Quote of the Day

"In the racially underrepresented world of ballet, Misty has already had an historic impact. Now, as a groundbreaking principal dancer, she will continue to inspire and make possible much-needed changes for our field and for the arts in America."—Damian Woetzel, former principal dancer for New York City Ballet and now the director of the Vail International Dance Festival, on the news that Misty Copeland has been named "principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday—the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company's 75-year history."
The company announced the promotion six days after Copeland made her New York debut in the role of Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake," one of the most important roles in a ballerina's repertoire. The emotional performance ended with Copeland being greeted onstage by trailblazing black ballerinas of earlier generations.
Copeland, who was named one of Time's [CN: video autoplays at link] 100 Most Influential People of 2015, has been a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, is a memoirist, and has a feature film in the works. She's also just generally awesome.

image of Misty Copeland in the splits
[Image via.]

If you haven't had the absolute pleasure of seeing Misty Copeland dance, you can find clips on YouTube. Below, the video which accompanied Time's profile of her:

Video Description: Piano music. Black and white footage of Copeland dancing alone, and then with a black male partner. Cut to Copeland onscreen. She says, "The way that dancing came into my life was very unexpected." She continues speaking, as the video cuts back and forth from footage of her dancing to film of her speaking onscreen. "I was 13 years old, living in a motel, with my single parent—my mother—and five of my siblings. I never thought I could make a career out of something that I enjoyed doing, something I was passionate about, something that gave me a voice. There's just been a whole slew of African-American women who have just really pushed me and motivated me during those times that I didn't know if I could do it."

Black and white image of Raven Wilkinson dancing. Copeland continues: "Raven Wilkinson—one of the first African-American ballerinas to dance in a major ballet company." Back to cuts between Copeland speaking and dancing. "It's important for me to set an example of what a healthy image is—what a ballerina can be, that she doesn't have to be a white woman that's rail thin. [chuckles] That she can look like the world. And I think that's what American Ballet Theatre also helps to represent—is what Americans look like, and that dreams are possible here, and that you really can push yourself to become anything, with the right work ethic and support around you."

More footage of Copeland dancing, as the music changes. "I hope to see more diversity on the stage when I'm sixty years old, watching in the audience." Big grin. "I hope the audience is more diverse. I think that's why people go to see performances—they want to see something beautiful, but they also want to see themselves up there; they want to be able to dream of what maybe they dream about doing, you know?! Going up there and dancing! But it's hard to envision that when you don't see yourself represented up there."

Footage of Copeland at a photo shoot. "I would want a younger child, looking at me on the cover, to see themselves; to see endless opportunities; to see possibilities that maybe they never even thought were something that they could attain. I want them to be able to see dreams through me." Huge grin.

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