It’s rare to see or hear about someone that set some really high goals for their career and actually accomplish them successfully. One person who did this was Misty Copeland! If you haven’t heard yet, this ballet dancer became the first African-American principal dancer for one of the most elite ballet companies in America, American Ballet Theatre. This is not only something that made history, but also something that she dreamed of all her life. As a dancer myself, I can relate a lot to Misty Copeland and her story. Unlike other professional dancers, her journey was quite different from theirs but different and that’s what made her special.
Misty came from a less fortunate family with divorced parents and five other siblings. Because of financial issues, her first class was for free at a Boys & Girls program. The dance class wasn’t until the age of 13, whereas most dancers would begin at the age of the 5. This is especially late for ballet, but she didn’t allow her age or money hold her back from pursuing her passion. Her dedication and raw talent is what got her many opportunities. The teacher from the program noticed and brought Misty in her own dance studio on scholarship to cover tuition. This was certainly the lift off to her career as a young dancer. From that point, Misty was accepted to other dance programs and companies, leading her to eventually dancing with the American Ballet Theatre.
One of her Misty’s hardest trails was probably being told thàt she would never make it as a ballet dancer because of her late age, her body not being right for ballet, or because her race is not commonly found being successful in this field. She found her self at times being the only African-American dancer in a class. But these things still did not stop her from chasing her dream of becoming a principal dancer. And this dream came true on June 30th, 2015.
I remember attending a convocation at my school, Spelman College, and Misty Copeland was the guest speaker. She spoke about how there was a point in her journey when she realized that she wasn’t fuflling her dream for herself anymore, but for the young following behind her. Especially for young black dancers. That’s when I realized she was talking about me. Misty helped me to see how I shouldn’t see my dreams as impossible. I admire her dedication to her craft and can see how hard work can pay off. Everyone can find some inspiration from Misty Copeland, whether you are an aspiring dancer or not; but personally… that’s why she is my inspiration.