Yuriko (dancer)


Yuriko Kikuchi

(1920-02-02) February 2, 1920 (age 101)
San Jose, California, United States
OccupationDancer, choreographer
Known forMartha Graham Dance Company

Yuriko Kikuchi (born February 2, 1920), known to audiences by her stage name Yuriko, is an American dancer and choreographer. She is best known for her work with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Early life and career

Yuriko was born in San Jose, California in 1920, but her mother sent her to Japan in 1930 in order to escape an influenza epidemic in the United States that killed her father and sisters.[1][2] She began her dance training with Konami Ishii in Tokyo,[3] and danced with the Konami Ishii Dance Company from 1930 to 1937.[3] In 1937, Yuriko returned to the United States and joined Dorothy Lyndall's Junior Dance Company in Los Angeles.[3]


From 1941 to 1943, Yuriko was interned along with other Japanese Americans at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona, where she taught dance. She was released in September 1943, whereupon she immediately moved to New York City.

Later career

Yuriko joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1944 and continued with the company for the next 50 years. She danced in the first production of Graham's masterpiece, Clytemnestra, as well as in Appalachian Spring, Cave of the Heart and Dark Meadow. She has also reconstructed a number of Graham's dances such as Primitive Mysteries.[4]

In addition to her work in modern dance, Yuriko performed on Broadway in the original productions of The King and I (1951–54) and Flower Drum Song (1958–60) and directed the 1977-78 Broadway revival of The King and I.[5] She has also performed on television, and in motion pictures and danced to works by Halim El-Dabh and Eugene Lester. She taught famous dancers such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Miki Orihara.[2]

She formed her own modern dance company in 1967, which remained active until 1973.


In 1967, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in choreography.[6] In 1991, she won a Bessie Award.[citation needed] Yuriko was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Boston Conservatory in 2006.[7]

Yuriko received the Martha Hill Dance Fund Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.[8]

Personal life

Yuriko married in 1946 and had two children.[9] She currently resides in Manhattan.


  • 1956 - The King and I
  • 1957 - A Dancer's World
  • 1960 - Yuriko: Creation of a Dance


  1. ^ Greskovic, Robert (16 May 2004). "Martha Graham's One-Name Muse". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Magee, Seana K. (2013-06-08). "Dancer says imagination is key to a full life". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ a b c International Dictionary of Modern Dance. Gale Biography in Context.
  4. ^ Arlene Croce, Writing in the Dark, Dancing in the New Yorker. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. Print. pp. 194-195.
  5. ^ Yuriko, Internet Broadway Database, https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/yuriko-16566
  6. ^ "Yuriko Kikuchi". John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  7. ^ "Yuriko to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award". dancemagazine. 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  8. ^ Christopher Boyd, Boyd Design Studio/LLC. "Martha Hill Dance Fund, Ltd. • 2012 Awards Gala". www.marthahilldance.org. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  9. ^ <Asian Week Archived 10 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine

External links

  • Yuriko interview.