Dancer Spotlight: Yoshiya Sakurai

Yoshiya Sakurai just finished his fourth season with Kansas City Ballet. He is originally from Niigata City in Japan and has been dancing since the age of three. He has received numerous awards throughout his career and trained at many prestigious facilities around the US and Canada. Yoshiya’s most recent role with Kansas City Ballet was the Jester in our May production of Cinderella. Read below to learn more about Yoshiya.

Q: How did you get involved in dance?
A: I started ballet because my mom was a ballet dancer and teacher. I started dancing with her at the age of three. 

Q: How did you end up in the United States?
A: When I was 14 I attended Canada’s National Ballet School for four years. After I graduated, I landed my first job in New Jersey at American Repertory Ballet

Q: Are there any cultural differences between dancing in the US and Japan?
A: In Japan, dancing is not really a full-time job, and many dancers work other jobs. In the US, dancing full-time has many benefits and you work for a longer period of time throughout the year.

Q: What do you do when you’re not dancing?
A: I like to hang out with friends, play video games, and watch movies.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
A: I get coffee at Parisi in Union Station almost every morning before work!

Q:  What are you most looking forward to next season?
A: I am excited to be a part of our Artistic Director, Devon Carney’s first season (that he has chosen the programming). I look forward to seeing how our company grows. 

Q: What is the biggest difference between living in the US and Japan?
A: I think that would have to be the food in Japan – I miss it!

Q: What would you like to do in the future?
A: It would be great to help train a younger dancer that desires to become a professional!

Partners In Work and Life

Jill Marlow and Anthony Krutzkamp met in September of 2002 when Jill began her first season as company dancer with Cincinnati Ballet. They began dating in November, and you could say ‘the rest is history.’ Married since May of 2008, they are coming up on their 6th wedding anniversary.

The pair came to Kansas City Ballet in 2011 and have enjoyed dancing here since. Anthony will be retiring at the end of this season. His final performance onstage will be this coming Saturday as the ‘Prince’ in Cinderella.


Watch the video below to see one of Jill & Anthony’s last interviews together as ‘colleagues’ and hear what each has to say about the other when it comes to why they enjoy watching them dance.