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 Royal New Zealand Ballet 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 George Balanchine’s Serenade and William Forsythe’s Artifact II, the Flames of Paris pas de deux, and the Queen of the Dew Fairies in Loughlan Prior’s Hansel & Gretel.

In 2021, Mayu accomplished a successful comeback from a major knee injury. She performed principal roles in every season including the title roles in Giselle, Paquita and The Firebird and Titania in Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mayu was born and raised in Japan where she received many awards in ballet competitions, including second place in the junior division of the 2002 Youth America Grand Prix in Japan and third place in the senior division in 2004, and she was a finalist in New York both years. She studied full-time at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp and at the Rock School for Dance Education in the USA.

Mayu danced with North Carolina Dance Theater II for one year prior to joining the RNZB in 2012, where she immediately began performing leading roles ir, including Blue Girl in George Balanchine’s Who Cares and Myrtha in Giselle. She has performed leading roles in classical repertoire including title roles in Giselle and Carmen by Roland Petit, Kitri in Don Quixote, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker and Queen of the Dew Fairies in Hansel & Gretel.

She has also performed many leading roles in modern works by master choreographers including Petit Mort and Sechs Tänze by Jiri Kylian, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Artifact II by William Forsythe, Allegro Brillante, Serenade and Divertimento No. 15 by George Balanchine. Mayu is an accomplished dancer who has performed Giselle as a guest principal with the Greek National Opera and has performed in several galas, including roles in the grand pas de deux of Carnival of Venice, Flames of Paris, and Don Quixote Act III among others.

Mayu is supported by the Pye Foundation

Dancer Credits

A Midsummer Night's Dream


The Firebird

The Firebird


Pas de trois



Black Swan, White Swan

Black Swan

Hansel & Gretel

Queen of the Dew Fairies