This name invokes such inspiration and passion to me. As a dancer, I look to others in my field who perform the art form I love so much for inspiration, encouragement, motivation, and who can be used as a positive role model and aspiration for the dance students I teach everyday. Just in case you have been living under a rock that blocked out any and all visual, auditory, or kinethestic run ins with this woman, let me introduce you to her….
Misty Copeland is a Principal Ballerina with American Ballet Theater in NYC. She is known for her fluid and graceful motion, her strong musicality, her humble spirit in interviews and on stage, and her inspiration to young girls in ballet. You may have:
- Seen her on billboards and commercials advertising the athletic wear for UnderArmour (becoming the 1st ballet dancer to be a spokesperson for the company)
- Seen her at book signings for her memoir “Life in Motion” or her children’s book “Firebird.”
- Heard her speaking in interviews on 60
Minutes, Late Night with Stephen Colbert, NPR, ABC News, Essence Magazine, or Elle Magazine
- Noticed her gracing the cover of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People edition
- Heard of her new documentary entitled “A Ballerina’s Tale“ to be released Oct. 14, 2015
- Established her as the epitome of the phrase “Started from the Bottom” or “I Will What I Want.”
Now that you are all caught up to speed with her accomplishments… I have one question for you?
Did you know Misty Copeland is an African-American 32 year old, 5 foot 3 inch female who didnt start taking Ballet until she was 13 years old at her neighborhood Boys and Girls Club in California?
EXACTLY!!! This is why Misty Copeland epitomizes the phrase “I Will What I Want” and “Started from the Bottom!” She made headlines this summer when she was promoted to Principal dance with American Ballet Theater, making her the 1st African-American principal dancer the company has ever had in its 75 year history!!
I mentioned earlier that I look to other people in my field of dance that are both inspirational and motivating to me as a dance artists and teacher, and can serve as a positive role model to the high school students I teach on a daily basis. Misty Copeland is certainly one of those people! The girl is basically me (same age, a couple inches taller, same ethnicity) except I started Ballet when I was 3 years old!!! (ugh… sometimes life isn’t fair… 😦 pout face. Why God why couldn’t that be me??) Anyways….. I digress to my original post. The reason I believe that I admire her so much, and that America admires her so much is her humility as both an artist, entertainer, and role model.
In today’s society where many female superstars are touted for their beauty (a lot of which is superficial- Kardashians), or for the amount of money they make (yes Beyonce Im looking at you), or who they are dating, married to, or romantically linked with (Rihanna, Taylor Swift), Misty Copeland defies them all. She speaks with a level of humility that simply makes you want to be a better person. She does not elevate herself above others in her field, nor does she promote herself only based on her superficial appearance. I find this statement of hers very poignant: “I just had to remember why I’m getting the attention I’m getting. It’s because of my dancing. It’s because I’m a ballerina, and no other reason.” (NY Daily News 2015)
Thanks to Misty Copeland, Ballet is speaking for itself and making waves in its own way. World Ballet Day was just celebrated on October 1st, where people from around the world could tune in and stream 24 hours of professional Ballet companies ranging from Australian Ballet, Royal Ballet (London) National Ballet of Canada, Bolshoi Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. The world got to experience Ballet this way- and due to Misty Copeland’s wise to to stardom in the arts world and the pop culture world, other Americans who would have never seen or experienced Ballet, will now be exposed to it through the many barriers that Misty Copeland has broken. Thanks Misty for all that you have done. Thank you letting your heart speak through your feet. Thank you for letting the dance do the talking.