A Conversation with Misty Copeland
In 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African American female Principal Dancer in American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history. Hear from this artist, author, entrepreneur and humanitarian about how she broke barriers and her work to inspire young people everywhere.
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[00:00:07.073]NARRATOR: Today, you
are part of an important
our shared future.
[00:00:11.678]The E.N. Thompson
Forum on World Issues
[00:00:14.247]explores a diversity
[00:00:16.015]on international and
public policy issues,
[00:00:19.119]to promote understanding
[00:00:21.454]debate across the university
and the state of Nebraska.
[00:00:24.824]Since its inception in 1988,
hundreds of distinguished
[00:00:29.262]speakers have challenged
and inspired us,
[00:00:31.965]making this forum one of the
preeminent speaker series
[00:00:36.603]in higher education.
[00:00:38.972]It all started when
E.N. "Jack" Thompson
[00:00:42.542]imagined a forum on global
issues that would increase
of cultures and events
[00:00:49.015]from around the world.
[00:00:50.950]Jack's perspective was
influenced by his travels,
[00:00:54.187]his role in helping to
found the United Nations,
[00:00:56.790]and his work at the
[00:00:59.459]for International Peace.
[00:01:01.561]As president of the Cooper
Foundation in Lincoln,
[00:01:04.763]Jack pledged substantial
funding to the forum
[00:01:08.201]and the University of
Nebraska and Lied Center
[00:01:11.070]for Performing Arts
agreed to cosponsor.
[00:01:14.507]Later, Jack and his
wife, Katie, created
[00:01:17.410]the Thompson Family Fund
to support the forum
[00:01:20.380]and all their programs.
[00:01:22.749]Today, major support
[00:01:25.285]by the Cooper Foundation, Lied
Center for Performing Arts,
[00:01:29.756]and University of
[00:01:32.992]We hope this talk sparks
an exciting conversation
[00:01:39.299]And now, on with the show.
[00:01:46.306]MIKE: It is my honor and
privilege to welcome you
[00:01:48.374]this evening to the E.N.
Thompson Forum on World Issues.
[00:01:51.110]For more than a quarter
century, the university
[00:01:53.413]and the Thompson
Forum have partnered
[00:01:55.515]with the Cooper Foundation
and the Lied Center
[00:01:56.950]for Performing Arts
to make this possible.
[00:01:59.519]Tonight, we have a
special Valentine for you.
[00:02:02.655]Our speaker is an
internationally renowned dancer,
for the first time.
[00:02:07.060]She's also an author
and a speaker.
[00:02:08.862]Misty is the principal
dancer with the famed
[00:02:10.797]American Ballet Theater.
[00:02:12.499]She is the first African
American woman ever
[00:02:14.801]to be promoted to this
position in the company's
[00:02:18.304]Ms. Copeland is here
in Lincoln this week
[00:02:20.306]as part of the GK Platinum
at the Lied Center,
[00:02:25.111]where the American
Ballet Theater and
[00:02:26.479]the St. Louis Symphony
will partner together
[00:02:28.581]to perform Firebird.
past and present,
[00:02:33.052]include American Express,
Coach, and Diet Dr. Pepper.
[00:02:36.756]In 2014, the Under Armor
company launched Misty
[00:02:40.393]as one of their faces of
the I Will What I Want
[00:02:43.596]It was a commercial
that went viral,
[00:02:45.198]getting more than nine
million views to date.
[00:02:47.967]Misty has also been featured
in numerous publications
[00:02:50.370]and television programs.
[00:02:51.804]These include CBS Sunday
Morning, 60 Minutes,
[00:02:54.274]The Today Show, This Week
with George Stephanopoulos,
[00:02:56.843]Vogue, Essence, Ebony,
Time, and People Magazine.
[00:03:00.480]And in 2014, President
Obama appointed Misty
[00:03:03.716]to the President's Council
on Fitness, Sports,
[00:03:07.253]This evening after Misty's
remarks, you will have
[00:03:09.522]the opportunity to
ask her questions.
[00:03:11.791]Please feel free to use Twitter,
tweeting with the hashtag
[00:03:14.527]E.N. Thompson Forum.
[00:03:16.195]There will also be ushers
in the aisles to collect
[00:03:18.665]any written questions,
and they will be
[00:03:20.700]brought to the stage.
hosting Ms. Copeland,
[00:03:24.070]are Bill Stiffen,
[00:03:25.672]for the Lied Center
of Performing Arts,
[00:03:27.440]and Ann Chang, Artistic
Director of the Lied Center
[00:03:29.709]for Performing Arts.
[00:03:30.944]Ladies and gentlemen, the
title of tonight's presentation
[00:03:33.313]is A Conversation
with Misty Copeland.
[00:03:36.716]Please join me in
welcoming our hosts
[00:03:38.518]and Misty Copeland.
[00:04:17.357]MISTY COPELAND: Thank you.
[00:04:18.257]Thank you all for coming.
[00:04:19.192]I'm so excited to be here.
Misty, we're so honored
and excited to have you here,
[00:04:24.964]The American Ballet Theater,
and the St. Louis Symphony
[00:04:27.767]at the University
of Nebraska Lincoln
[00:04:29.736]at the Lied Center this weekend.
[00:04:32.071]It's been a moment we've
been waiting for for years.
[00:04:36.709]For those who aren't
familiar with American Ballet
[00:04:38.945]Theater's role in
the arts world,
[00:04:40.880]can you share with us what
makes American Ballet Theater
[00:04:43.650]distinctive and what the
company's meant for you
[00:04:46.452]as a dancer?
[00:04:48.321]Well, we are America's
[00:04:51.658]which I think we were
appointed that position
[00:04:54.994]maybe eight or nine years
ago, which is incredible.
[00:04:58.631]But for me, ABT has
been so much more
[00:05:02.969]than just a ballet company.
[00:05:04.671]I feel like they were the
first company to really
into the ballet
[00:05:10.777]and really put on
productions and use not just
[00:05:16.616]from all over the world
that were doing more
[00:05:19.318]than just creating
[00:05:21.087]I really feel like ABT has
been a leader in that way
[00:05:23.756]since its inception.
[00:05:25.925]But at 13 years old,
when I started dancing,
[00:05:30.763]my teacher definitely
saw ... she looked
[00:05:34.033]at the Joffrey Ballet as
well, but definitely saw
[00:05:35.668]ABT as a place for me, a
young black girl at that time,
[00:05:39.439]to be able to fit in
easily to a company
[00:05:42.475]that was extremely diverse,
in terms of bringing
[00:05:44.711]in dancers from all
over the world that had
[00:05:46.646]different training and
different body types,
[00:05:49.082]and just felt like if I'm
going to make it anywhere
[00:05:51.384]in the classical ballet
world, ABT was probably
[00:05:54.721]BILL: That's great.
[00:05:56.022]What is it like collaborating
with new artists,
[00:05:58.658]like the St. Louis Symphony
or performing in a new space
[00:06:01.861]like the Lied Center
for Performing Arts?
[00:06:04.063]MISTY: It's exciting.
[00:06:05.398]One of the things I love
about ABT is that we're a
[00:06:08.234]touring company, so we have
so many new opportunities
[00:06:11.003]constantly coming our way.
[00:06:13.072]And it just keeps
you on your toes,
[00:06:15.808]always having the
opportunity to be inspired
[00:06:21.581]and be a muse to someone,
and just have an opportunity
[00:06:26.419]to really open your eyes
to the way that people
[00:06:29.422]work from different
parts of the world.
[00:06:32.091]So it's amazing to be able
to travel to different
[00:06:34.193]parts of the U.S. or
different parts of the world
[00:06:36.662]and work with
[00:06:38.364]and it's always this
[00:06:41.400]And you just have to be
really professional and ready
[00:06:44.237]because we don't have a
lot of rehearsal time.
