Students Reflect: Dancer Emily Okamoto

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
Juilliard Journal
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Two dancers, named in the accompanying caption, perform an expressive and intimate dance on stage under dim lighting. The focus is on their intense connection and the fluidity of their movements, creating a powerful and emotional performance.
Emily Okamoto (kneeling) and Caden Hunter in Joziah German and Alexandros Darna’s ChoreoComp piece, 'If OnlyYou Knew'

Reflecting on a Thrilling Year

Just after spring break, we asked students—some graduating, some staying on—to reflect about what they’d been doing lately, their hobbies, and some highlights of their time at Juilliard. In addition, some shared how scholarship support has helped them and what they’re doing this summer.

Emily Okamoto, Dance


  • ChoreoComp: Choreographer Joziah German and composer Alexandros Darna’s If Only You Knew was one of the hardest pieces I’ve performed. I grew so much as a dancer and artist, and watching them collaborate was such a gift. It was an honor to dance their work.
  • Campus Activities Board: Not only do I love the team I joined, but being part of a leadership board and creating events separate from my major has been loads of fun.
  • Ushering: the amount of art that I’ve been able to see—while on a work-study shift!—is incredible, and I’m constantly inspired by seeing my colleagues and friends perform. We can forget that training is not the only way that inspiration, artistic growth, and creative ideas spark. On days I felt stuck, seeing friends’ performances has gotten me excited to dance again.

Spring break
I spent a couple days in Boston and the rest in New York with friends. Biking in Central Park, spontaneous cheap eats, and hiking in Cold Spring were some of my favorite moments.

With how busy the school year has been, it’s been hard to revisit my old hobbies of piano and hiking, but if I’m not in the school year, I’m most likely hiking!

Scholarship support
My scholarship is why I’m able to be at Juilliard, a school with incredible training, wonderful people, and countless artistic opportunities in arguably the best city in the country.

Second-year dancer Emily Okamoto is from Orange County, California

These pieces are adapted from a special feature that originally appeared in the Summer 2024 issue of the Juilliard Journal