Misa Kuranaga and Joseph Walsh in Ashton's Marguerite and Armand // © Reneff-Olson Productions *** Local Caption *** Footman: Cooper Meeks


Things Have Changed

Due to the fact that ballet originated in Europe, it might not have felt authentic to some Asians, the principal dancer at the San Francisco Ballet explains. Things, however, are different today according to her. And, now that she feels free to dance beyond aesthetics, Misa Kuranaga discloses why she has no regrets, what’s the secret to be a good turner and why she returned to San Francisco after sixteen years

by Alessandro Bizzotto

You can’t fail to notice her refined beauty, her elegance, at the outset. Yet there is much more about Misa Kuranaga. Her dynamic and exquisite technique catapulted her into the worldwide limelight of the dance scene, especially after becoming the first Asian person to be promoted to principal dancer at Boston Ballet. In addition, she combines versatility, strength and virtuosity with impressive stylistic accuracy.

Born in Osaka, Japan, and initially trained at the Jinushi Kaoru Ballet School, she later received further training in New York, at the School of American Ballet.

Misa Kuranaga in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote // © Erik Tomasson

A solid reputation of strong technicienne, 182.000 followers on Instagram, an internationally known masterclass about how to do fouetté turns, Kuranaga is probably what you call a ballet star today.

After her beginning at San Francisco Ballet, she flew to the East Coast to join Boston Ballet, where she was promoted to principal in 2009. That year, she danced Balanchine’s Serenade with New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Ten years later, she returned to San Francisco as a principal.

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