Nao Kusuzaki

BAllet Faculty

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Nao Kusuzaki was born in Ehime prefecture, Japan and began her ballet lessons at 3 years old at Yatsuzuka Ballet school. After moving to the U.S. at age 10, she continued her training with The Washington School of Ballet and Boston Ballet School.

Nao became a member of Corps de Ballet with Boston Ballet in 2001. In 2004 she joined Houston Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in 2009. She has danced numerous leading roles in both classical and contemporary repertoire. Some of her featured roles include: The Sugarplum Fairy and The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Nikiya in La Bayadere, Madame Butterfly in Madame Butterfly, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, and Falling Angels, William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, and Mark Morris’s Pacific. Most recently, she was invited to stage Swan Lake and and perform Odette/Odile with Victoria Ballet Theater in March, 2019.

Nao is also active in the Houston community through producing Dance for Hope, a benefit Concert in response to Japan Earthquake of 2011, co-creating TSURU with Asia Society Texas Center in 2015, and directing and dancing The 45th Anniversary Ballet Performance celebrating Houston and Chiba Sister City Relations, which premiered in July 22, 2017. In November, 2017, she directed and danced in the revival of TSURU at the Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, TX, where Nao was commended by the Consulate General, Japan. Nao is Founder of Creative Minds Collaborative Inc., a nonprofit organization which seeks to create meaning across artists, educators, and supporters of the arts utilizing dance as the main medium.