One day a client messaged me asking how to get legs like Misty Copeland. I said, “Who?”. She sent me this picture.
After scrolling through google images of Misty, which prompted a frantic bout of plie squats, I replied, “Wow”.
Since then, I’ve followed Misty and learned her story.
Misty Copeland started ballet at 13 and achieved pointe 1 year later. (Most dancers take 3-6 years.) She was a natural. She had it: talent, desire, and grit. At 15, she chose fouettes over family. She divorced her mother, moved in with her coach, and danced the pain away. Ballet became her life.
At 18, she was dancing professionally.
Today, Misty Copeland is a soloist for the American Ballet Theater. She is the first African American soloist in decades, the 3rd in history. The first was Nora Kimball. The second was Anne Bennett Sims. The list continues with greats like Raven Wilkinson, Lauren Anderson, Janet Collins, Arthur Mitchell, and many more.
But to the world, Misty is the first black ballerina.
Time Magazine named Misty one of the most influential people solidifying her position on center stage. Prince commissioned her. The New Yorker studied her. Under Armour celebrated her. A book was written. By her.
Misty Copeland became every little girl’s dream and everybody’s dream girl.
She is ravishing. Body. Banging. She is also gracious, wise, brave, and humble. But Misty’s power lies in her transparency. She shares the reality of being a black dancer in a white studio. “It was hard to find myself when I had no one to relate to.” They stared at her brown skin, criticized her body type, and introduced her to insecurity. She was feeling what she always felt. Alone.
Misty’s loneliness was no match for her dedication. She committed to the work. Morning class at 10am. A dancer’s lunch. Afternoon training at 12pm. Six hours of rehearsals. A dancer’s dinner. Sleep. Repeat.
She was resilient. She kept dancing, despite criticism, shame, injury, guilt, and depression. Misty protected her dream until she landed with both feet in the air.
But this isn’t a story about ballet. This isn’t a story about race. This is a story about possibility.
No matter where you come from, what you’ve been through, or how discouraged you feel at this moment, you must protect your dream. Fight for it. Believe in it. See yourself there. Because everything you want is possible. Misty is proof.
Misty’s next dream is to become the first black principle ballerina. She believes it will happen. And so, it will. —
*The images are not my own. No copyright infringement intended.