Koto Ishihara

Principal Dancer

Koto Ishihara View Gallery

Quick Facts

Born: Nagoya, Japan
Trained: Shiho Kanazawa Ballet School in Japan, The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida and San Francisco Ballet School
Joined as a First Soloist: 2019
Principal Dancer Since: 2021


Five Things to Know

  1. 1Koto was involved with competitive swimming before she started ballet lessons at the age of 11. She began her professional training at the HARID Conservatory in Florida.
  2. 2Her training and early career have involved travel from her hometown of Nagoya, Japan to Florida, San Francisco and Toronto. She was a Soloist with San Francisco Ballet before joining The National Ballet of Canada as a First Soloist in 2019.
  3. 3Her repertoire with the National Ballet includes the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty. She also danced in Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Chroma, Piano Concerto #1 and Petite Mort, among other works.
  4. 4With San Francisco Ballet, she performed principal roles in ballets such as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Cinderella, RAkU, The Kingdom of the Shades, Brahms Quartet, The Four Temperaments and Serenade.
  5. 5She created roles in Jiří Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels, Alonzo King’s The Collective Agreement, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Guernica and Benjamin Millepied’s The Chairman Dances – Quartet for Two.


Favourite Ballets

  1. 1Onegin
  2. 2The Lady of the Camellias (John Neumeier)
  4. 3Romeo and Juliet
  5. 4Giselle
  6. 5The Sleeping Beauty





Symphony in C
“Ishihara accented her movements to highlight and make different textures in the music visible. She navigated the challenging pirouettes, hops en pointe and quick changes of direction with ease.”
— Dance View Times  


First place at Youth America Grand Prix San Francisco (2010) 

Silver medal at the TANZOLYMP (2010) 

Third place at the Japan Grand Prix (2005) 

First place at The Ballet Competition for Youth (2004) 

Third place at Competition 21 (2004)