Yuriko (dancer)

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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[edit]

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.[1] She began her dance training with Konami Ishil in Tokyo.,[2] and danced with the Konami Ishii Dance Company from 1930 - 1937.[2] [1]. In 1937, Yuriko returned to the United States and joined Dorothy Lyndall's Junior Dance Company in Los Angeles.[2]


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.[2] She was released in September 1943, whereupon she immediately moved to New York City.[3]

Martha Graham Dance Company[edit]

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.

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). She has also danced and acted on television and in motion pictures. She formed her own modern dance company in 1967, which remained active until 1973. She has also danced to works by Halim El-Dabh and Eugene Lester.


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.[citation needed]

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

Personal life[edit]

Yuriko married in 1946 and had two children.[3] She currently resides in Manhattan.


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


  1. ^ Greskovic, Robert (May 16, 2004). "Martha Graham's One-Name Muse". New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c International Dictionary of Modern Dance. Gale Biography in Context. 
  3. ^ <Asian Week Archived October 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]