Eri Nishihara, originally of Japan, began her training in Reno, NV. She holds a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah, where she studied for two years before joining RBII. She is also a teacher and a piano accompanist for the School of Richmond Ballet. Eri is thrilled to be dancing her sixth season with the Company.
Education & Training
Tanihara Ballet Studio in Hiroshima, Japan, The Conservatory of Movement in Reno, Nevada, BFA in Ballet Performance (2014) from University of Utah.
Professional Experience / Career Highlights
My career highlight would be being promoted into the Company at Richmond Ballet!
What inspired you to become a professional dancer?
I always loved to dance wherever I went, ever since I was a little girl. That, combined with my passion for music, has kept me in love with dancing all my life. It didn’t occur to me that I might be able to dance as a professional until I saw young dancers pursuing their dreams. I think I was inspired by my friends; they gave me the courage I needed to give it a go at something that was merely a dream.
What is your favorite role that you’ve performed?
I loved performing Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty. It was so exciting to feel challenged and it was the most fun to perform! That was the first time I got to perform a classical pas de deux as a professional on a big stage.
What do you enjoy about being part of Richmond Ballet?
We are a small company so we get to be close friends dancing all day, every day. The camaraderie makes even the hardest dancing days fun. I love that each dancer here is so unique; it’s so exciting to see everyone shine in different pieces and roles!
What do you like about living in Richmond?
I absolutely love walking around Richmond; it’s a beautiful city with lots of character. I never get tired of exploring this city and the nature around it. The local food scene is very fun too!
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing off-stage?
I love to be outside! I’m always looking for opportunities to walk, hike, go for a run, and picnic! I played classical piano for a long time growing up, so I also really love to go into the studio when it’s empty and “borrow” the piano to play.
Our professional company is made up of elite dancers from around the world who have helped earn Richmond Ballet critical acclaim. Dance/USA says Richmond Ballet is “a jewel among U.S. dance companies,” while The Washington Post calls it “a company to which dance fans everywhere ought to pay attention.” We’re proud of all that our company dancers bring to Richmond, and the world.
RBII Apprentices are the top level of the Pre-Professional Division of School of Richmond Ballet. They receive an intensive training program, full scholarship, living stipend and are the bridge to RBII, our second company. Their time is divided between RBII rehearsals and the Trainee Program, performing in Lecture Demonstrations, Richmond Ballet Company mainstage performances and the end of season showcase performance with RB Trainees.
Richmond Ballet II Apprentices
Seated (L-R): Gianna DeMassio, Rachel Nash
Standing (L-R): Michael Duncan, Hannah MacLeod, Darius Mealy
Founded in 1993, the nationally recognized Richmond Ballet Trainee Program offers select advanced students a transitional experience to bridge the gap between the academic ballet setting and the world of professional dance. The Richmond Ballet Trainee Program is one of the few in this country that enables aspiring dancers to pursue formal dance training and gain valuable performance experience with a professional company.
Richmond Ballet Trainees - Second and Third Years
First Row- Senior Trainees: Kennady Jackson, Sarah Shaw, Gabrielle Goodson
Second Row: Katrina May Thomas, Sheridan Brown, Anna Orzulak, Parker Edmondson, Kendall Taylor, Ella Warren
Third Row: Carter Bush, Gavin Haas, Cade Bolz, Garrett Janiak, Daniel Miller
Richmond Ballet Trainees - First Year
First Row: Anne Pearson Gremer, Kristen Soyars Green, Isabella Vanik
Second Row: Gillian Carr, BriAnna Binzak, Savannah Wyatt, Claire Kehoe, Alexis Dawson, Kinsey Phelps, Chelsea Hacking
Third Row: Kiera Luci Dulog, Gillian Grossman, Oliver Gardner, Sydney Stutzman, Benjamin Piner
The Artistic Staff at Richmond Ballet is made up of international professionals who each bring incredible talent, expertise, and credentials to their respective roles. With impressive backgrounds and world experience, they offer a unique perspective that has helped shape our organization over the years. For over 40 years, Stoner Winslett has served as the founding Artistic Director of Richmond Ballet, the first major company of professional dancers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is one of the longest tenured artistic directors of a major ballet company and one of the country’s few female artistic directors. In June 2020, acclaimed choreographer Ma Cong joined Richmond Ballet as its first ever Associate Artistic Director.