News in early May this year that Tetsuya Kumakawa had sustained a serious injury on tour in Japan with his K-Ballet Company came as a terrible shock to his legions of fans.

Long known the world over as “Teddy” (kuma means “bear” in Japanese), Hokkaido-born 35-year-old Kumakawa founded K-Ballet in Tokyo in 1999 after he returned from the Royal Ballet in London. There, where he trained from his teens and rose to the top rank of principal dancer, he became a global star famed for his astonishing vitality and aerial feats. Then, within a very short time after he returned, the K-Ballet team Kumakawa built became entirely unrivaled in classical ballet in Japan.

So, with its star performer, choreographer and artistic director (handsome, Ferrari-driving and single, by the way) sidelined until next year with a torn ligament, many worried whether K-Ballet would still shine. They needn’t have, as the company has continued to pull in the audiences and draw superb reviews.

Now, for K-Ballet’s Winter Tour, Shoko Nakamura from the renowned Staatsballet Berlin performs as guest principal dancer, along with K-Ballet’s fast-rising talents Rie Matsuoka and Kenta Shimizu and a cast of regulars.

K-Ballet’s 2007 Winter Tour “Triple Bill” runs Nov. 10-11 at Bunkyo Civic Hall in Tokyo, a 3-minute walk from Korakuen Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line; “Swan Lake” runs Nov. 15, 17 and 18 at Bunkamura Orchard Hall, a 6-minute walk from JR Shibuya Station and Nov. 21 at Hokkaido Koseinenkin Hall; “The Nutcracker” runs Dec. 16 at Omiya Sonic City in Saitama and Dec. 20-21 at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, a 3-minute walk from JR Ueno Station. For details, call (03) 3234-9999 or visit www.ints.co.jp or www.k-ballet.co.jp.

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