Most people don’t know that I started out in this business as a dancer on Broadway. So, not that long ago when I had to undergo knee replacement surgery, I mustered up the courage and determination I witnessed in history making ballerina Misty Copeland.
Misty Copeland has had quite a mind-blowing year! Very few dancers are accepted into a prestigious ballet company and not only did Copeland get accepted, but became the first African-American to be named a soloist and principal dancer for the American Ballet theatre, starred on Broadway in “On The Town” and is the first African -American Ballerina to perform the lead roles in Firebird and Swan Lake. So, when did she have time to film a documentary?
The night of her Firebird performance, Misty danced beautifully, but later Misty discovered she had six fractures in her left shin. Without corrective surgery the shin might one day brea and many doubted she would dance again…including Misty.
A Ballerina’s Tale is an intimate look at a very special ballerina during a crucial period of her life and career. The bulk of the film looks at Misty’s journey from the triumph of Firebird, the painful road back to dancing and when Misty’s return to the American Ballet Theatre stage emerging ever victorious in the process.
This extraordinary young woman shines a light on several challenges within the classical ballet world: the absence of women of color at major companies; the emphasis on skinny bodies for ballerinas and how that pressure impacts one’s health sending negative messages to young fans around the world. In addition, Misty, because of her race and curves, opens up on how focused she had to become especially with a ballet career starting at 13 years old.
A Ballerina’s Tale is Misty’s story, but a familiar one for so many young girls of color with the hopes and dreams of one day dancing as a Prima Ballerina. It’s a story how one girl who refused to give up no matter who many times she secretly wanted to succumb to the pressure and walk away from the biggest love of her life.
Having had the opportunity to speak with her at the Tribeca Film Festival, I can tell you that Misty Copeland is the real deal and this documentary will inspire, as well as, share the un-glamourous side of what being a dancer is really like.
A Ballerina’s Tale opens in theaters nationwide on Weds., October 16th.