Saturday, May 3, 2014

Misty Copeland Waking Up the Ballet World and Inspiring Dancers Everywhere !

Get her book here and % goes to my training =) 

Misty Copeland is one of my favorite dancers and my sister's too. I first noticed Misty Copeland when she did that video with Prince. Prince was so inspired by Misty that he donated $250,000 to American Ballet Theatre's education program! That's pretty amazing and generous. This is what he had to say “A function of our love for the next generation is instilling in them our own hard-fought knowledge,” said Prince. “We can’t wait and see—or only hope for—the future of those coming after us. We must actively take responsibility for ensuring their success.”  

You can also read about the new Project PliƩ <HERE"American Ballet Theatre is launching this initiative to attempt to strategically duplicate how to discover the next 'Misty Copeland' and invest in her or his training and development." (HuffPost)

My sister and I really wanted to see Misty perform so my mom bought nosebleeed tickets to see American Ballet Theatre's Firebird at Sergerstrom Hall in Orange County. Misty became the first black woman ever to play the “Firebird.” I also read that during her role as the Firebird she had danced with stress fractures in her leg and she could not dance on stage for 7 months after that! Even from our far away seats Misty was powerful, amazing and inspiring!! 

After the show we went to the backstage door to wait for Misty. It was packed with aspiring dancers and parents! Coming down the ramp was Julie Kent and her husband. My mom stopped her and asked if she would mind signing my pointe shoes and taking a photo. She was nice and stopped! I also saw ABT director, Kevin McKenzie go by! None of us had the guts to stop him. =) A few other recognizable dancers zipped past. It was a great night and I left knowing exactly what I want. 
Me, Age 13, with Julie Kent (Principal dancer ABT)
With Misty!!!

The next time I saw Misty was later that summer during my intensive at Ellison Ballet (2012). I was at Steps on Broadway warming up for a Sunday open class with Mr. Ellison. Dancers lined the walls and out comes Misty from the back in leggings and a leotard or tank and her hair pulled back tight. Looking perfect and very tiny! I think Misty's photos are deceiving because Misty is so fit and muscular that people get the impression that she might be "bulky" this is not the case at all. Misty is very petite. I think all dancers look bigger in leotards with legs exposed. You have to maintain muscle mass to be able to dance. Misty has a lot but she is still a very tiny person and she is beautiful and also very sweet. No no one had the guts to even say "hi". We all just watched her glide on by!! As she exited everyone was saying "Oh my gosh that was Misty Copeland"!!! =) 

My next encounter with Misty was at YAGP San Francisco. She was a judge!!! I know right? No pressure. These were her comments to me "I see the thought process with lower legs but still needs nore work on turn out. Arms are too high in pirouettes, shoulders down". Constructive criticism from Misty Copeland was priceless to me! It was my first year competing. I did Giselle. I did not place but I improved for the following year and did my best. We also saw Misty at our hotel and she taught the master class at the San Francisco Ballet Studios. I had her sign another pair of shoes. They weren't even dead yet but I wasn't going to miss the opportunity!! 

With Misty at the 2013 YAGP Master Class at San Francisco Ballet Studios

So, what actually inspired this post was the new June/July 2014 Pointe Magazine cover featuring Misty Copeland and ballerinas, Ebony Williams and Ashley Murphy. The article is on diversity in ballet and I look forward to reading it when my issue arrives! 

Beyond Role Models Pointe Magazine 
Pointe Magazine Cover unveiled at 
 MoCADA Museum in New York. Photo by DanceOn 

I would also like to include a link to artist Flaco Shalom's site. Flaco is a super talented artist/genius that was inspired by Misty. Check out his work and be sure to follow him on instagram @flvcoshvlom He gets crazy and offers custom artwork specials!! Hopefully you will be lucky enough to grab one! He has also made a book of his Misty art. 

Misty by Flaco! His artwork is for sale! Visit

Here is a sample of inside Misty's book...

“Misty,” the teacher, Cindy Bradley, called, “can you come here for a second?”

Trapped, I reluctantly followed her to the front of her class. I felt overwhelmed in that first class; it was too much information coming too fast, and I was way behind the other students.

Most ballerinas start to dance when they are sipping juice boxes in preschool. I was thirteen years old. Self-doubt taunted me.

I think from the beginning Cindy, in her mind, in her plan, saw stardom as my destiny.

“The perfect ballerina has a small head, sloping shoulders, long legs, big feet, and a narrow rib cage,” Cindy said one afternoon, reading George Balachine’s description of the ideal dancer.

She looked up and stared at me, adoringly, "That's you," she said softly.

“You’re going to dance in front of kings and queens,” she said. “You will have a life most people cannot even imagine.”

I began to believe her. 

You can buy it from the link below and a % of the sale will go to my sister's training and my training! Actually, anytime you shop from one of my amazon links it helps! Thank you! 

Love, Robbie

PS!!! One of my favorite Misty video clips only 2 years after she started dancing! 


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