[00:06:46.506]It's like, you're in the
theater and then, bam,
[00:06:48.141]you're on the stage performing.
[00:06:49.942]BILL: That's great.
[00:06:52.211]ANN CHANG: Misty, so they
American Ballet Theater is here
[00:06:55.047]for a week doing their
residency and working
[00:06:56.916]with our students in the
university in their classes,
[00:07:00.052]and I can just imagine
the students would have
[00:07:02.255]a life-changing experience.
[00:07:04.257]I'm very proud of this
outreach part of the mission
[00:07:07.727]of the Lied Center.
[00:07:08.928]Could you speak about a time
maybe in your young life
[00:07:11.397]where somebody had had that much
[00:07:13.199]life-changing impact on you?
[00:07:15.334]MISTY: I wish I would have
walked into the class today.
[00:07:17.203]I was roaming around
the theater by myself
[00:07:19.405]this morning and I
heard classes going on.
[00:07:22.708]I was like, "Oh, this
must be the master classes
[00:07:24.143]"that are being taught."
[00:07:25.578]No, I think it's so
important to have ...
[00:07:31.017]The ballet community is
so small, but it's so rich
[00:07:33.986]and so warm, and I don't
think people really understand
[00:07:37.890]that, especially who don't
know the ballet world,
[00:07:40.593]how supportive it is
within the community.
[00:07:43.296]I was inspired by a lot of
dancers that I didn't know.
[00:07:47.900]Paloma Herrera was one of
them early on in my career.
[00:07:50.536]I watched her descent through
ABT probably from the time
[00:07:54.440]she was a soloist up
until she retired,
[00:07:58.010]and we became really close.
[00:07:59.712]But she was definitely
someone that gave me hope,
[00:08:02.481]seeing her journey of
being a principal dancer.
[00:08:08.688]I think she was 19, the
youngest to ever be promoted
[00:08:12.325]and move through the
company that quickly.
[00:08:13.926]And it just made things seem
more possible for me,
[00:08:17.563]having such little training.
[00:08:19.532]I only danced for four
years before I was accepted
[00:08:21.901]into the company.
[00:08:23.903]But as a black woman
and the older that I got
[00:08:28.341]and realized as a professional
how few there were
[00:08:32.778]in top tier companies,
and I was the only one
[00:08:35.181]in ABT for a decade.
[00:08:37.549]Raven Wilkinson was one
of those women who really
[00:08:41.988]pushed me to see my journey
and what was possible
[00:08:48.160]beyond just being a dancer.
[00:08:50.396]Raven Wilkinson is
a former ballerina.
[00:08:53.332]She was the first
and only black woman
[00:08:54.967]to dance with the Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo.
[00:08:57.837]And she left the company
after a pretty short career
[00:09:00.673]because she experienced
[00:09:04.377]traveling through the
South in the 1950's,
[00:09:07.179]and her life was
threatened by the KKK,
[00:09:09.649]so they thought it was best
that she leave the company.
[00:09:13.152]And I followed her journey
and watched her story
[00:09:16.188]in a documentary about
the Ballet Russe.
[00:09:17.957]And I just felt like, first
of all, a lot has changed
[00:09:21.327]in the ballet world
in terms of diversity,
[00:09:24.463]and it was just like she
went through so much more
[00:09:28.401]than me, and persevered,
and still has so much love
for the art form.
[00:09:34.340]And then I found out she
lived a block from me,
[00:09:36.208]and now we're really close
friends and it's been amazing
[00:09:38.811]to have someone like her in
my life that's gone through
[00:09:42.581]what she has, and I think
made me see that I could be
[00:09:46.886]so much more for people
as she was for me.
[00:09:50.122]ANN: Of course.
[00:09:51.557]And topic of outreach of
course, if you wanted to talk
[00:09:54.894]about the Boys and Girls Club-
[00:09:56.529]ANN: -which is really how you-
[00:09:58.731]ANN: -came to the ballet.
[00:09:59.365]MISTY: There are so many
organizations that have been
[00:10:03.736]incredible to me and my
family and to helping me
[00:10:05.438]get to this point in my career,
but the Boys and Girls Club
[00:10:07.606]was the first.
[00:10:09.108]I attended from the
age of seven until 13.
[00:10:13.779]But when I was 12 and a half
or 13, there was a local
[00:10:20.319]ballet teacher in San Pedro,
California, where I grew up,
[00:10:23.322]and she was offering
free ballet classes
[00:10:26.792]at the Boys and Girls Club.
[00:10:27.893]There was no dance studio there,
[00:10:29.395]so we were on the basketball
court with bars set up.
[00:10:33.466]And I was terrified, and I
had absolutely no interest
[00:10:36.869]I'd never heard classical music.
[00:10:38.604]I was literally forced
into taking this class.
[00:10:43.142]And my teacher was looking
for diverse students
[00:10:47.513]to bring into her school
on full scholarship
[00:10:50.716]because she really wanted
to push that message,
[00:10:53.652]about giving everyone
an equal opportunity,
[00:10:55.921]and then the rest is history.
[00:10:58.991]But from there, my relationship
with the Boys and Girls Club
[00:11:02.094]has grown so much, and
there's dance studios
[00:11:04.663]in almost every club that I've
visited all over the country
[00:11:09.035]because I'm really pushing
that, that if you're going
[00:11:11.971]to reach the communities that
don't have the opportunity,
[00:11:16.075]that don't have the means,
that aren't able to see
[00:11:18.878]and be educated in classical
ballet, that's an incredible
[00:11:21.914]way of doing it.
[00:11:22.948]So with ABT, I helped to
start a diversity initiative
[00:11:26.552]called Project Plié with
the Boys and Girls Clubs
[00:11:28.788]and with ABT, so that
means so much to me.
[00:11:33.359]BILL: Would you like to tell us
a little bit about that project?
[00:11:34.927]MISTY: Okay. (laughs)
[00:11:36.562]Yeah, it came up ...
[00:11:40.699]I think it's something that
I will do in the future
[00:11:43.235]more hands-on, like I would
love to have my own foundation
[00:11:47.039]and continue that message
of introducing ballet
[00:11:51.243]to more people,
[00:11:53.479]I feel like we're just
not as comfortable,
[00:11:55.314]not as educated in
what the fine arts are,
[00:11:59.385]and especially ballet.
[00:12:00.753]But me and my manager, and
the former associate director
[00:12:07.193]of ABT, Rachel Moore, we
set down at a private dinner
[00:12:12.865]and just kind of came
up with this idea.
[00:12:14.900]It was like, "Let's try and
recreate what your journey was."
[00:12:20.172]Starting at a Boys and Girls
Club, it was across the street
[00:12:23.275]from my public school, I could
just walk in and was given
[00:12:25.811]a free ballet class.
[00:12:27.613]So we modeled Project Plié
after that, and we exist
[00:12:32.718]in so many different communities
all over the United States
[00:12:35.154]now, not just in the
Boys and Girls Clubs,
[00:12:37.323]but in local schools,
and we have connections
[00:12:40.659]with local ballet schools.
[00:12:41.961]So you're being trained in
the JKO, which is ABT school,
[00:12:46.065]the Jacqueline Kennedy
[00:12:47.666]So all of these teachers are
trained in our curriculum,
[00:12:50.302]so they're getting the same
training that these dancers
[00:12:52.605]are getting in New York
City, training at American
[00:12:54.807]Ballet Theater School.
[00:12:55.875]BILL: That's fantastic.
[00:13:06.218]BILL: Also want to
congratulate you on your book,
[00:13:09.121]MISTY: Thank you.
