Born in Fukuoka, Japan, Nao Sakuma trained at the Michiko Komori Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School. She joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1995. Nao is a virtuoso classical dancer with a formidable technique, as seen in her performances of Odette / Odile in Swan Lake, and, most recently, the roles she created in The Seasons and Concert Fantasy. A sure comic touch can also be seen in performances as Lise in La Fille mal gardée and Swanilda in Coppélia. Nao has represented the Company at several prestigious occasions, dancing the pas de deux from Le Corsaire at a NATO gala in Birmingham (2000) and Tchaikovsky pas de deux at Birmingham's gala to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's golden jubilee (2002). Nao was promoted to Principal in 2002.
Repertory: Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), Lise (La Fille mal gardée), Swanilda, 'Dawn' (Coppélia), Guinevere (Arthur), the Rose Fairy and the Sugar Plum Fairy (The Nutcracker), the Fairy of Temperament and pas de quatre (The Sleeping Beauty), Peasant pas de deux (Giselle), Candy Kane and Arabesque Cookie (The Nutcracker Sweeties), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, The Shakespeare Suite), Salvation Army (Hobson's Choice), Gypsy Girl (The Two Pigeons), Theme 1 and Melancholic Variation (The Four Temperaments) and leading roles in Scènes de ballet, The Dance House, Choros, 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café, In the Upper Room, Voices of Spring, Symphonic Variations, Don Quixote pas de deux, Tchaikovsky pas de deux and Western Symphony.
Created roles: The Seasons, Concert Fantasy
Awards: Special Jury Prize, 1998 Jackson Ballet Competition; Critics' Circle Award nomination (2001).