Position: Principal Soloist
Years with Company: 9
Hometown: New York, New York

Shimon Ito, superbly technical with an uncanny ability to burst into the air… when you watch him dance, you may actually think this ballet thing is, dare we say, easy. He spared us a little time between rehearsals, opening up about childhood dreams, sushi, baseball, and teaching.

Was there ever a time you wanted to be something other than a dancer?
My childhood dream was to be a baseball player. My favorite team is the Yankees and my favorite player is Ichiro Suzuki [the famed Japanese record-breaking hitter who spent the bulk of his career on the Yankees]. I stopped playing when I went to study at National Ballet School of Canada but I still love it. I love playing it.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
People seem surprised when I speak Japanese. It’s my first language.

On that note, do you enjoy sushi? Is there a sushi restaurant you recommend?
You can come to my place and I’ll make you sushi. Actually, I like Wabi Sabi by Shuji.

What is the one thing you absolutely can’t live without?
My bed. More specifically, my mattress.

What do you do during the off season?
I’ve been teaching ballet for nine years, all over Japan – Tokyo, Fukushima, Osaka, Takayama, Yokohama, many places. I enjoy teaching because it’s a learning experience for me and not to be selfish, I like passing on the information that I know to tomorrow’s dancers.


Shimon-san, iroiro arigatou gozaimasu (thank you for sharing).

Main Photo: Shimon Ito rehearsing George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev. Baseball and ballet class photos courtesy of MCB Principal Soloist Shimon Ito.