[00:13:10.322]BILL: Can you share highlights
of the book and the impact
[00:13:12.992]that you hope it will
have related to body image
[00:13:17.463]It's funny, we were talking
backstage about food.
[00:13:24.737]So food has always been
a big passion of mine,
[00:13:29.408]not just eating it but cooking.
[00:13:31.443]And so throughout my
career, I'm constantly asked
[00:13:36.282]pretty much the same
bulk of questions.
[00:13:39.084]"What do you do for cross
training outside of dancing?"
[00:13:41.954]"What do you eat?"
[00:13:43.489]"How do you stay mentally
prepared and strong
[00:13:46.325]"and emotionally prepared?"
[00:13:48.827]"Who are the mentors
in your life?"
[00:13:50.596]"Do you mentor other people?"
[00:13:51.697]So it was like, let's just put
this all together in a book,
[00:13:55.367]and that's where
the idea came from.
[00:13:57.303]So it covers all those
areas of my life,
[00:14:01.707]and it's funny that I
haven't had Krispy Kreme
[00:14:05.010]in over a decade because it
was definitely the downfall
[00:14:08.681]of a point in my career
where I was just overeating
[00:14:12.551]because I wasn't happy with
myself and how I looked,
[00:14:15.854]and I had my first Krispy
Kreme today, and I did okay.
[00:14:19.925]Just had one.
[00:14:26.699]No, but I'm really, really,
really proud of this book
[00:14:29.501]because it's called
[00:14:31.704]and I have a lot of people
that haven't yet opened
[00:14:34.406]the book, and they're
like, "Well, I'm not going
[00:14:37.109]"to look like you."
[00:14:38.110]And that's not the
point of the book.
[00:14:40.646]The point of the book is
about creating your best
[00:14:43.983]version of yourself.
[00:14:45.551]So I say that I've
created my version of what
[00:14:48.120]a ballerina body is to me,
which is my healthiest self
[00:14:51.590]and not trying to look
like someone else,
[00:14:53.659]not being unhealthy which
is the image that is
[00:14:56.629]so commonly associated
with ballet dancers,
[00:14:59.498]that we don't eat, you
have to have blonde hair
[00:15:01.934]and white skin, and I'm
not any of those things.
[00:15:05.871]So I wanted to show that
it's possible to be strong
[00:15:08.540]and to be healthy and to succeed
[00:15:10.209]and be an individual.
[00:15:11.577]BILL: That's fantastic.
[00:15:13.479]MISTY: Thank you.
[00:15:19.685]ANN: On athleticism, in that
way, you are the first ballerina
[00:15:25.224]or performing arts
spokesperson for a very heavily
like Under Armor.
[00:15:32.598]ANN: And Under Armor, as
Mike had pointed out,
[00:15:34.667]had a campaign called
I Will What I Want,
[00:15:38.637]which speaks to women ... it's
a female-driven ad campaign,
[00:15:42.675]and it speaks to women not
waiting for permission,
[00:15:46.345]or advice, or affirmation from
others to do what they want.
[00:15:52.785]So could you speak a little
bit about what that campaign
[00:15:55.754]or that particular
message might mean to you?
[00:16:00.025]You know, getting the
opportunity with a company
[00:16:03.529]like Under Armor, I think
they were a little skeptical
[00:16:07.266]on their end.
[00:16:08.100]Well, not the people
that had the vision,
[00:16:10.602]which were the women, that
worked for Under Armor.
[00:16:14.673]They were like, "This
is the perfect pairing.
[00:16:16.709]"How can you not see this?"
[00:16:18.110]And Kevin Plank, the
CEO, was kind of like,
[00:16:20.012]"Okay, we'll sign her
and see what happens."
[00:16:23.582]And I felt like, "We're
clearly going to show them
[00:16:28.020]"that women are the most
incredibly strong people
[00:16:31.890]"on this planet, and that
ballerinas are, I think,
[00:16:35.694]"the hardest working
athletes in the world."
[00:16:37.896]So I was like, "Oh,
we'll show them.
[00:16:39.998]"We just gotta get
them to take me,
[00:16:41.433]"and we can really show
them the behind the scenes."
[00:16:44.002]But I think that's what's
missing again in America.
[00:16:47.039]I think that a lot of
people, something that's
[00:16:49.908]so foreign to them, it
just doesn't bring them in.
[00:16:52.778]It doesn't interest them.
[00:16:53.879]And I think, with the
Under Armor commercial,
[00:16:55.647]and I Will What I
Want in particular,
[00:16:57.182]it really gave people an
insight of the behind-
[00:16:59.618]the-scenes of what it takes
to put on this perfect show.
[00:17:02.721]That people assume
ballerinas are these perfect,
[00:17:04.957]thin little people that
aren't very strong,
[00:17:07.492]and we work so hard
to make it look easy,
[00:17:10.863]to make it look effortless.
[00:17:13.031]And I feel like that
commercial really gave people
[00:17:17.136]And then with the
message attached to it,
[00:17:19.338]showing ... it wasn't
exactly my story.
[00:17:22.974]The message that was being
read by the young girl
[00:17:25.310]in the commercial, but
it was close to it.
[00:17:27.780]But it was an actual
letter from a young girl
[00:17:29.982]who had been rejected from
a school because of the
[00:17:32.718]shape of her body, because
of the color of her skin.
[00:17:35.721]And it was showing that you
could hear all of these things
[00:17:38.557]and still succeed.
[00:17:41.860]And that's so much a part
of Under Armor's message.
[00:17:44.863]It's kind of this big
group of under dogs
[00:17:47.966]that go on to be extremely
[00:17:50.135]because they don't let hearing
that word "no" stop them.
[00:17:53.972]And I think it's so
incredible that they have
[00:17:55.974]so many amazing women that
are carrying that message
[00:17:58.277]and showing little girls
that we can be strong
[00:18:01.146]and independent and have
a voice and an opinion,
[00:18:04.383]and that we're still
feminine and beautiful women.
[00:18:15.794]BILL: You demonstrated amazing
discipline in your life
[00:18:19.164]that has led to
[00:18:22.134]What advice can you give
us on being disciplined
[00:18:25.404]to achieve our professional
goals, good health,
[00:18:29.675]as well as the dreams
that seem unattainable,
[00:18:32.344]that you've been able
to ... you had a dream
[00:18:34.480]and you've made
it become reality.
[00:18:35.681]What advice would
you give to us?
[00:18:37.950]MISTY COPELAND: I think it's
hard to put so much pressure
[00:18:42.921]When people think of
discipline, I think they think
[00:18:45.991]about depriving themselves
of fun, of happiness,
[00:18:52.064]of pleasure, and I think
it's all about balance.
[00:18:54.967]And it's something
that I've learned.
[00:18:57.436]I've gone through periods
of time where I'm like,
[00:18:59.538]"If I'm going to get there,
this is the only way,
[00:19:01.473]"and I'm not going to
hang out with anyone.
[00:19:02.708]"I'm going to do
this, and work hard,"
[00:19:04.476]and then you're like, "Oh
my God, five years went by
[00:19:07.713]"and I haven't done anything
except for dance on the stage."
[00:19:11.216]So I think it's really just
about finding a balance
[00:19:14.820]that works for you and
not trying to be perfect,
[00:19:17.823]because it's impossible.
[00:19:19.224]Allowing yourself to have
those days where you fail,
[00:19:22.561]or whatever that means to
you, and knowing tomorrow's
[00:19:25.964]another day to try
again, and to be better,
[00:19:28.467]and to start over.
[00:19:29.434]And that's just kind of
how I've lived my life,
[00:19:31.770]just not getting caught
up and torturing myself
[00:19:37.109]because I wasn't
perfect one day,
[00:19:38.844]or whatever that word means.
