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Toshiro Ogawa, who was born in Tokyo, Japan, received his first training in his native city and then attended the University of Hawaii’s East‑West Center for one year (1963‑1964) on a grant. His first professional engagement was as a lighting designer for summer stock at Green Mansions in New York State. From 1966 through 1971, he was a member of the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, and then traveled to Germany to further his studies in various opera houses. It was during that time that he first met Glen Tetley, with whom he worked in Stuttgart until the latter’s resignation as Director of the ballet company. Ogawa worked as the Production Director for the Royal Iranian Opera House in Teheran before returning to the United States in 1975.
Ogawa’s lighting design for Contredances marked his United States debut and was his first work for American Ballet Theatre. In addition to La Bayadère, Ogawa has done the lighting for Adagio for Strings, Fantasie Sérieuse, Pierrot Lunaire, Rendezvous pas de deux (by Stephen Jan-Hoff to the music of Henryk Wieniawsky), and Le Retour. He has also designed for the National Ballet of Canada, the Houston Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Grand Kabuki Theatre. Ogawa joined the faculty of UCLA in the spring of 1990.