Meet Mami Hariyama, director of a Japanese ballet school in New York City

By Ayako Yuse


We recently interviewed Mami Hariyama from Japan, who is the director of the ballet school “HARIYAMA BALLET” in New York City. The ballet school opened in 2010.


Where in Japan are you from? How did you end up in New York City?


I’m from Suita-city, Osaka. I didn’t have a great reason to come here. I was suffering very much because of the big feeling of frustration and loss and I chose New York City as a new place to restart my life. I came here in 2004.


We love to follow your ballet school on SNS (social media). How did you get the idea for opening a ballet school?


Because I like ballet. I wanted to keep putting myself in ballet. Then I wondered if I could teach ballet and opened the ballet class. First I had only one class for adult a week, but step by step I got more students and I opened the class for kids, too.


You have so many wonderful experiences with the ballet kids. Please share one of your favorite moments with us.


I have a lot of memories! The first day to open the ballet class. The first ballet recital. A lot of yearly performance. Making original ballet. The first ballet recital of my students. The growth of my students. The meeting the students, who went back to Japan. The day when my students wear toe shoes for the first time. The first participating in a contest with my students. The summer intensive of every year. Each letter and messages from my students. I get so much power, when my kids students come to hug me and tell me “I like you a lot!”.


Ballet dancers need food for strength. What is your favorite food and do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant in New York City?


I love any food! There are many delicious cheese cakes, which is my favorite, in New York. And fortunately there are also a lot of restaurants and we can enjoy dishes from all countries here! These days, sushi and ramen are very popular in New York, too. When I went to the ramen restaurant “Tabata”, I ran into Mikhail Baryshnikov! I was surprised!

View this post on Instagram

Party time!!!

A post shared by Hariyama Ballet New York (@hariyama_ballet) on

Q: ニューヨークの好きな場所を3つ教えてください。

Where are your favorite three places in New York City?


First, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where we can see American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. Second, I like around Bryant Park. It’s close from HARIYAMA BALLET and a good place to rest. Also there is a useful Japanese shop. Third is Brooklyn Bridge and around that, which is good for taking a walk in sunny day.

You can see cute little ballerinas photos here!




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