MOSCOW – Mariko Kida has won the Benois de la Danse competition in the ballerina category, becoming the first Japanese to receive the prestigious Russian award.
Kida, an Osaka native who serves as the first soloist with the Royal Swedish Ballet, shared the award with Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with the New York-based American Ballet Theater.
For the competition, Kida performed a scene Tuesday from “Juliet and Romeo” — a new version of “Romeo and Juliet” — at the Bolshoi Theater. She was given the role of Juliet in 2013.
Kida began ballet as a 4-year-old. She won Switzerland’s Prix de Lausanne competition for young dancers at age 16, in 2000, while attending high school in Japan.
She studied ballet in San Francisco and performed with companies in Canada and other locations before joining the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2012.
The Benois award was established in 1992 to recognize the world’s most accomplished dancers and choreographers. Previous winners include French dancer Sylvie Guillem and Swiss dancer and director Maurice Bejart.