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James Yoichi Moore to Retire from the PNB Stage

Seattle Dance Collective Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director James Yoichi Moore has

announced he will retire from Pacific Northwest Ballet at the end of the current season after his luminous 20-year career with the company. James will be celebrated at PNB's Season Encore Performance, Sunday, June 9 at McCaw Hall.

Noelani Pantastico in George Balanchine’s Emeralds ©Angela Sterling
James Yoichi Moore in Twyla Tharp's Waiting at the Station ©Angela Sterling

"The past 20 years have flown by in a flash. Every season filled with challenges, exhaustion, and thrill – key components for a supremely fulfilling dance career," shared James. "I wish I could live the life of a PNB dancer forever, but I knew this day would come, and as I near my final performance, my gratitude for our company, and everyone who contributes to creating the magic on stage grows."

Noelani Pantastico in David Dawson’s Empire Noir ©Angela Sterling
James Yoichi Moore in Marco Goecke's Mopey ©Angela Sterling

James began his professional career at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and then joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2004 under the leadership of PNB founders Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. He made an indelible impression in 2005 on audiences and on PNB's then new Artistic Director Peter Boal in Marco Goecke's Mopey (a solo piece he also performed in SDC's 2019 debut program) with what Boal described as an "explosion of raw talent and presence". James was promoted to soloist in 2008 and principal in 2013. In 2019, he and Noelani Pantastico, fellow principal dancer at the time, founded Seattle Dance Collective as a way to provide artists more opportunities to collaborate, and to give audiences a deeper understanding of the art form.

Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette ©Angela Sterling
Noelani Pantastico and James Yoichi Moore in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette ©Angela Sterling

"I was lucky enough to forge a partnership with James, one that, while dancing together, was hard to explain to anyone," reflected Noelani. "We were just enmeshed. This unique relationship led us to build Seattle Dance Collective, which taught us how to run an organization and further nurture our artistic voices and voices of others. I have no doubt that audiences and colleagues will miss him. There is no one like James. His generosity and thoughtfulness as a dancer, partner, and person make him memorable to everyone who has had the fortune of being in the same space as him.”

Noelani Pantastico in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette ©Angela Sterling
James Yoichi Moore in George Balanchine's Prodigal Son ©Angela Sterling

Recently, James and his wife, Kristen (a former professional dancer), opened Tutu Schools in Renton and Tacoma catering to children 18 months to eight years old.

“We are thrilled to continue a life in dance by offering the opportunity for young children to experience music and movement through our Tutu Schools,” said James. “Our kids, Julian and Layla, show us every day the positive impact dance can have on young people’s lives, and they have inspired us to share this gift.”

To learn more about the Tutu Schools, visit or

James can be seen throughout the remainder of PNB's 2023-24 season. For tickets and information on upcoming performances and the Season Encore on June 9, visit

James Yoichi Moore in Jessica Lang's The Calling ©Lindsay Thomas


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