[00:19:40.913]And it's important, I think,
to have support around you.
[00:19:44.349]People to be there to encourage
you and to help guide you
[00:19:47.753]and to motivate you, and my
husband's been a big part
[00:19:51.256]of that part of my journey.
That's great, thank you.
[00:19:56.328]ANN CHANG: In our audience
today, we have many parents
[00:19:58.664]and young dancers.
[00:20:01.266]What advice would you
give the younger you
[00:20:03.669]as they embark on this career?
[00:20:05.871]MISTY: I think similarly
to what I just said
[00:20:08.040]and to what I still
tell myself today,
[00:20:11.810]I think I would have
told myself to calm down
[00:20:16.682]at a younger age and
enjoy the journey,
[00:20:21.019]and not just trying to put
so much pressure on yourself
[00:20:24.957]to be perfect, and
to reach a goal.
[00:20:27.392]It's great to dream, but
at my age, I'd been dancing
[00:20:33.131]for two years, and I was
watching Paloma Herrera
[00:20:35.767]rise through ABT, and I'm
like, "I'm not there yet."
[00:20:39.972]And it's like, you have
to travel your own journey
[00:20:42.741]and your own path,
and experience things,
[00:20:44.576]and build character, and become
a performer and an actress.
[00:20:49.715]And there are so many
layers, and it's so beautiful
[00:20:51.950]to experience all of that.
[00:20:55.187]I mean, if you consider that
you came to dance at 13,
[00:20:57.956]and so many of the other girls
[00:20:59.124]are now starting
so young, right?
[00:21:01.627]ANN: So it's even more important.
[00:21:03.161]MISTY: Yeah, so just relax
and enjoy yourselves.
[00:21:06.098]But work hard.
[00:21:11.403]ANN: So I want to make
it perfectly clear,
[00:21:13.739]that you, through much
hard work and dedication,
[00:21:17.709]have reached the success
of your prima ballerina
[00:21:23.015]success, period, and the
fact that we shouldn't
[00:21:27.986]let your race
eclipse your talent.
[00:21:31.490]So could you talk a little
bit about the challenges
[00:21:35.027]you've faced and
perhaps do you believe
[00:21:37.896]there are additional challenges
because of your race?
[00:21:40.932]MISTY: Oh, absolutely.
[00:21:42.567]And that's something I've
never shied away from
[00:21:44.603]or tried to cover up.
[00:21:45.837]You know, in the end,
I'm a dancer in American
[00:21:49.474]Ballet Theater, and I
don't want to be treated
[00:21:52.010]any differently, I don't
feel like I'm any different
[00:21:54.880]from anyone around me, but
to ignore the fact that
[00:21:59.618]there hadn't been any before me,
[00:22:03.955]and in most top-tiered
companies, there haven't,
[00:22:07.292]there clearly is
something wrong there.
[00:22:08.994]And I think it's doing
a disservice to bringing
[00:22:12.864]more diversity to
ballet by ignoring that
[00:22:15.367]or by not having a voice.
[00:22:17.536]And by meeting Raven Wilkinson
and hearing her story,
[00:22:20.372]she gave me that power,
to feel like my voice
[00:22:25.410]and being a black woman
in the ballet world
[00:22:27.412]is just as big as my
talent, and I felt like
[00:22:30.716]I had a responsibility
as a black woman
[00:22:33.251]to be the voice for so many
that didn't feel comfortable,
[00:22:38.757]that weren't supported or
felt like they could lose
[00:22:42.527]their position within a
dance company by speaking up.
[00:22:45.564]But it's interesting.
[00:22:49.501]I feel like because I grew
up in Southern California,
[00:22:51.770]which is very diverse,
I was kind of closed off
[00:22:56.108]from the realities
of the ballet world.
[00:22:58.844]I was told at 13 years old,
"Oh, you have the perfect
[00:23:05.617]Well, at the time I did.
[00:23:06.952]I hadn't gone through puberty.
[00:23:10.989]And my skin color was never
brought to my attention,
[00:23:13.658]anyways to my face.
[00:23:15.627]It was behind the
scenes I later learned.
[00:23:17.996]But it wasn't until I
became a professional
[00:23:20.332]that I realized how
important it is to understand
[00:23:25.237]who you are, I think, to
bond with people who are
[00:23:27.539]similar to you, at
least to your early ages
[00:23:30.709]of coming into your own.
[00:23:32.611]And I feel like I
didn't have any of that
[00:23:34.112]in the ballet world, so
I started to second guess
[00:23:35.847]why I was there, and
that would I ever make it
[00:23:38.483]beyond the corp de ballet.
[00:23:39.785]I mean, I felt so
fortunate just to be in the
[00:23:41.520]corp de ballet, but it was
like, what is my journey
[00:23:44.022]really going to be?
[00:23:45.624]Is it realistic for me to
even dream of being a soloist
[00:23:48.360]or a principal dancer
as a black woman?
[00:23:50.562]I had several people,
people who were on the staff
[00:23:54.366]at ABT, either they
said it to my face
[00:23:56.735]or I heard it through
people, that I didn't belong
[00:23:59.070]on the stage in Swan Lake
because I didn't fit in
[00:24:02.240]with the corp de ballet
because the color of my skin.
[00:24:04.643]I dealt with being
told I was fat,
[00:24:09.214]being told my breasts
were too large,
[00:24:10.549]being told I was too muscular,
[00:24:12.184]and it's taken a long time
and I've had really amazing
other black dancers
[00:24:17.923]in the ballet community,
and the common theme
[00:24:21.693]is that a lot of
minority dancers are told
[00:24:25.664]they have the wrong body.
[00:24:28.066]And to me that's just
code language for
[00:24:30.502]"you have the wrong skin color."
[00:24:32.237]And that's something that I
really just want to address
[00:24:36.441]and just to show people
that maybe don't want
[00:24:41.379]to accept more diversity,
or those dancers
[00:24:44.349]that have been told
they're not right for it,
[00:24:48.453]that I'm proof that it
doesn't matter the package
[00:24:51.489]you come in.
[00:24:52.724]If you're an artist,
and you're passionate,
[00:24:55.060]it's the beauty that people
come to see on the stage.
[00:24:58.763]It's not someone's skin
color or that they look
[00:25:01.166]exactly like the dancer that
danced 20 years before us.
[00:25:04.336]It's about being an
individual and making people
[00:25:07.138]feel something in the audience.
[00:25:19.284]ANN: I ask you this question
knowing how you're going
[00:25:22.153]to respond, which is now
that you've succeeded
[00:25:24.456]and taken this position, that
you feel additional pressure,
[00:25:27.459]not a pressure so much but-
[00:25:29.861]ANN: -responsibility, and
to some great lengths
[00:25:33.298]that you've gone that
you've referred to
[00:25:36.101]when you're dancing
[00:25:37.669]because you know that
the audience had come
[00:25:40.572]to see you.
[00:25:41.773]MISTY: Yeah, I'm often asked ...
[00:25:44.976]I don't if it's that I'm
... maybe I'll look back
[00:25:48.313]in 20 years, and I'll be like,
[00:25:49.714]"Wow, there was a
lot of pressure."
[00:25:51.883]But at the moment, I don't
particularly feel it.
[00:25:55.153]I think also because I just
don't often allow myself
[00:25:58.156]to be removed, and looking
in, I try and tell myself
[00:26:03.328]to be so present and in the
moment with all of these
[00:26:05.697]opportunities that I have.
[00:26:08.500]But it's again a
responsibility that I feel like
[00:26:14.105]I'm in this position,
and I've often thought
[00:26:18.476]when will there be another
black woman in this position?
