JULY 2, 2014


All is still at Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. The hallway, usually bustling with chattering students, is empty as students are away on spring break. Save for one. Satomi Itohara, 23, grips the stairs rail and points a toe into a plié, placing the other firmly on the newly mopped vinyl floor that shines against the early morning sunlight.  “I love practicing alone,” she says. “It’s just me and the infinite possibility of an empty dance floor.”

A Japanese immigrant who came to New York City in 2007, Itohara was told at an early age that her body type didn't fit the bill: her height, forty-five inches, was just a fingernail's width below the desired height for a professional dancer. But that has not stopped her. Her grit and tenacity would lead her to a life of dance that is rewarding, if not easy.