginia Dance Festival, Santa Fe Festival, Chicago Dancing Festival, Hope and Pride Gala of Japan, New National Ballet Gala and Prix de Lausanne. Most recently, she appeared in a 90-minute documentary entitled Yuriko: Ballerina.
Ms. Kajiya joined American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company in September 2001. She became an apprentice with the main Company in 2002 and was promoted to the corps de ballet in June. She was appointed a soloist with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in August 2007.
Her repertoire includes Gamzatti and first and second Shades variations in La Bayadère; Blossom in Cinderella; Aurora in Coppélia; Gulnare and an Odalisque in Le Corsaire; Kitri, Amour and a Flower Girl in Don Quixote; Giselle, Zulma and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle; Valencienne in The Merry Widow; Clara and the Grand Pas de Deux in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker; Clara in Kevin McKenzie's The Nutcracker; Olga in Onegin; Henrietta in Raymonda; Princess Florine, the Lilac Fairy, the Fairy of Joy and the Fairy of Fervor in The Sleeping Beauty; the pas de trois, cygnets, Polish Princess and Hungarian Princess in Swan Lake; the Waltz in Les Sylphides, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Miranda in The Tempest and leading roles in Baker's Dozen, Ballo della Regina, Birthday Offering, Brief Fling, Chamber Symphony, Dark Elegies, Désir, Diversion of Angels, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, In the Upper Room, The Leaves Are Fading, Overgrown Path, Petite Mort, Rabbit and Rogue, Seven Sonatas, Sinfonietta, Symphony in C and Theme and Variations. She created a leading role in Alexei Ratmansky's Dumbarton.
Ms. Kajiya joined Houston Ballet as a first soloist in 2014 and was promoted to principal dancer in November 2014 following her performance as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker.
Yuriko Kajiya is a lovely dancer with a combination of true lyricism and classical technique