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Yuriko - A biography of Yuriko Kikuchi, member of the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company

by Marian Horosko
February 18, 2009
Yuriko Kikuchi, who was a member of the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company in its earliest days, tells her story in a biography entitled "Yuriko." This Californian, San José-born Japanese-American, was wrongfully interned at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona during WWII.

She became, through twists of fate and her own desire to dance, the first Japanese-American modern dancer to perform with the Graham company. It broke a racial barrier. As a performer she held everyone's attention with her beauty and intensity.

But it is her performances as Eliza in Jerome Robbins' Broadway musical "The King and I" with Yul Brunner, that she is probably best remembered. Other barriers were as broken as she recreated and staged the role around the world for years in reconstructions and revivals of the long-running musical.

Yuriko eventually turned to choreography and is now on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory, where she stages Graham works and teaches the technique.

The book is written in conjunction with Emiko Tokunaga and is full of Yuriko's photos from her unique past in a beautifully presented volume. It was published and is available through Tokunaga Dance Ko, 1 Sheridan Square, 7E, New York, NY 10014.

The current Martha Graham Dance Company will perform at the Skirball Center, May 12-16.
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