~ Assistant Artistic Director
Chieko Imada is a native of Tokyo, Japan and received her early training there. She danced professionally as a Soloist with Inoue Ballet of Tokyo and also served as Ballet Mistress. She has worked closely with many of the past and current noted professionals of classical ballet and toured Western Europe performing the standard classical ballet repertoire. She has also toured and performed in Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and the South Pacific.
Upon arrival in the United States, Ms. Imada was offered a position with Arizona Dance Theatre in Tucson under the direction of Jean Paul Comelin and danced with that company until 1986. When several companies merged (including ADT) to become Ballet Arizona in Phoenix, she continued her ballet career there.
Yearning to expand her horizons as an artist, Ms. Imada returned to Tucson and joined Ballet Arts Ensemble (now Ballet Tucson) as a Principal Dancer. She also rejoined her former colleague from ADT, Mary Beth Cabana, to help develop Arizona’s foremost classical ballet training institution Ballet Arts. She was also appointed Assistant Artistic Director of Ballet Tucson.
Along with numerous professional ballet credits, she has appeared regularly with Orts Theatre of Dance and Tenth St. Danceworks modern troupes in Tucson. She has been a guest artist in residence at the University of Nebraska and Grand Valley State University.
Over the years, she has been responsible for staging many classical ballets and has also created numerous original contemporary works on Ballet Tucson, enriching the company’s repertoire. A talented choreographer, Ms. Imada was nominated for the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award in 1996 and the Governor’s Arts Award in 1997.
She continues to be sought after as a guest teacher and choreographer. She is the Director of Educational Outreach for Ballet Tucson.