Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Reina Sawai trained in Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines and received a one-year scholarship in Portugal. She danced with National Ballet of Portugal, Vienna State Ballet and Boston Ballet before joining Hong Kong Ballet as a Coryphée in 2019.
With HKB, Sawai has danced the featured roles of Big Swan in John Meehan’s Swan Lake, Princess Florine, Sincerity Fairy and White Cat in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Egyptian Doll and French Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, White Snake in Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker, Summer Fairy and Winter Fairy in Webre’s Cinderella, Kitri’s Friend in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, Fei Nui in Webre’s Romeo + Juliet, Caterpillar in Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland) and Second Twin in Webre’s Peter Pan. She has also performed lead roles in George Balanchine’s Jewels. Prior to joining the Company, she performed in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Raymonda, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Who Cares and Donizetti Variations, William Forsythe’s Artifact, Pas Parts, Blake Works and Second Detail and Jorma Elo’s Fifth Symphony of Jean Silelius, among others.
Sawai was a semi-finalist at the 2008 Prix de Lausanne and a bronze medalist at the 2009 TanzOlymp in Berlin.
1. What was the first ballet you ever performed?
George Balanchine’s Serenade with the National Ballet of Portugal.
2. What’s the most challenging ballet you have danced, and what made it so challenging?
A trio part in Blake Works (by William Forsythe) which required improv in certain sections. Forsythe’s Artifact also required improve, but this was a lot more challenging.
3. What is the place where you feel most yourself?
At home with my mom, sister and dog.
4. If you could have one more talent, what would it be?
To be able to cook without checking a recipe.
5. What is your favourite food?
6. What would you be if you were not a dancer?
Lyra aerialist or something circus related.
7. What is your favourite movie/book?
"Leon: The Professional" , "Requiem for a Dream", "Phantom of the Opera", "Girl, Interrupted"
8. Where is the most interesting place you have ever visited or want to visit?
There was a ghost town nearby the place I was working in Egypt which was cool to see. I also want to visit the Maldives someday.