The Dancers

Mayu Tanigaito

RNZB-2911 Mayu Tanigaito for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo credit: Stephen A'Court. COPYRIGHT ©Stephen A'Court Hansel & Gretel Mayu Tanigaito Allister Madin Wellington, NZ. 5 November 2019. Hansel & Gretel by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court. COPYRIGHT ©Stephen A’Court

Mayu Tanigaito joined the RNZB in 2012, making an immediate impression on New Zealand audiences in Larry Keigwin’s Final Dress. Mayu was promoted to Principal in 2019, a year in which her roles included the Black Swan in Black Swan, White Swan, solo roles in Serenade and Artifact II, the Flames of Paris pas de deux, and the Queen of the Dew Fairies in Hansel & Gretel.

She has performed principal roles in the classical repertoire including Carmen by Roland Petit (2017), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (2017) Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle and Myrtha in Giselle (2015, 2016), Swanhilda in Coppélia, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, and in William Forsythe’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, all of which garnered critical acclaim. Other leading roles have included Pas de Trois and cygnets in Swan Lake, Flower Festival of Genzano pas de deux, Carnival of Venice pas de deux, and in Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Allegro Brillante and Divertimento No. 15. She has performed works by New Zealand and international choreographers including Benjamin Millepied, Ethan Stiefel, Johan Kobborg, Andrea Schermoly, Francesco Ventriglia, Andrew Simmons and Neil Ieremia.  Liam Scarlett created the role of Moth on her for his A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a role she has performed in New Zealand, and Hong Kong. At the end of 2016 Mayu was a guest artist with the Greek National Opera Ballet, performing the role of Giselle in Athens.

Mayu started dance training in Japan. In 2002, she was awarded second place in the Junior Division of the Youth America Grand Prix in Japan and then third place in the Senior Division in 2004. She was also a finalist in New York in both years. She studied full time at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp, and at Rock School for Dance Education in the USA. Prior to join the RNZB, Mayu danced with North Carolina Dance Theater before joining the RNZB.

Outside her performing career, Mayu is active as a dance teacher, regularly presenting masterclasses alongside her husband, fellow RNZB Principal Paul Mathews.

Mayu is supported by the Pye Foundation

Dancer Credits

Romeo and Juliet


The Piano: the ballet


The Nutcracker

Sugar Plum Fairy

The Nutcracker


Black Swan, White Swan

Black Swan

Hansel & Gretel

Queen of the Dew Fairies




Pas de trois


Grand pas de deux

The Firebird

The Firebird

A Midsummer Night's Dream