Nebraska Authors

Sono Osato

Born 1919-08-29 Omaha, NE (USA)

Died 2018-12-26
New York City, NY (USA)

Famed ballet dancer of mixed Japanese and European heritage, Sono Osato's parents met and fell in love in Omaha, but had to travel to Iowa to marry because a mixed race marriage could not then be legally registered in Nebraska. Osato joined the original Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934 at the age of 14. After seeing one of the Ballet's performances in Chicago that year, she auditioned and was immediately hired. This put her in a company of refugee Russian dancers that had collected the world's most distinguished performers. She later danced with the American Ballet Theatre and also had a career in Broadway musicals and as an actress. She was still living at age 98 in 2017. "Ms. Osato’s beauty, intelligence, and lyrical grace, were the hallmarks of her brilliant career," noted a 2008 award citation.

Places Lived

Omaha, NE
New York City, NY

Author Of

  • Biography


Dance; Ballet; Autobiography; Japanese-American Authors


School of American Ballet in New York City, NY



Places Worked

Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo Ballet Company
American Ballet Theatre


Donaldson Award, 1943, for her dance performance in Broadway's One Touch of Venus
Founder of Sono Osato Scholarship Program in Graduate Studies at Career Transition For Dancers


Distant Dances. 1980.

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Sono Osato

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