Last year I read Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, by Misty Copeland. Before reading the book, I didn’t know much about this wonderful dancer. The book candidly discussed her journey to becoming a dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). To become a member of a major dance company is never easy, but Misty’s path was even harder than most dancers. The book is inspiring and I would recommend it to anybody who loves dance.
The book came out in March of 2014, before Misty’s fame and popularity exploded in both the dance and mainstream media. Besides being beautiful and a wonderful dancer, part of her fame arose from the fact that she was the first female African American dancer to be promoted to Principal in a major ballet company.
Misty seems to be everywhere these days, athletic sportswear commercials, sports drink ads, and guest appearances on prime-time talk shows. If you want to learn more about this dancer, go to see the recently released documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale. This movie covers new ground from the book and mainly focuses on her struggles in the ballet world. Besides the years of training and injuries that every dancer must overcome, Misty had to also overcome some of the long standing biases of the ballet world. Along with being African American, Misty does not have what many in the dance world think of as a traditional ballet dancer body, she has curves! She talks very candidly in the film about overcoming those prejudices, her self-doubt, issues with her weight and injuries. And of course you get to see clips of her dancing.
This movie is now playing in theaters everywhere. For those of you in the New York Capital Region, it opens at the Madison Theater on 11/21/15. The National Dance Museum will show it as well on 12/5/15. For other showings, check the ‘See the Film’ page on the A Ballerina’s Tale website. If you can’t make one of the showings, you can stream it now through Amazon or iTunes.
Although I’ve seen Misty dance on the screen, I’ve never had the opportunity to watch her perform live. Between her book and the film, I feel like I know her. I think it’s time to take a trip to New York City to see her perform live with ABT. Who wants to go with me?