Kenji Usui Ballet Collection


Kenji Usui Ballet Collection is one of the largest private collections in the world, which amounts to as many as 6,500 items. The collection, starting in 1930’s and still expanding now, should be described as an extremely valuable collection in ballet history that covers widely from the begging to present age.


It is roughly divided into four themes: “Romantic Ballet” and “Russian Ballet” of the ballet golden age, “Ballets Russes” and following “Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo” which are the basics of contemporary ballet.


The collection covers from the only items in the world such as dancers’ handwriting letters and notes to official program of the performances with luxurious design and sometimes simple design at the time which can be useful materials for reference. There also includes a lot of colorful and artistically valued lithographs, paintings and posters, in addition to books and magazines counting more than 2,000.


Hyogo Performing Arts Center offers year-round opportunity to visitors of both permanent(6 exhibitions per year) and temporary exhibition(2 exhibitions per year).



About Kenji Usui

Ballet Dancer / Choreographer / Dance Crtitic / Dance Histrian / Ex-chairman and C.E.O of Japan Ballet Association, Emeritus Professor of National Academy of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet


Born in Tokyo (1924-2017), Kenji Usui was discovered by Eiryo Ashihara in his school days, studied under Yusaku Azuma at the age of 16 and made a debut as a ballet dancer. While at Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo, he joined the army, which took him to Harbin. On returning to Japan from four years’ detention at Siberia after the war, Kenji came back to Yusaku Azuma Ballet Company and continues further study of ballet under Vitaly Ounces and Aleksei Varlamov. He widened his appeal in classical and original ballet on stage as well as in television. In 1957, he established his own company and was on stage as a dancer himself in China with the Matsuyama Ballet. He had been on jury at many international ballet competitions such as the world’s three largest ballet competitions: Moscow, Varna and Jackson. Kenji Usui is also known as a dance historian who wrote and translated quite a few books. Received awards are: Tachibana Akiko Award (1978), Hyogo Cultural Achievement Award (1995), Eiryo Ashihara Award (1995) , Culture Award 2003 in Hyogo prefecture and Soul of the Dance awards(2016) .


Noriko Seki / Curator of 'Kenji Usui Ballet Collection'

Contemporary Dancer / Choreographer / Dance Researcher / Associate Professor of Kobe University