Cara Oculato

updated 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

AT 5'3" 100 LBS., WITH 34-20-29 measurements, the only thing out-sized about 20-year-old ballerina Cara Oculato is her resume: a yearlong stint with the American Ballet Theatre, honors math and physics grad from Manhattan's prestigious Professional Children's School, and a 1992 Presidential scholar.

Oh, yes, and also that enormous cloud of brunette ringlets. ("A lot of hair," she concedes.) As well as the lush, overgrown mouth. ("My lips are very full, very Italian.") And those huge, through-the-looking-glass eyes, in which, she says, "people say they can see what I'm feeling."

Professionally the danseuse's size-2 stature has hardly stood in her way. "Here is this tiny little woman, yet her body just explains the music and enhances it," says former teacher Pamela Geuss. Roy Kaiser, the artistic director of Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Ballet—where Cara now hangs her dance shoes—is more to the pointe: "I look at talent—then size. She makes people want to watch her."

And she likes to please her audience in return. "Dancing gives me such terrific pleasure," says the beau-less beauty. It doesn't matter that her heavy stage makeup wreaks havoc with her skin. "Every chance I get," says Oculato, "I wash my face." Nor is she deterred by battle scars. "Calluses!" she says, with a moan. "My feet are always taped or bandaged. When I'm at the beach, I bury them in the sand!"

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