Matsuyama Ballet

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Japanese ballet company based in Tokyo. A family-run enterprise, it was founded in 1948 by the ballerina Mikiko Matsuyama. Her husband, Masao Shimizu, was director, while she became artistic director. Today their son Tetsutaro Shimizu is director and chief choreographer, while his wife Yoko Morishita was the company's prima ballerina. The company has always toured internationally, including to China and the US. Its early repertory featured works with strongly political themes including the 1958 revolutionary ballet The White-Haired Girl (which was especially popular with the Communist Chinese government) and Gion Festival (Gion Matsuri), a work choreographed by Taneo Ishida, which dealt with an uprising against the ruler of Kyoto in medieval Japan. Today the company dances a more traditional repertoire, blending 19th-century classics such as Giselle and Swan Lake with works by 20th-century choreographers such as Balanchine. Shimizu has also sought to incorporate elements of Japanese culture into the ballet, most notably in 1987 with his Mandala, a love story between a young Catholic girl and a young Buddhist artist, which was staged at the Edinburgh Festival in 1988. Mikiko Matsuyama retired from the stage in 1978 but continued as artistic director. The company has an associated school.

Subjects: Dance.

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