February 2, 1920
San Jose, California, United States
|Known for||Martha Graham Dance Company|
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. She began her dance training with Konami Ishii in Tokyo, and danced with the Konami Ishii Dance Company from 1930 to 1937. In 1937, Yuriko returned to the United States and joined Dorothy Lyndall's Junior Dance Company in Los Angeles.
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.
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.
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. 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.
She formed her own modern dance company in 1967, which remained active until 1973.
In 1967, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in choreography. In 1991, she won a Bessie Award. Yuriko was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Boston Conservatory in 2006.
Yuriko received the Martha Hill Dance Fund Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
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