Principal Ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland, is here in Sydney for her starring performance in The Australian Ballet’s spectacular production of Sleeping Beauty in the Sydney Capitol Theatre.
With its fairies and glittering masked ball, Misty will perform in the Sleeping Beauty production which has continued to win critical acclaim ever since it was first brought to stage and reimagined by The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister in 2005.
Misty, 33, is the first African-American to be named principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her remarkable story was the subject of a documentary, Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale, which chronicled her triumph over depression and body-image issues, as well as her comeback from a career-threatening leg injury in 2012.
The story of her rise from living in a single room in a welfare motel with her mother and five siblings to the top of her career in the highly competitive world of ballet is legendary. She even refers to herself as the unlikely ballerina in the subtitle of her 2014 memoir, Life in Motion.
Here the incredibly inspiring Misty talks exclusively to The Carousel about what gives her courage and she also shares her insights to younger women about how to achieve their goals.
Misty, tell us what is the best advice you could give a young woman based on your own experience and why?
Work hard and be committed to whatever you do. Do not judge your success or failures by others. Figure out your strengths and make that your advantage. My mother raised six children so her strength and determination to keep going is engrained in me. It was all about not letting the outside world affect you and being comfortable with yourself.
What are some of your tips for training?
Training wise, know your body when it comes to working out. Push yourself, but know when to rest – I take a nap when I need to and I also hydrate when I’m working out.
What helps give you courage when you need it most.
Being around family and friends who I trust, and with people who are going to be honest with me and give me the feedback that I need to hear.
Also, thinking of my achievements to date gives me courage in all situations – particularly being promoted to principal ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre. It was not only an achievement for me but for the scores of black women who were incredibly talented and deserving but never had the opportunity. I thank Under Armour for recognising this and having me as an Under Armour athlete to inspire women everywhere!
“I am excited about the new UA Inspired by Misty Copeland collection, which includes styles that I love to have in my closet and wear, whether I’m out on a date with my husband, to and from rehearsals, or with my friends out on the town,” said Misty.
“Fashion to me is so much more than what you wear on your body. Similarly to dance, it’s a way of expressing your unique individuality and creativity. I’m looking forward to seeing how Australian women choose to style and incorporate these UA Inspired by Misty Copeland collection pieces into their wardrobe,”
Under Armour is inspired by everything Misty embodies on and off the stage: a remarkable athlete, style icon, and force for diversity and female empowerment. This fashion-forward, transformative and transitional collection celebrates her undeniable drive and unmistakable style. Some of the hero pieces in the collection include the Misty Leather Jacket and Misty Metallic Joggers – all offering the performance benefits you expect from Under Armour, with the remarkable style that reflects Misty’s off-duty look.