Nao Sakuma

Principal
Sakuma Nao
Sakuma Nao
Sakuma Nao

Born: Fukuoka, Japan

Trained: Michiko Komori Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School

Joined: 1995; Principal, 2002

Guest performances: The lead roles in Scènes de ballet with The Royal Ballet, and in Swan Lake and Sylvia with the National Ballet of Japan. 

Most important role: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, because it’s every dancer’s dream role and because I returned to dance in the role after having my baby in 2015.

Most challenging role: David Bintley created the title role in Sylvia on me – it’s very challenging!

Most rewarding role: The Young Girl in The Two Pigeons – we had an amazing standing ovation which was an incredible feeling.

Favourite one-act ballet: Pineapple Poll because it’s so much fun.

Dream role: the lead role in MacMillan’s Manon.

Created roles: David BintleyConcert Fantasy (lead role) and The Seasons ('Spring')

Awards: Special Jury Prize, Jackson Ballet Competition, 1998; Critics' Circle Award nomination, 2001.

Guest appearances: The Royal Ballet (Scènes de ballet); The Star Dancers Ballet, Japan (Coppélia, Giselle, The Nutcracker).

REPERTORY INCLUDES 

Frederick Ashton: La Fille mal gardée (Lise), The Two Pigeons (Gypsy Girl, Young Girl), The Dream (Titania), Scènes de ballet (Lead role), Symphonic Variations, Les Rendezvous (lead role) and Voices of Spring
George Balanchine: Apollo (Polyhymnia), The Four Temperaments (Theme 1 and Melancholic Variation), Tarantella, Tchaikovsky pas de deux, Mozartiana (lead role) and Western Symphony
David Bintley: Arthur (Guinevere), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Sylvia (title role), Aladdin (Princess Badr al-Budur), Hobson's Choice (Salvation Army), Carmina burana (Roast Swan), The Nutcracker Sweeties (Candy Kane, Arabesque Cookie), Les Petits Riens (lead role), The Shakespeare Suite (Juliet) Choros, Cyrano (Roxane), The Dance House, 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café, and David Bintley and Galina Samsova's production of Giselle (Title role, 'Harvest pas de deux')
John Cranko: The Lady and the Fool (La Capricciosa), The Taming of the Shrew (Katherina)
Mikhail Fokine: The Firebird (title role)
Kit Holder: Small Worlds
Kenneth MacMillan: Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Elite Syncopations ('Bethena Concert Waltz'), La Fin du jour and Solitaire (Girl)
Marius Petipa: Diana and Acteon pas de deux and Don Quixote pas de deux
Twyla Tharp: Nine Sinatra Songs ('One for My Baby') and In the Upper Room
Ninette de Valois: Checkmate (Black Queen)
Peter Wright's productions of Coppélia (Swanilda, 'Dawn'), The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy, Rose Fairy), The Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora, Enchanted Princess, Fairy of Temperament, pas de quatre), and Peter Wright and Galina Samsova's production of Swan Lake (Odette/Odile)