Tokyo Ballet

Tokyo Ballet is dance company based in Tokyo, Japan, and founded in 1964. Tokyo Ballet performs works of Eastern and Western dance, including classical ballet and neoclassical ballet works. It is one of the leading performing arts companies in Japan; as of 2010, it has given over 680 performances internationally, on 23 tours.[1]

Tokyo Ballet
General information
NameTokyo Ballet
Year founded1964
Principal venueTokyo Bunka Kaikan Theatre
WebsiteOfficial Website
Senior staff
DirectorTadatsugu Sasaki
Artistic staff
Artistic DirectorMunetaka Iida
Deputy DirectorNaoki Takagishi
Ballet MistressHiroko Tomoda
Artists (Corps de Ballet)


European classical ballet, heavily influenced by Russian methods, was introduced to Japan following the end of World War II. By 1959, there were at least 18 classical ballet schools found in Tokyo run by ballet companies, with perhaps 100 throughout Japan.[2]

Tokyo Ballet was founded in 1964. It began as a performance company for graduates of one of Tokyo's first classical ballet schools, Tokyo Ballet Gakko. It was soon directed by Tadatsugu Sasaki. Sasaki envisioned a large company with well-trained ensemble dancers, and developed ties to the international ballet community. By 1966, the company embarked on its first foreign tour, to Russia, where it was well received.[3]

The company's first European tour took place in 1970. International ballet companies were soon brought to perform in Tokyo, and Tokyo Ballet expanded its international touring. The cultural exchange included work with international choreographer. Tokyo Ballet currently has 15 works by Maurice Béjart in its repertory;[4] Béjart bequeathed much of the performing rights to his works to Tokyo Ballet.


Tokyo Ballet's repertory of classics includes The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Fille du Danube, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, Swan Lake, La Sylphide (Bournonville), La Bayadère, and Les Sylphides (Fokine). The company has also performed modern choreographed works, including Le Palais de Cristal, Theme and Variation, and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 by George Balanchine. Le Spectre de la Rose and Petrushka choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, and Afternoon of a Faun (Nijinsky) were performed in 2006.

Tokyo Ballet has had the rare opportunity of having a number of original works created for it by prominent choreographers: Maurice Béjart's The Kabuki (1986), M (1993), Bugaku (1989); John Neumeier's Seven Haiku of the Moon (1989), Seasons: The Colors of Time (2000), and Jirí Kylián's Perfect Conception (1994).[5]

In 2010 the company premiered John Cranko’s Onegin and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sylvia.[6]


In addition to a regular corps of dancers, Tokyo Ballet has seven Principals and eight Solo Artists (as of 2014).

See also


  1. Linda (June 15, 2010). "The Tokyo Ballet in Rehearsal". The Ballet Bag. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  2. "Newman Wolsey Ltd., 1959". Ballet Today (Digitized)|format= requires |url= (help). Indiana University: Newman Wolsey Ltd. 12: 25. 1959.
  3. Linda (June 15, 2010). "The Tokyo Ballet in Rehearsal". The Ballet Bag. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  5. "History of the Tokyo Ballet". The Tokyo Ballet. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  6. Linda (June 15, 2010). "The Tokyo Ballet in Rehearsal". The Ballet Bag. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
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