[00:26:21.579]I have to use this opportunity
to maybe open more doors
[00:26:27.185]for more people to come
in and be a part of this
[00:26:30.355]incredible art form that's
[00:26:33.658]and changed my life and
made it so much richer
[00:26:36.494]than it was before.
[00:26:38.797]ANN: You are doing it
with the Project Plié.
[00:26:40.899]MISTY: Thank you.
[00:26:41.933]ANN: Among other things.
[00:26:43.201]BILL; What do you see in terms
of the current environment
[00:26:45.203]related to diversity
in the performing arts?
[00:26:48.940]Do you feel like
things are changing?
[00:26:51.609]What do you see in the future?
[00:26:53.178]And what would you say to us?
[00:26:54.479]What can we do to support
you and the things
[00:26:59.384]that you're working toward?
I've definitely seen a change,
[00:27:03.221]and I think that sometimes you
have to kick the door down.
[00:27:07.559]You can't just
pry it open slowly
[00:27:09.694]and poke your head in.
[00:27:11.496]But I feel like by speaking
so candidly about race
[00:27:17.702]and just being true and
honest, and not just sharing
[00:27:21.172]my journey but other
people that I've talked to
[00:27:23.408]or read their stories.
[00:27:26.111]I think it's so important
for other people
[00:27:27.612]to understand what
other people experience.
[00:27:31.383]And it's not putting
other people down.
[00:27:33.218]It's just educating people
and opening their eyes.
[00:27:35.720]And I feel like being given
all of these opportunities
[00:27:39.591]with Barbie, with Under
Armor, with all of these
Estee Lauder, Seiko,
[00:27:46.531]I'm being shown to more
people than would typically
[00:27:52.437]come to the ballet.
[00:27:54.372]And because this
conversation's being had
[00:27:56.975]on a much broader stage than
just the ballet community,
[00:28:00.512]it's forcing the ballet
community to address it.
[00:28:04.616]And I guess you could call
it affirmative action,
[00:28:08.019]but if it's gonna make change,
then that needs to be done.
[00:28:11.022]And I feel like that's
just where we are now
[00:28:12.824]in the ballet world especially,
[00:28:14.292]is that the spotlight's on us.
[00:28:16.161]People are looking
in like, "Oh really?
[00:28:17.695]"There isn't diversity?"
[00:28:18.630]"We never really
[00:28:20.098]Because people weren't
[00:28:21.466]and a lot of people
are interested now,
[00:28:23.802]and they're seeing,
and it's forcing people
[00:28:25.136]to make that change.
[00:28:27.338]And so I think it's
just the first step,
[00:28:29.207]and I just encourage
[00:28:32.510]whether you're a minority
or not, just to be open
[00:28:38.016]about having that conversation
and not afraid to address it.
[00:28:44.489]BILL: Here at the
University of Nebraska,
[00:28:46.057]we are striving to create
an inclusive environment
[00:28:48.660]that's welcoming to
all, where each person
valued, and safe.
[00:28:53.898]How do you feel the arts can
help achieve this vision,
[00:28:57.602]our performing arts center
that's presenting today's
[00:28:59.904]forum as well as
just through art?
[00:29:03.575]MISTY: I think it's just getting
more people into the arts.
[00:29:07.212]Once you're in it,
we're doing it.
[00:29:09.247]I think it's just a matter
of getting people interested,
[00:29:12.383]and I think maybe a lot
of parents, when they put
[00:29:17.589]their children in the arts,
they're just thinking,
[00:29:19.891]"Is this going to be
a future for them?
[00:29:22.227]"Is this something they're
going to make a career out of?"
[00:29:24.529]And I think that it's
so important to expand
[00:29:29.067]a child's mind and creativity,
[00:29:32.303]and there's so much
the arts can do for you
[00:29:35.607]beyond just going on
to be a professional
[00:29:38.576]for me, as a young person,
I was in public school
[00:29:43.515]and I was extremely shy, and
I wasn't learning in a way
[00:29:47.519]that worked for me.
[00:29:48.853]I felt like I spent up until,
well maybe all through school,
[00:29:53.191]not really learning anything.
[00:29:56.294]And I feel like it wasn't
until I went into ballet
[00:29:59.297]that it expanded my mind
and it made me understand
[00:30:02.867]things in a way that
just going to school
[00:30:05.503]and reading a book or
having a teacher speak at me
[00:30:09.007]But I think being a part of
the arts broadens your ...
[00:30:13.077]I don't know, it just
allows you to grow in ways
[00:30:16.247]that I think not being
a part of the arts,
[00:30:18.049]it's not possible.
[00:30:20.385]And so again, I think
it's just showing people
[00:30:22.854]that it can do so much for you.
[00:30:25.623]There's no way, if you
met me at 13 years old,
[00:30:27.725]that you would ever think
I'd be on a stage speaking.
[00:30:30.395]People thought I was mute.
[00:30:34.232]No joke, and I just feel
like it's made me grow
[00:30:39.270]intellectually, and it's made
me more of a caring person.
[00:30:44.042]It's done everything for me.
[00:30:46.444]I don't know who I would
be without the arts.
[00:30:48.846]BILL: That's great.
[00:30:49.814]Well, on the topic of arts,
what are your favorite
[00:30:52.684]choreographers and why?
[00:30:56.120]MISTY: I'd say one of the first
choreographers that I worked
[00:31:01.326]with as a young dancer in
ABT that I fell in love with,
[00:31:05.196]his name is Jorma Elo,
and he does very modern,
[00:31:11.035]And he gave me a lot
[00:31:13.271]When you're in a
classical ballet company
[00:31:14.839]at the level of ABT, you
really have to pay your dues
[00:31:18.376]before you're ever
given an opportunity
[00:31:21.079]to be highlighted or
featured in something.
[00:31:23.281]But with ABT, when they do
more contemporary works,
[00:31:26.651]usually the principal dancers
are just doing too much
[00:31:29.654]or they're not really
interested in that stuff,
[00:31:31.756]so they use a lot of
the younger dancers.
[00:31:33.958]And I was someone that I
think adapted really well
[00:31:36.461]to other movement, and
that can be really hard
[00:31:38.963]for a lot of classical
dancers that have just trained
[00:31:40.965]in that their whole lives.
[00:31:42.533]So he was a big part of them
seeing me as an individual,
[00:31:48.072]was working with him.
[00:31:49.307]But Alexei Ratmansky, who
created Firebird for me.
[00:31:54.112]He's one of the most
phenomenal, creative people
[00:31:58.816]that I've ever met in my life.
[00:32:00.718]I have no idea how he has
the visions that he has,
[00:32:03.488]and then you go in
the audience, and ...
[00:32:05.290]You know, in the
studio, you're like,
[00:32:06.491]"What is this?
[00:32:07.692]"What is going on?
[00:32:09.060]"This looks crazy."
[00:32:10.061]And then you sit in the
audience and everything
[00:32:12.330]just blossoms and opens up.
[00:32:14.165]And he just has this
very old-school way
[00:32:18.236]of using the ballet
choreography as this incredible
[00:32:23.775]language in telling a story.
[00:32:26.644]And last, someone that
I've wanted to work with
[00:32:30.348]my entire career, I just
started working with last month,
[00:32:34.352]so it's really exciting,
but Wayne McGregor,
[00:32:36.454]who's the choreographer
for the Royal Ballet.
[00:32:39.891]And he does some really out
there, modern, crazy stuff,
[00:32:45.163]stuff that I could have picked
up like this when I was 19,
[00:32:47.999]and at 35 I'm like, "Oh, my God.
[00:32:49.667]"My brain and my body is not
working the way it used to."
[00:32:56.441]It's really hard.
[00:32:57.342]BILL: So is ABT doing
some of his work.
