Photo by:  Amitava Sarker

Photo by: Amitava Sarker

Nao Kusuzaki

Born in Ehime, Japan, Ms. Kusuzaki began her ballet training with Yatsuzuka Ballet. After moving to the U.S. at age 10, she trained with The Washington School of Ballet and Boston Ballet School. Ms. Kusuzaki‚Äôs professional career began with Boston Ballet (1999-2004), then with Houston Ballet (2004-2016) where she danced as a soloist from 2009. Her featured roles include: The Sugarplum Fairy and The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Nikiya in La Bayadere, Madame Butterfly and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, The Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, works by Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Stanton Welch, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, and Christopher Wheeldon among others. In addition to performing, Ms. Kusuzaki has produced Dance for Hope, a benefit concert in reaction to the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In 2015, she co-created and featured in TSURU, a contemporary ballet based on Japanese folk tale, commissioned by Asia Society Texas Center in partnership with Houston Ballet. In 2017, she has directed and danced in Chiba Houston Sister City 45th Anniversary Performance held in Chiba-City, Japan. Ms. Kusuzaki is currently a Senior with University of Houston, and President of Creative Minds Collaborative Inc., a nonprofit organization functioning as a platform for artists, educators, and supporters of the arts.