About me

Ayako Nakano

I was born in Japan and began ballet training with the age of 5 in Urayasu Ballet Academy in Tokyo.

During my training I won the “Tokyo Ballet Competition”, which is recognized throughout Japan, as well as “The Asia Pacific Ballet Competition”, which is decisive in Asian Region.

Through these significant achievements, the ballet world became aware of me and opened the door to the international ballet competition “Prix de Lausanne” in 1992.  As the winner of the “Prix de Lausanne” I received a scholarship which ultimately led me to the famous ‘Royal Ballet School’ in London.

In 1994 my professional ballet career began as a “soloist” of the “Ballet Zürich“, based at Zurich Opera House.

From 1996 further stages followed, each as a “soloist” at the “Oper Köln“, the “Staatstheater Saarbrücken” and the “Komische Oper Berlin“. 

In 1998 I was selected as one of four “soloists”, all former winners of the “Prix de Lausanne“, for the opening gala of the “Nagano Olympic Games“. 

Since 2001 I have been part of the ballet ensemble “Theater Basel” as “principal dancer” with success in all works choreographed by the director of the ballet company, Richard Wherlock.

During my more than 20-year professional dance career in Basel, I was also part of the works of various other famous choreographers, which benefited my wealth of experience and diversity. 

Among other things, in 2004 being part of the “NHK Ballet Gala” in Tokyo and Osako as principal of “Romeo & Juliet”. 

Also I was a guest dancer together with other famous principals at the “Festival Dei Due Mondi” in Spoleto in 2005, performing “Bolero” and “Romeo & Juliet” and in 2007 for “Le Sacre du Printemps”.

In 2013 I returned to the “Prix de Lausanne“, this time in the coaching role of the “contemporary solo”. 

Over the years, I have also been fortunate enough to maintain my connection to Japan through regular performances at the “Aoyama Ballet Festival Gala” from 2001 to 2006. 

Through this regular commitment, I got the opportunity in 2017, as a former student, to look behind the role of the dancer. 

Since then I have been the successful director of the “Urayasu Ballet Academy” in Tokyo.

2021, I ended after more than thirty five years of theater life as a professional ballet dancer, choreographer but also mother of 2 children – a new milestone in my life has begun.

I would like to share my knowledge, experience and professionalism with others and pass on my passion for classical and modern expressive dance.