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AKI SAITO

PRINCIPAL DANCER THE ROYAL BALLET OF FLANDERS

born and trained in Japan, Ms. Saito won the first prize at the Japanese Competition for Young Dancers in 1990. She also won the Gold medal at the Concours International de Dance in Houlgate, France, was awarded the Fresh Prize by the Board of Education of Iwate, Japan, and received a scholarship at the 1991 Prix de Lausanne which allowed her to train at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp.

In 1994 she joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders as a half soloist and became a first soloist in 1998. In 2004 she was promoted to the rank of principal and since then has danced all principal roles in the company’s classical and contemporary repertoire including a new version of Swan Lake created by Marcia Haydee for her and her partner Wim Wanlessen.
Ms. Saito is also a frequently invited guest artist to various international companies and gala performances.

She has appeared with Ballet de Santiago as well as in the Gala des Etoiles in Paris, Gala en Theatro Municipal, The Gala of Prix de Lausanne, DanceSalad in Huston, Texas, The Prague Ballet Gala, and The Aoyama Ballet Festival of Tokyo. She was also invited to dance at the international gala preceding the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano.

In addition, Ms. Saito has also served as a jury member to Prix de Lausanne in 2003, 2005, and 2007 and to Prix Carpeaux in 2009 and in 2007 recieved the “Ballet 2000” Critics Award in Cannes. Her repertoire includes Onegine, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Four Temperaments, Theme and Variations, Divertimento no15, Who cares?and Serenade (George Balanchine), In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Artifact and Impressing the Czar (William Forsythe), Sonate (Maurice Bejart), Forgotten Land (JiriKylian), Infra (Wayne Mcgregor), The Gray Area (David Dowson), Lost by Last (JormaElo), Orpheus (Michael Corder), Revelry (Robert Hill) and Ancient Airs and Dances (Richard Tanner).

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