According to “The Body of Ballet,” a simple glance at a woman’s body can indicate whether or not she will be successful in the art of ballet. The article states that the future of dancers can be determined “in the length of their thighs, the shape of their feet and even the size of their breasts. It’s not right, but it is the reality.” And what exactly is this ideal body? Apparently it must include high arches, a small bust and most importantly, long arms and legs.
Misa Kuranaga does not have this ideal body type.
Standing at just a little over 5 feet, Misa Kuranaga’s small stature often worked against her as she pursued her dreams of ballet. For instance, because her figure simply didn’t fit the mold, she was fired from an apprenticeship at the world famous San Francisco Ballet company.
“My self-esteem was shattered,”Kuranaga admits. “I questioned my place as an Asian in the dance world.”
So did Kuranaga let defeat consume her? Absolutely not. She got back up and willed herself to learn how to move her body in a way that stood out. She didn’t fit the ideal standards of a ballerina, but she was determined to prove that she was just as good.
“Everyone is born with something that they struggle with,” Kuranaga told Huffington Post. “You need to fight for your own goals, and not somebody else’s standards.”
And she certainly rose to the occasion. In 2003, she joined the Boston Ballet. By 2009, after already being promoted to a soloist, Kuranaga became the very first Asian principal ballerina. She recently participated in SK-II’s #changedestiny series which reminds all women that DNA should not limit your from chasing your dreams. In the video below, she shows us how she didn’t let the ideal body standard of a ballerina hinder her from her passion.
Not done being inspired by Misa Kuranaga? We’re not done either. Check out Boston Ballet’s video where she shares everything from her inspiration to childhood stories.