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Dance inspiration: Misty Copeland

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Every dance season has a fresh start, with that come new opportunities to set new goals, push yourself, but most importantly to be inspired by others. Recently I moved studios, and have been pushed places I never knew I could reach. This year I have been surrounded with new faces and new limits. New challenges have risen and I began to look up to Misty Copeland, a dancer who rose above her challenges.

Misty is an American ballet dancer. She started attending ballet classes at the age of 13. Copeland was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in San Pedro, California. She trained with the San Francisco Ballet, and attended the American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on a full scholarship. During the year 1997, she was awarded the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight award, named the best dancer in Southern California. Misty Copeland received the ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Shortly after Misty joined ABT’s company in September of 2000. The following spring of 2001 she became a member of American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet. Later in 2007 Misty Copeland became the second African American female solo artist, proudly the first in two decades. For many years from 2007 to mid 2015 Misty’s dancing matured and she was considered more of a contemporary and sophisticated dancer. In the American Ballet Theatre’s history of 75 years, Misty Copeland was the first female African American to be promoted to principal dancer in June of 2015.

In 2008, Misty was presented with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship was a two-year program awarded to young artists who demonstrate outstanding talent providing them with additional resources in order to reach their full potential. Misty Copeland was performing various roles, mostly contemporary and classical positions. In 2012 Alexei Ratmansky choreographed The title role in Firebird to Misty, which became one of Misty’s most important roles. In December of 2014. In the ABT production of The Nutcracker in December of 2015 Misty danced as “Clara,” another spectacle choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.

Copeland made history as the first black female to execute “Odette/Odile” in ABT’s Swan Lake during the tour to Australia during fall of 2014.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is more than just an inspiration in dance, but an inspiration because of her passionate personality. Many times she faced difficult situations and turned them to successes instead of defeats. She like many other dancers have struggled with body image, confidence, self-doubt, and harsh critiques. Despite her insecurities and so called “wrongs”, Misty used her passion to drive her to success. I am inspired by her perspective. This year, I have been pushed past my limits, out of my comfort zone, closer to my goals. There have been days, I wanted to quit, I wanted to give up, without dance I wouldn’t have become the person I am. My life would be completely different. Misty Copeland is such an inspiration to me, because she didn’t quit, and she made it happen. She set aside her doubts and reached her goals. At age 13 Misty started her ballet journey, later than most people. Misty faced tons of rejection in her youth, and in spite of it, she worked harder, she was determined. She faced unruly circumstances, and persevered through difficult times. My life recently changed completely, new school, new town, new peers, new challenges, new goals, the only thing I have to lean back on is dance, which means I have to work 10 times harder than I did the previous day. Misty has inspired millions, and me personally. Misty has shown me that there is possibility to achieve my goals and aspirations. She is more than a principal dancer, she is strong, passionate, and determined which makes her an inspiration to me.

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