Dancer Spotlight: Misty Copeland

Hello Again,

So now that I have returned from my hiatus, I thought it would be fitting to have my return post be a viral video. It is still gaining widespread mainstream attention and has already spread like wildfire in the dance community. The video I am referring to is the new Misty Copeland Under Amour ad. It features Misty dancing while a young girl is reading one of the rejection letters she received when she was  beginning her ballet journey.

Misty Split

For those of you who do not know the story of Misty Copeland, here is a brief background. Her first encounter with any type of performance art was when she joined her school’s drill team at the age of 13. As an indicator of her incredible talent and foreshadowing of her journey to come, she was immediately chosen as the captain. It was there that her coach who saw what she could be, encouraged her to take free ballet classes at the local Boys and Girls Club. She soon joined the San Pedro Dance Center and within three months of training, was already en pointe. Dancers younger than her spend years trying to be ready to do pointework. The rest they say, is history. In the ballet world, 13 is ancient. Similar to the world of gymnastics, if you want to be a professional and make a career out of it, you essentially need to start dancing as soon as you come out of the womb and invest a lot of time and money.

When her mother decided to move to another town, Misty almost had to give up ballet due to distance. However her teacher and mentor Cynthia Bradley offered to host her, so for three years, Misty would spend the week with Cynthia and the weekends at home. Eventually, there was a custody battle between the Bradley’s and her mother, which went so far that Misty has actually filed for emancipation. She later dropped the suit and made amends with her family.

Misty Copeland is an incredibly beautiful strong dancer. I mean look at her muscle definition. She has a natural talent and gift for musicality. She has danced for Debbie Allen and was handpicked to perform with Prince by Prince himself. Earlier this year, I saw Don Quixote performed by America Ballet Theater. Sadly, Misty was just a serving wench. She probably wasn’t actually billed as a serving wench but her role was not very large. On a slightly related tangent, Danny Tidwell who also danced with ABT is now 30 years old. Say whattttt?!?!?!?! He is also still dancing for the Norwegian National Ballet. (He is still actually one year younger than Misty. Mind blow)

For a female athlete, especially a dancer, it is exceptional that Misty has been able to attract high-level sponsors and endorsements. She has done a commercial before, for Dr. Pepper, however there wasn’t much fanfare surrounding it. I think the reason this Under Amour one has become more popular is twofold. One, more people know about her especially with the release of her new book Life in Motion. Two, it actually displays Misty’s current dance ability while the Dr. Pepper commercial has dance flashbacks to when she was younger. Both do essentially capture her humble beginnings and how she overcame obstacles.

The first video is the actual Under Amour commercial and the second video is an interview with Misty. Enjoy!

Sources: Wikipedia, Madame Noire, Misty Copeland: An Unlikely Ballerina’s Story