[00:32:58.543]MISTY: Yeah, we have a new
piece by Wayne that's going
[00:33:02.447]to premiere in the
spring season, yeah.
[00:33:05.583]ANN: So going back to bringing
people to the arts,
[00:33:08.019]I think there are some
reports that about six million
[00:33:10.755]people in the United States
attend ballet performances,
[00:33:13.991]yet your Under Armor commercial
hit nine million right away,
[00:33:17.929]so speaking in broad
numbers, what would you say
[00:33:20.832]to these three million
people to entice them to come
[00:33:24.369]and experience the ballet?
[00:33:25.970]MISTY: I think that's the
perfect way of doing it.
[00:33:28.039]Again, I think that so
many people look at ballet
[00:33:30.408]as a European art form
that's very exclusive
[00:33:33.478]and just something
they can't relate to.
[00:33:37.281]And I think it's all about
getting them in the door.
[00:33:39.717]And through so many
different channels ...
[00:33:42.920]When I started working
with Prince, I was a new
[00:33:47.892]soloist in the company,
and when he asked me to
[00:33:51.996]be in a music video, I was
never interested in doing
[00:33:54.699]anything outside of
American Ballet Theater.
[00:33:56.801]That was my life.
[00:33:58.736]And I thought, "Why would
I be a dancer in a music
[00:34:01.239]"video with Prince?
[00:34:02.473]"This doesn't really
make any sense for me."
[00:34:05.910]And then, the more that
I thought about it,
[00:34:08.478]and after meeting him and
just having so much respect
[00:34:12.784]for him as an artist, and
the fact that he respects
[00:34:16.487]so many different artists
and different genres,
[00:34:20.091]I was like, well, this is
the perfect opportunity
[00:34:22.860]to perform ballet, en
point, on top of a piano,
[00:34:27.364]in front of thousands
and thousands of people
[00:34:29.467]that would never have
stepped into the Metropolitan
[00:34:32.904]And it happened.
[00:34:34.105]To this day ... I don't
know, it was maybe 10 years
[00:34:36.340]ago now that I first
started working with him,
[00:34:38.543]and to this day, I still
meet people who say,
[00:34:40.978]"I saw your for the first
time in Madison Square Garden
[00:34:43.347]"or in Paris, or wherever,
performing with him,
[00:34:45.882]"and one I saw you perform
I stepped into the theater,
[00:34:50.154]"and now I'm a
fan of the ballet.
[00:34:52.089]"And I go on other nights
when you're not performing."
[00:34:54.192]And I feel like you have
to connect with people
[00:34:56.060]in a way that they're
going to be interested.
[00:34:59.096]But I feel like once they
step into the theater,
[00:35:01.499]it's so magical that you
can't not fall in love.
[00:35:04.602]ANN: Are we going to see you
in any more music videos?
[00:35:09.740]You never know, but
I don't think so.
[00:35:14.645]ANN: Well, there's only one Prince.
[00:35:16.047]MISTY: There's only one Prince.
[00:35:16.948]ANN: Yes, that's right.
[00:35:18.216]BILL: Well, on the topic of
the future, you've done
[00:35:21.385]some stuff in Vail recently,
you did some collaborations
[00:35:24.322]with the Kennedy Center, you're
obviously doing speaking,
[00:35:30.428]What future projects
do you see yourself
[00:35:32.396]doing in the future?
[00:35:33.531]What are your new dreams?
[00:35:34.799]What's the next step
for Misty Copeland?
[00:35:36.667]MISTY: I don't know.
[00:35:38.236]I've a been a principal
now, I think I'm going
[00:35:42.573]on three years, but
it still feels so new.
[00:35:45.009]I mean, I've been in the
company for like 15 years,
[00:35:47.678]but becoming a principle
dancer, it's such a different
[00:35:50.715]weight on you.
[00:35:53.518]And taking on all
these incredible roles,
[00:35:58.122]you just can't do them
enough and feel comfortable.
[00:36:02.527]So I just feel like I'm
so focused on my career
[00:36:04.829]still at this point,
but yes, I have so many
[00:36:07.265]things happening outside.
[00:36:09.467]I have The Nutcracker
in the Four Realms,
[00:36:11.335]the Disney movie that's
coming out this November,
[00:36:14.872]which is extremely exciting,
with an amazing cast.
[00:36:19.644]Like Keira Knightly,
and Helen Mirren,
[00:36:22.580]and Morgan Freeman, and
it's pretty incredible.
[00:36:25.483]And I'm the ballerina
princess in it,
[00:36:27.952]so I do a whole dancing thing.
[00:36:29.954]So that's exciting.
[00:36:32.256]I'm working on a
new children's book
[00:36:34.458]that's in the very,
very early stages,
[00:36:36.460]so I'm really
exciting about that.
[00:36:37.762]But I think I will
forever be doing projects
[00:36:40.331]that are connected to
ballet, that are pushing
[00:36:43.701]the envelope of the
lack of diversity
[00:36:47.838]and having that discussion.
[00:36:49.640]I don't know.
[00:36:51.375]I'll be involved
forever in some way.
[00:36:54.312]ANN: Well, we want to take
this moment to remind you
[00:36:58.015]that we will be taking
questions from the audience
[00:37:01.118]with the hashtag
E.N. Thompson Forum,
[00:37:04.989]and also you will be
able to ask questions
[00:37:06.824]by raising your hand, I believe.
[00:37:09.961]BILL: Actually, we have note cards.
[00:37:11.295]ANN CHANG: Note cards.
[00:37:13.598]BILL STEFFEN: What are the most
important roles you play
[00:37:16.334]on stage and in life, and
how do you prepare for them?
[00:37:20.071]MISTY COPELAND: Wow.
[00:37:21.906]That's a big question.
[00:37:27.311]I don't know how to ... I
mean, I feel like I take
[00:37:29.981]every single role that
I'm given very seriously,
[00:37:35.052]but one that I just ...
I've never been someone
[00:37:39.957]that got nervous
before I performed.
[00:37:42.226]I've always felt more
[00:37:45.329]in front of thousands
of people than I did,
[00:37:47.231]I don't know, speaking
in public, like in class.
[00:37:53.004]Like raising my hand and
having to answer a question,
[00:37:55.139]it terrified me.
[00:37:56.474]But Swan Lake is the
one ballet that still
[00:38:00.144]is just held in such
a high standard,
[00:38:04.615]and so many iconic ballerinas
have performed this role.
[00:38:07.685]So it's still something
that I feel like
[00:38:09.420]I don't know that I'll
ever be at the point
[00:38:12.423]that I want to be, so
that's something that will
[00:38:15.893]always, always keep me striving.
[00:38:17.895]But I'm just so happy and
fortunate to be in this position
[00:38:24.502]and to be doing all of these
incredible principal roles
[00:38:27.738]that still make me
excited to do them.
[00:38:31.542]I think that the role
outside of ballet
[00:38:36.681]and that's so extremely
important of course is a wife,
[00:38:40.918]and also, I think,
just being a figure
[00:38:43.254]that is representing dance.
[00:38:46.924]BILL: Thank you.
[00:38:49.960]This is kind of a fun question.
[00:38:51.896]What make you laugh,
what makes you cry,
[00:38:55.833]and what makes you go, "Hmm?"
is going to sound so bad.
[00:39:03.340]I love watching people fall.
[00:39:09.847]Not like ...
[00:39:11.148]BILL: Any particular setting?
[00:39:13.017]MISTY: Not like bad, like
hurt yourself falling,
[00:39:15.553]but I think it's
the funniest thing,
[00:39:18.222]and it makes me cry as well.
[00:39:20.257]I mean, when I fall, too.
[00:39:22.259]I fell down the
Great Wall of China.
