Masako Ono

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Masako Ono
Born Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Dancer
Years active 1996–present
Dances Odissi, Contemporary

Masako Ono (小野 雅子?, Ono Masako) is a Japanese Odissi dancer.[1] She has lived in India since 1996.[2]

Ono was selected as one of the 100 most respected and outstanding Japanese in the world in their respective fields by the Japanese issue of Newsweek in 2008, and was featured in a documentary series, First Japanese.[3]


Ono started dancing at the age of 4 under the instructor Masako Yokoi, the only Japanese modern dance graduate from the Martha Graham Dance School in the United States.[4] She also trained in western classical ballet at the Matsuyama Ballet in Tokyo, and studied jazz dance and hip hop at the K-Broadway Dance Center, Tokyo.[citation needed]

In 1996, Ono joined Nrityagram, the dance village in India started by the noted Odissi dancer, Late Protima Gauri, and won a scholarship for her studies. She initially received training in Odissi from Protima and continued her training from Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy after Protima's death.[5] She also attended classes in Yoga, Kalaripayattu and Mayurbhanj Chhau dance, and participated in workshops held at Nrityagram by Wolfgang Theatre, Paul Taylor 2 Company, The Expressions, Asha Coorlawala and Robert Williams.[citation needed]

After five years of training in Odissi and yoga, she left Nrityagram to become a solo performer. She has been living in Orissa, India since then, and received further training in Odissi from the Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena, and Guru Naba Kishore Mishra.[6]

Since 2001, Ono has been based at Bhubaneswar, India, as a professional Odissi dancer and yoga teacher, collaborating with dancers, musicians and artists from India and abroad. She had her first Manch Pravesh (debut as a soloist) at Habitat Centre in the year 2003 and is now working on her own choreography pieces that are a blend of tantra, yoga and classical Indian dance.[7]

She has performed and given lecture-demonstrations and workshops in India, Japan, United States, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Australia, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. She has also performed for two Prime Ministers of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi in 2005 and Shinzo Abe in 2006.[8] In 2008, she participated in a contemporary dance project with Boi Shakti and Gerard Mostard.[citation needed]

Ono also trains other Odissi dancers and directs Masako Ono Performing Arts (MOPA) in India and Japan. In 2010, she launched the MUDRA Foundation to support the efforts of international artists working to help underprivileged children in India.[citation needed]


Pieces choreographed by Masako Ono include Frozen Grace, Dance of the Crane, Divinity Within - Tantrik Prayer, Kundalini Stavah, and The Day Dream.[citation needed]

Professional milestones[edit]

  • Selected as one of the world's 100 most respected Japanese people in their respective fields by Newsweek Japan in 2008.[9]
  • NHK BS 1 produced a documentary film on Masako Ono as part of the First Japanese series in 2007.[10]
  • Performed for Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe, former Prime Ministers of Japan.[11]
  • Performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., USA in 2007.[12]


  1. ^ Rajan, Anjana (12 November 2010). "Face of India". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Married to a foreign culture". Financial Express. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Natyanjali Australia presents Masako Ono dance performance". The Japan Foundation, Sydney. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Dash, Jatindra. "Dance beyond boundaries". Gulf News. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Beckman, Rachel, "A Sinuous Bridge Over a Cultural Divide," Washington Post, 20 July 2006.
  6. ^ John, Karuna, "Power of Ono," Time Out Delhi, 2010.
  7. ^ "Alien feet that dances to Odissi," The Telegraph - Calcutta, 12 Nov 2010.
  8. ^ "Masako Ono,", retrieved 1 Feb 2011.
  9. ^ "100 most respected Japanese in the world," Newsweek Japan, 2007, 17:59. (in Japanese) Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "First Japanese" documentary film produced by NHK BS. (in Japanese)
  11. ^ "Masako Ono,", retrieved 1 Feb 2011.
  12. ^ "Masako Ono | Explore the Arts," Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 1 April 2007.

External links[edit]