Dancer-choreographer Yuriko Kikuchi died March 8 in New York. She was 102.
Kikuchi, née Amemiya, born in 1920 in San Jose, Calif., would later be known professionally just by her first name and became known as an acolyte of noted dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Kikuchi was said to be the first nonwhite dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Kikuchi was a kibei Nisei who furthered her dance training in Japan early in life; she returned to the U.S. in 1937.
During WWII, Kikuchi was incarcerated at the Gila River War Relocation Center. She went to New York City when she was released in 1943 after signing a loyalty oath and joined Graham’s company in 1944. She appeared in the 1956 film version of “The King and I.”
In 1946, she married Charles Kikuchi, with whom she had two children. In 2012, she was presented with the Martha Hill Dance Fund Lifetime Achievement Award.