[00:39:25.062]BILL: Oh, wow.
[00:39:26.197]MISTY: Yeah, uh-huh, I'm very
clumsy outside of ballet.
[00:39:32.503]But even when I fall, I think
it's the funniest thing ever.
[00:39:36.407]I'm also a crier.
[00:39:37.374]When I laugh, but
I'm also a crier.
[00:39:39.043]I don't know, meeting
young dancers that have
[00:39:43.380]incredible, inspiring stories.
[00:39:45.983]I'm such a baby and
I'll just start crying
[00:39:48.486]hearing it and
connecting with them.
[00:39:51.655]What makes me go "hmm?"
[00:39:54.625]I think when I still hear
stories or meet people
[00:40:00.364]that just don't really
[00:40:03.467]whether it's women and men,
or race, it's something
[00:40:10.608]that's just so hard for
me to really understand,
[00:40:15.479]and it makes me go "hmm."
[00:40:17.915]BILL: We have one more
question for you,
[00:40:21.952]but before we get to that,
I just want to remind you,
[00:40:24.655]as Ann mentioned, that you
can submit your questions
[00:40:27.057]on Twitter using the
hashtag E.N. Thompson Forum,
[00:40:30.327]and our ushers have note
cards, if you'd like
[00:40:33.130]to grab a note card
and write a question
[00:40:34.165]and pass it to them, and
we'll be taking questions
[00:40:36.667]from the audience in
just a few minutes.
[00:40:39.570]This next question
is a pretty big one.
[00:40:41.705]MISTY: Uh oh.
[00:40:42.973]BILL: We are the E.N. Thompson
Forum on World Issues.
[00:40:46.911]What wish do you
have for the country
[00:40:51.782]and the planet?
[00:40:57.988]MISTY: I think similarly to
what I was just talking about,
[00:41:01.792]I think especially in the
climate that we're living in
[00:41:04.662]right now, I think it's
important for us to remember
[00:41:09.834]that we are all the same.
[00:41:12.336]It doesn't matter
where you come from,
[00:41:13.504]it doesn't matter the
color of your skin,
[00:41:14.972]it doesn't matter
what gender you are,
[00:41:16.507]I think it's important for
us to remember humanity.
[00:41:20.211]And again, the arts, I feel
like with so much funding
[00:41:25.482]being taken away from
the arts right now,
[00:41:28.018]I think it's even more
important for us to stand up
[00:41:33.724]and have a voice and
support one another,
[00:41:35.826]and just to share
the importance of it
[00:41:40.064]and what it can do for
us as human beings,
[00:41:42.466]I think it's so uniting.
[00:41:44.535]And I think that's
what this country
[00:41:46.637]and the world needs.
[00:41:58.315]BILL: Misty, it's been such
a pleasure and honor
[00:42:00.851]to have this conversation
with you today.
[00:42:02.720]MISTY: Thank you.
Mike Zani will now share some
questions from our audience.
[00:42:10.094]MIKE: Alright, thanks very much
Bill and Ann and Misty.
[00:42:13.564]Our first question comes
from a member right here
[00:42:16.333]live with us.
[00:42:18.102]Many performers and
athletes have routines
before they perform.
[00:42:22.072]Maybe baseball players
don't change their socks
[00:42:23.741]when they're winning.
[00:42:24.875]Do you have any such habits,
if you'd like to share?
definitely change my tights.
[00:42:33.717]I'm so not a
[00:42:36.754]and most artists, I think, are.
[00:42:39.790]I mean, I've seen some crazy
stuff before people go on.
[00:42:43.794]Especially the Russians,
they do lots of crazy things,
[00:42:45.996]like knock on the floor, and
spit, and do weird things.
[00:42:51.201]I feel like especially
[00:42:55.472]I like things to be
as normal as possible.
[00:42:58.208]I feel like when you change
the environment of what
[00:43:00.911]you're used to rehearsing
in, that's when you get
[00:43:04.982]kind of out of sorts.
[00:43:06.417]So yeah, I don't know.
[00:43:08.185]When you're in the corp de
ballet, everyone's in one
[00:43:11.188]big dressing room, and
then when you're promoted
[00:43:13.123]to soloist, you usually
move to a smaller one
[00:43:15.659]that's more intimate,
and then as a principal,
[00:43:17.328]you usually have your own.
[00:43:18.829]And I was like ... I just
didn't want to be alone.
[00:43:22.032]I wanted to be
surrounded by my sisters,
[00:43:24.802]the people in the
corp de ballet.
[00:43:26.236]And so maybe that
was a superstition.
[00:43:29.073]After I was promoted,
they literally had to
[00:43:31.342]drag me out of the dressing
room when I was promoted
[00:43:33.410]to principal dancer.
[00:43:34.878]They were like, "You
can't be in here anymore.
[00:43:36.547]"We need space for other
corp de ballet dancers."
[00:43:37.948]And I was like, "No!"
[00:43:42.419]MIKE: Misty, our audience is
falling in love with you.
[00:43:44.054]They want to know where
you got your boots,
[00:43:45.089]where you got your sweater.
[00:43:48.759]We'll let you respond to
those on the Twitter feed
[00:43:50.494]if you'd like.
[00:43:52.596]We have some aspiring
dancers with us in the house
[00:43:55.833]What is a piece of advice
or two that you would give
[00:43:57.801]to the young dancers who
aspire maybe to achieve
[00:44:00.604]part of what you've
[00:44:02.439]MISTY: I think there's such a
fine line between working
[00:44:09.680]really hard and then
being too hard on yourself
[00:44:13.684]to the point of you not growing.
[00:44:16.420]And so I think it's important
to use all the people
[00:44:20.057]around you for those things.
[00:44:21.225]Like your teacher's
there to be hard on you,
[00:44:23.527]and you should listen
to them and accept
[00:44:25.963]their advice and words, but
it's also important I think
[00:44:29.867]to have family and
support of one's mentors
[00:44:32.336]that are in your life, that
are there to encourage you
[00:44:34.938]and to remind you why
you're working so hard.
[00:44:39.643]It's good just to have
a balance of support.
[00:44:42.780]MIKE: We have a few
questions about life.
[00:44:44.415]First, how do you manage
marriage and a career?
[00:44:47.785]And second, do you ever
feel pressure to fulfill
[00:44:49.586]the Western standard of
settling down and having kids?
[00:44:52.222]MISTY: No, I've never felt that.
[00:44:57.995]I mean, I think it's
a combination of living in
[00:45:02.366]New York City, of being a
working professional, and being
[00:45:08.439]so dedicated to my career and
wanting to achieve something.
[00:45:12.142]And as a dancer ... I
mean, a lot of dancers
[00:45:14.978]have children and
continue to dance.
[00:45:17.314]They're very supportive of that.
[00:45:19.716]But the path of my
career was so different
[00:45:24.755]I got my first opportunity
to do a principal role
[00:45:27.891]in a classical ballet
at the age of 29.
[00:45:30.227]Usually, by 29 most corp de
ballet dancers and soloists
[00:45:34.498]are retiring, not getting
their first opportunity
[00:45:37.034]to do a principal role.
[00:45:38.302]So I feel like the window
of me having a child
[00:45:42.172]during that time kind
of came and went,
[00:45:44.374]so I think it is something
I will do later in life,
[00:45:47.444]but it's definitely
something I want to do.
[00:45:49.246]When it comes to my husband,
I was not going to settle
[00:45:53.050]for anyone that didn't
respect and understand
[00:45:55.419]how much I have to give
of myself in this career,
[00:45:58.489]and he definitely
does, and so it works.
[00:46:06.263]How does dancing make you feel?
[00:46:08.599]MISTY: (sighs) Amazing, incredible.
