Kazuko Hirabayashi

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Kazuko Hirabayashi (October 18, 1933 – March 25, 2016) was a dance teacher and choreographer. She was born in Japan, where she completed her college education before going to New York to enroll in the Juilliard school.

Early life and education[edit]

Hirabayashi was born in Nagoya, Japan on October 18, 1933. She received a college bachelor of science degree before leaving Japan for the United States. At the Juilliard School she studied with Martha Graham, José Limón, and Antony Tudor.[1]

Dance and teaching career[edit]

Hirabayashi formed her own dance troupe in 1965 with Richard Kuch and Richard Gain, both dancers in the Martha Graham technique. In 1967 she founded her own Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater. She also was for a time director of the Graham school and director of the junior troupe of the Martha Graham Ensemble.[1]

She had a long legacy as a teacher.[2] She began teaching at Juilliard in 1968, and then was hired as a founding faculty member of the Dance Division at SUNY Purchase in 1972. Among her students were Ohad Naharin, director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, and Robert Swinston, of the Merce Cunningham company.[1]

Many of her choreographed works were premiered at SUNY Purchase and Juilliard.[3] Her works, and those of other choreographers, were performed by her troupe.[4]


In 2012, she learned that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She died at age 82 in 2016.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Kisselgoff, Anna (April 7, 2016). "Kazuko Hirabayashi, 82, Choreographer and Dance Mentor". New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (2016-04-05). "Kazuko Hirabayashi, Choreographer and Dancers' Mentor, Dies at 82". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  3. ^ Memories from the Juilliard Archives
  4. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (March 18, 2008). "A Dark and Stormy Night and a Crucible of Emotions". New York Times. Retrieved 7 April 2016.

External links[edit]