Yuka Oba

Company Member since 2011

Yuka was born in Japan where she received her training from Hitomi Takeuchi Ballet School. In 2006, Yuka attended English National Ballet School in the UK where she also danced many soloist roles. Upon graduating, Mario Radacovsky invited Yuka to join the Slovak National Ballet where she danced a variety of roles. Yuka was then invited to join the Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011 where she has since danced principal roles in ballets by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Olivier Wevers, and Penny Saunders.

Yuka has won many competitions in Japan including NBA All Japan Ballet Competition, Saitama All Japan Dance Competition, UB All Japan Ballet Union Competition, International Ballet Competition in Yokohama and others. In 2013, Yuka had the honor of performing Olivier Wever’s The Sofa at the Joyce Theatre in New York and reprised her role in Seattle, WA. Yuka performed Le Corsaire Pas de Deux in the gala at The National Theatre in Tokyo and the Pas de Deux from Le Carnaval de Venise in Fukushima. In 2014, Val Caniparoli choreographed Clara on Yuka for the world premiere of The Nutcracker. She also choreographed Tomorrow Never Comes on Grand Rapids Ballet for their MOVEMEDIA program in 2015.

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Whom do you most admire and why?

My mother; she never gives up. She is intense but never forgets to have fun and be present in the moment. She gives so much unconditional love and support to my family.

What excites you creatively?

Watching my beautiful fellow Grand Rapids Ballet dancers! Also, listening to the music that I really like or finding new music for my piece.

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

An architect or interior designer. I use to wanted to become a doctor when I was little, but I don’t know if I have the stomach for it.

What is the best piece of dance advice you’ve ever received?

You have to have a kind and mindful heart. Dance shows everything about yourself.

What are your favorite roles? 

  • • Ballerina Girl, Allegro Brillante, choreography by George Balanchine (2018)
  • • Waltz Couple, Serenade, choreography by George Balanchine (2011)
  • • Principle Couple, Rubies, choreography by George Balanchine (2014)
  • • Princess Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, choreography by Marius Petipa (2012)
  • • Dream Clara, The Nutcracker, choreography by Val Caniparoli (2014)
  • • Nightingale, Happy Prince & Other Wilde Tales, choreography by Penny Sanders (2017)
  • • The Sofa, choreography by Olivier Wevers (2012)