Amitava Sarkar

Houston Ballet Principal Yuriko Kajiya's Style Is Infused With Selections From Abroad

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2015 issue of Pointe.

Though she's lived in the U.S. for 14 years, Houston Ballet's Yuriko Kajiya still does most of her shopping at home in Japan. “It's always fun to go shopping with my mom," she says. “We're like girlfriends." When her busy rehearsal schedule prevents her from making a trip in person, she asks her mother to send clothes in the mail. Kajiya likes simple, sophisticated pieces that add height and length. “As a ballerina you're always trying to make your lines look longer," she says. “I think that translates to street fashion for me." In her rehearsal wear, she keeps her partners in mind. “I definitely think about what I have to rehearse that day and try to be considerate," she says. That means choosing leotards with cotton in them (they slip less), and functional styles. “Leotards with really low backs are very pretty, but I only wear them in class," she says—it's harder for a partner to have a firm hold on bare skin. Above all, she tries to keep her look original. “I want to be a little bit different," she says. “I think that's another reason I like to shop in Japan."


Amitava Sarkar

The Details—Street

Sweater from Japan: “My mom sent this to me. I love the flowiness. It reminds me of something I would wear onstage for sure."

Heels: “I rarely wear flat shoes. I think with my hyperextension, it's easier to have a little bit of a heel."

Morpho bag: “When I was younger, I loved the concept of wearing black because it looks more adult, but now I enjoy playing with color. I use a bright red bag to have a little pop."


Amitava Sarkar

The Details—Studio

Chacott leotard: “Chacotts are from Japan, and they're beautifully made. They're very delicate and soft on your skin."

Tutu: “When I left American Ballet Theatre, the dancers chose this for me as a gift. It makes me feel good because of all the memories." Kajiya removes her warm-ups for rehearsal so her lines are more visible.

Capezio pointe shoes: “Your feet change as you get stronger and older, so my special order is slightly different every year."

Latest Posts


Cory Weaver, Courtesy San Francisco Opera

Dancing Divas: How Performing in Operas Can Be a Career High Note

From the flamenco of Carmen to the sprites of Rusalka, dance plays a supporting role in countless operas—and opera can play a significant part in a ballet dancer's career. Pointe went behind the curtain with three dancers whose artistic paths have led them to the opera world.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
James Barkley, Courtesy Dance for Change

Take Class From Celebrated Black Dancers and Raise Money for the NAACP Through Dance for Change

Since the nationwide fight against racial inequality took center stage in May, organizations across the dance world have been looking for meaningful ways to show their support, rather than fall back on empty social media signifiers. July 10-11, Diamante Ballet Dancewear is taking action with Dance for Change, a two-day event dedicated to fundraising for the NAACP, and amplifying the voices of Black professional dancers.

Organized by Diamante Ballet Dancewear's founder, Nashville Ballet 2 dancer Isichel Perez, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre teacher Elise Gillum, Dance for Change makes it easy to participate. Dancers need only to make a donation to the NAACP (in any amount) and email proof to diamante.ballet@gmail.com to be given online access to a full schedule of Zoom master classes taught by Black pros artists. Teachers include Ballet Memphis' George Sanders, Boston Ballet's Daniel Durrett, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Corey Bourbonniere, and more. "It's important that we amplify BIPOC voices during this time, and it's also important that we're conscious of where we're putting our dollars," says Bourbonniere. "Diamante is doing both with Dance for Change, and I'm honored to be in this talented group of melanated dancers."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Houston Ballet's "Dancing With Myself" Captures How We All Feel Right Now

What are dancers to do when they're still stuck at home in isolation? After all, there's only so much time you can spend taking barre, tackling your reading list (or Netflix queue) or ticking items off your to-do list. Even wistfully looking out the window has lost its appeal after a few months.

That's when you need a dance party—even it's for a party of one.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks