Noriko joined the San Diego Ballet in 2004 under the direction of Robin Morgan and Javier Velasco. Since then she has performed many original pieces under the artistic direction of Mr. Velasco including: The Nutcracker, Sleeping beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Carnival of Animals, Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, Sonnet, Mambomania, When We Have The Stars, Seven Beauties, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Sweet Synergy Suite and many more.
She is now in her 13th season with the San Diego Ballet.
Born in Kanagawa, Japan, Noriko started her training at the Sasaki Mika Ballet Academy under the direction of Mika Sasaki and Mikio Ikehata. She later attended the summer intensive at Academie Danse Classique Princess Grace in Monaco, France. Upon completing the summer intensive she was offered admission to the academy under the direction of Marika Besovrasova and Roland Vogel.
Noriko also trained at the Christine Walsh Dance Center (now called The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet) in Melbourne, Australia under the direction of Christine Walsh, David Ashmole, Valmai Roberts, Gabielle Davidson, Galina Logoveeva, Roemarie Starke, and Brett Daffy. Here she studied Vaganova method of classical ballet, contemporary dance, pas de deux, classical repertoire, character dance, jazz, music dance history and composition, stagecraft, drama, and anatomy.
In her training Noriko has performed many notable principle/soloist roles including: Alida Chasa arrangement of William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Dances, La Fille Mal Gardee, George Balanchine’s Emerald and Faust, Christine Walsh’s production of the The Nutcracker and Le Corsaire.
Noriko has won numerous competitions in Japan and Australia including 3rd prize in All Japan Ballet Competition, 3rd prize in Itabashi Ballet Competition and Finalist in the “Award to Honorable of the Ballet Teacher’s Workshop (VIC) Scholarships.”
Noriko currently teaches at the San Diego School of Ballet and Academy of Performing Arts (APA).
Who influenced you most to become the dancer you are today?
I don’t really have one. I had a clear vision of myself from when I was little that I really believed and wanted to become a professional ballet dancer in another country. I didn’t have much influence from my parents besides financial help and I needed to figure it out for myself from a very young age. I always believed in myself when it comes to dance.
What was the funniest episode(s) you’ve experienced in your career?
I clearly remember this moment during one opening night with the San Diego Ballet and we where performing a number called “Love”. We had to use our body to make letters during this dance and in the very beginning of the dance, my dance partner’s pants ripped, right on his crotch area. We were smiling way bigger than usual that night.
Who would you most like to share the stage with (living or dead)?.
Agnès Letestu from Paris opera ballet
I loved her since I was little. I love all the dancers from the Paris opera ballet but she would be whom I want to share the stage with the most.
What goes through your mind just before you perform?
Focus. 20% physical 80% mind. I need to really focus my mind to perform well.
What do you like/admire most about San Diego Ballet?
I like the mix of rep we have. I love doing Jazz work a lot. I love Mr. Velasco’s choreography a lot. I grew up doing a lot of classical ballet works and figured out that this company really suits my style of dance.
Noriko Zaragoza’s appearance during the 2016-2017 San Diego Ballet season is sponsored in part by :
- Fei Li Tan Twite
- Carri Harris
- Audition Dancewear