Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet, announced the promotion of Riho Sakamoto to the rank of principal immediately following her debut as Clara in the ballet performance Nutcracker and Mouse King.
Riho Sakamoto, who began her career with the Dutch National Ballet's Junior Company in 2014 at the age of sixteen, is the second dancer from the Junior Company to reach this rank, following Jessica Xuan in 2020. Ted Brandsen praised Sakamoto for her "strong technique and musicality" and mentioned that she had "grown enormously in a short time, also artistically". In addition to her leading role in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Riho previously performed leading roles in The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) and Giselle, among others, and she recently danced the title role in Mata Hari.
"Blessed with a convincing charm, a sensitive musicality and an superstrong technique with an exciting resilience in her jumps. The warmth of her smile fills the theatre."
( Seeingdance about Riho Sakamoto)
Riho Sakamoto - short biography
Riho Sakamoto (Osaka, Japan) began her ballet training at the age of four. She studied in Japan for several years before moving to Washington DC at the age of ten to continue her training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. In 2010, she won the gold medal at the finals of the prestigious ballet competition the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. In 2014, at the age of 16, Riho was accepted into the Junior Company of Dutch National Ballet. In 2016, she made the switch to Dutch National Ballet, where she became a member of the corps de ballet. The following year, she was promoted to coryphée, in 2018 to grand sujet and in 2019 to soloist.
Photo credit header: Riho Sakamoto after Giselle in 2020