ABT, American Ballet Theatre, ballet, black dancer, body image, Boys and Girls Club, curvy, dance, diversity, fashion, icon, inspiration, legend, memoir, Misty Copeland, philanthropy, Prince, Under Armour, youth
By now everyone knows –or should know rather– exactly who Misty Copeland is. She began ballet classes at a Boys and Girls Club at the late age of 13 and is now one of the most popular dancers of the 21st century. She has changed up the game by becoming the face of diversity– she is the American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT’s) “[second] black soloist ever“– Copeland is also the first African American ever to dance Odette/Odile in ABT’s Swan Lake. She also makes sure to continue giving back by making sure to inspire and educate youth.
Without further ado, I present to you, ‘5 Reasons Why Misty Copeland Is A Inspiration to Us All’.
1. Started from the bottom, now she’s here.
While living in a motel with her mother and siblings, 13-yr old Misty began taking dance classes at her local Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro, California. This is subversive because most professional dancers begin ballet training white, wealthy, and at extremely early ages. Rivka Galchen writes about the adversity Copeland has overcome in the New Yorker. Galchen’s peice titled ‘An Unlikely Ballerina’ describes Copelands’s memoir saying,
her memoir, is the hardship tale: not knowing her real father, a succession of differently difficult stepfathers, and uncertainty about whether there would be dinner on any given night, wrote Galchen.
2. She is a published author.
Along with the help of Charisse Jones, Copeland wrote a memoir for teens. Her book ‘Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina’ narrates the experience of her seemingly common early teenage years. She had an heavy appreciation for Maraiah Carey’s music, repetitively watched a movie about gymnast Nadia Comaneci, was a hall monitor, class treasurer and always early for class. She also took woodworking at the same Boys and Girls Club that she later began dancing at.
Copeland also wrote a book for children called ‘Firebird’ along with the help of Christopher Meyers. The book is an inspiration to children– showing them the importance of hard work and dedication. Copeland and Meyer’s ‘Firebird’ was labeled ‘An NPR Best Book of 2014’ and Amazon Best book of the Month.
3. Her body tho.
Not only did she have to overcome poverty and racism, but Copeland’s body was not that of a typical ballerina. She was curvy. Published on July 30,2014 Copeland starred in an campaign for Under Armour, titled ‘I WILL WHAT I WANT’. This ad gave a snapshot of her story in just a minute while capturing her alone in the studio and on stage while demonstrating the true athleticism of dance. All curvy and athletic girls rejoice! There is hope for us yet. Watch below.
You must have the passion, strength, and belief that you can become anything, says Copeland.
4.She is a Fashion Icon.
I’m not necessarily sure that this is popular opinion (it should be), but I somewhat consider Copeland to be a fashion icon. From Under Armour’s I WILL WHAT I WANT campaign to being captured in the likeness of Josephine Baker for Black History Month in New York City’s ‘Vintage’ Magazine, Copeland exudes all the necessary grace and beauty of an icon. She is a timeless beauty.
5. SHE WENT ON TOUR WITH PRINCE.
This is possibly one of my favorite facts about Copeland. Prince guys! THE Prince. The music legend.
I’ve come so far from the first ballet class I took at age 13 in my baggy gym clothes at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Copeland. “I know that by being here now, in this rarefied, difficult, elitist, beautiful world, I have made my mark on history and ballet. I will forever fight, performing like it’s my last show. And I will love every minute of it.