Kenji Usui Ballet Collection


The 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 the 1930s, is considered an extremely valuable collection in ballet history that widely covers material from the early modern to present age.


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


The collection extends from unique items in the world such as dancers’ handwritten letters and notes, to official programs of the performances with their luxurious (and sometimes simple) designs, all of which can be useful materials for reference. It also includes a lot of colorful and artistically valued lithographs, paintings and posters, in addition to books and magazines amounting to more than 2,000 items.


Hyogo Performing Arts Center offers year-round opportunities to visitors of both permanent (4 exhibitions per year) and temporary exhibitions (2 exhibitions per year).



About Kenji Usui (1924.03.30~2017.12.24)

Ballet Dancer / Choreographer / Dance Crtitic / Dance Histrian / Former chairman of the Japan Ballet Association / Emeritus Professor of National Academy of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet


Born in Tokyo , Kenji Usui was discovered by Eiryo Ashihara in his school days, studied under Yusaku Azuma at the age of 18 and debuted as a ballet dancer. While at the University of Tokyo Faculty of Economics, , he joined the joined the army, which took him to Harbin, China. On returning to Japan from four years’ detention in Siberia after the war, he came back to Yusaku Azuma Ballet Company and continues further study of ballet under Witaly Osins 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 with the Matsuyama Ballet in China. Kenji Usui was on the jury at many international ballet competitions such as the world’s three largest ballet competitions: Moscow, Varna and Jackson. He is also known as a dance historian who wrote and translated quite a few books. The awards he received included the Tachibana Akiko Award (1978), the Hyogo Cultural Achievement Award (1995), the Eiryo Ashihara Award (1995) , the Culture Award 2003 in Hyogo prefecture and Soul of the Dance awards(2016) .


Noriko Seki / Curator of the Kenji Usui Ballet Collection

Associate Professor of Kobe University / Contemporary Danccer


Inquiries by e-mail :