The Dancers

Kihiro Kusukami

JX3598 Principal Kihiro Kusukami. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

Kihiro Kusukami joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a guest artist for Strength & Grace in August 2018 and became a full-time member of the company that September. He was promoted to Soloist at the beginning of 2020 and to Principal in 2023. Kihiro’s first national tour with the RNZB was Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker, in which his roles included the Nutcracker Prince and Chinese Tea.

In 2019, Kihiro won acclaim as Rothbart in Black Swan, White Swan by Mário Radačovský, in the Flames of Paris pas de deux, one of the lead couples in Artifact II by William Forsythe and as Hansel in Hansel & Gretel by Loughlan Prior. In 2020, his roles included Prince Désiré and the Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, and Eon: pas de deux created for him and Soloist Katherine Minor by Nadia Yanowsky, as part of RNZB RAW.

In 2022, Kihiro’s roles included The Royal Messenger and The Fab Five’s Christobel in Loughlan Prior’s Cinderella. Among other roles he performed as Ali in the Le Corsaire pas de trois in Tutus on Tour and in Venus Rising, Kihiro performed featured roles in Alice Topp’s Aurum and Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles™. In the digital season Ballet Bites Kihiro performed in Annaliese Macdonald’s Limerence and Shaun James Kelly’s Alba.

Originally from Nagoya, Japan, Kihiro was awarded a scholarship to The Australian Ballet School at the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix, training at the School from 2014-16 and performing as a member of the Dancers’ Company of The Australian Ballet. His roles with the Dancers’ Company included Hilarion in Giselle, and in 2016 he also appeared in Houston Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet during the company’s Australian tour.

Kihiro spent 2017 with Queensland Ballet’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, appearing in productions including Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land, Amy Hollingsworth’s Glass Heart, Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, and Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan. Kihiro continued to perform with Queensland Ballet in 2018, in productions including Liam Scarlett’s The Firebird, Greg Horsman’s La Bayadère and Carlos Acosta’s Carmen.

Kihiro is sponsored by QT Wellington.

Dancer Credits

A Midsummer Night's Dream



Pas de trois




Wedding Couple

Flames of Paris


Artifact II by William Forsythe

Principal Couple

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Russian Caviar

Black Swan, White Swan


The Sleeping Beauty

Prince Désiré

The Sleeping Beauty



The Royal Messenger