[00:46:14.671]There's nothing in life
that I've ever had that same
which is scary.
[00:46:21.078]I've often thought, "Oh
my God, what am I gonna do
[00:46:23.747]"when I can't perform anymore?
[00:46:26.717]"I'm going to be a crazy mess.
[00:46:28.452]"What am I gonna do
to fulfill that?"
[00:46:30.988]But I don't know, it's
just something that
[00:46:34.291]it's hard to describe.
[00:46:36.293]It makes me feel
all the emotions.
[00:46:40.297]MIKE: Misty, is there ever
a point in your career
[00:46:42.666]when you wanted to give up?
[00:46:44.635]If so, how did
you overcome that?
[00:46:46.103]MISTY: Yeah, I think the one
time I can really pinpoint it
[00:46:50.774]is I must have been 21, 22.
[00:46:56.547]And it was really when I
realized for the first time
[00:47:00.717]that there were no other
black women in the company,
[00:47:03.420]and I was really
struggling with my body,
[00:47:05.856]and I had just been
approached by Arthur Mitchell,
[00:47:11.028]who was the artistic
director of the Dance Theater
[00:47:13.764]of Harlem, and he asked
me to come and take class
[00:47:17.634]with this company.
[00:47:19.670]And I was very
interested, and I did.
[00:47:23.073]And he offered me a soloist
position with the company.
[00:47:27.077]And it was something I
really had to go back
[00:47:29.413]and really think about,
what it is I really wanted.
[00:47:32.983]Not what would be
easy, not what was just
[00:47:35.686]being handed to me.
[00:47:37.120]And I felt like I would
be doing the black dance
[00:47:43.360]community a disservice if
I just stayed and danced
[00:47:45.996]in a group of people
that looked like me.
[00:47:48.899]I wanted to be able to
show that I could be
[00:47:52.102]a black woman in a white
company and succeed,
[00:47:56.406]and that it was going to
do more for the African
by being there.
[00:48:01.011]So that was probably one of
the more difficult times,
[00:48:03.213]knowing I wasn't getting a
lot of opportunities at ABT,
[00:48:07.317]and I was being told to lose
weight, and then I turned
[00:48:09.987]down this soloist contract
from Arthur Mitchell.
[00:48:12.956]In the end, it worked
out, but at the time,
[00:48:15.225]it was really, really
difficult to find
[00:48:19.062]my place and where I fit
in in the ballet community.
[00:48:23.000]MIKE: Alright, we have a
lot of young dancers
[00:48:24.801]with us tonight.
[00:48:26.069]Misty, this one may be
from someone who's not
[00:48:27.838]quite as so young.
[00:48:29.273]What advice would you
give to dancers starting
[00:48:30.941]in ballet later than most?
[00:48:32.709]MISTY: Well, I have that experience,
[00:48:35.245]so I think it's important
not to compare your path
[00:48:39.716]to anyone else's.
[00:48:41.685]I think so much is possible.
[00:48:43.654]I think there are so many
companies in the world,
[00:48:48.225]and it's about finding
the right fit for you.
[00:48:51.695]But I think that you have
to work twice as hard.
[00:48:56.433]You've missed a lot
of time and training.
[00:48:58.902]I think I was taking three
to four ballet classes a day
[00:49:01.872]when I first started,
just trying to catch up
[00:49:03.874]as quickly as I could.
[00:49:06.510]But yeah, I think working
hard and not allowing yourself
[00:49:10.514]to lose sight of your dreams
and thinking you're too old.
[00:49:15.118]I think anything's possible.
[00:49:17.187]MIKE: We have a lot of folks
active on our Twitter feed
[00:49:20.590]What is your most
[00:49:22.793]MISTY COPELAND: I think Juliet.
[00:49:25.429]I actually just did it
two nights ago in Detroit,
[00:49:28.732]but it's my all-time
[00:49:32.035]and I didn't think I
would ever perform it,
[00:49:34.504]and I didn't realize how
much acting means to me
[00:49:41.778]as a dancer.
[00:49:43.347]I don't think I understood
how important it is
[00:49:45.949]as a dancer to be able to
really connect to people
[00:49:48.452]and to tell a story.
[00:49:49.553]And Juliet probably does
more acting than she does
[00:49:52.189]dancing in the ballet.
[00:49:53.457]And it's just so
meaty, and I love it.
[00:49:58.228]MIKE: Alright, we have a great
multi-part question here
[00:50:00.397]from Riley, Molina, and Ava,
here with us in the audience.
[00:50:03.033]They said, "Love you
Misty," and they drew you
[00:50:04.568]as a ballerina here.
[00:50:05.435]MISTY: Love you too!
[00:50:07.337]MIKE: We're going to give
you their questions.
[00:50:08.238]There are six.
[00:50:08.905]They're rapid fire.
[00:50:09.506]Did your family enjoy ballet?
[00:50:10.941]MISTY: Uh, if I'm in it, I guess?
[00:50:16.413]MIKE: Did you
always enjoy ballet,
[00:50:17.514]even when you first started?
[00:50:19.349]MISTY: Did I always, you said?
[00:50:20.450]MIKE: Did you always
enjoy it, even at first?
[00:50:22.319]MISTY: I'd say the first day, I
did not, and then after that,
[00:50:26.857]I mean, I was on a basketball
court in socks and gym shorts.
[00:50:29.393]And I had no idea
what I was doing.
[00:50:31.194]This woman was just putting
my body into positions.
[00:50:33.363]I was like, "I don't like this."
[00:50:35.799]MIKE: What was your
very first ballet?
[00:50:37.901]MISTY: I think it was The Nutcracker.
[00:50:41.405]MIKE: That answers
the next question,
[00:50:42.939]"Did you ever take part
in The Nutcracker?"
[00:50:44.241]Have you broken any
bones while doing ballet?
[00:50:47.077]MISTY: I've not completely
broken any bones.
[00:50:52.916]I've had a ton of sprains,
and I had a stress reaction
[00:50:58.321]in my lower lumbar pretty
early on in my career,
[00:51:00.390]and I had to wear a back brace
for a year and not dance.
[00:51:02.526]That was pretty crazy.
[00:51:03.927]And then my most recent
and most severe injury
[00:51:06.696]was five or six years
ago, and I had a plate
[00:51:09.132]screwed into my tibia because
I had six stress fractures,
[00:51:12.035]and three of them were called
dreaded black-line fractures.
[00:51:14.805]So they were almost full
breaks through the bone.
[00:51:16.740]MIKE: And their last question,
how many performances
[00:51:20.977]have you made?
Oh, I have absolutely no idea.
[00:51:24.648]I can't even guess.
[00:51:26.016]I literally have
no idea. (laughs)
[00:51:28.718]MIKE: Alright, one of our other
young dancers wants to know
[00:51:30.253]how did you become so flexible?
[00:51:33.256]MISTY: I definitely think it's
possible to become flexible,
[00:51:37.994]but I was always extremely
flexible before I ever danced.
[00:51:41.798]I didn't know what
it was I was doing,
[00:51:43.066]but I was always in a
split or doing weird things
[00:51:46.636]with my arms.
[00:51:48.371]But I think it's about
doing it the right way.
[00:51:52.309]I don't know with a lot
of the stretches and stuff
[00:51:56.012]that gymnasts do, where
you see them with their
[00:51:58.949]feet on chairs and they're
hanging down in the middle.
[00:52:02.118]There's a lot of stuff that's
really bad for your ligaments
[00:52:04.321]and your muscles, but I think
being done the correct way
[00:52:08.658]with someone who knows
about body alignment, yeah,
[00:52:13.763]the more you do anything,
the better you become at it.
[00:52:16.132]I think it's the same
way with stretching.
[00:52:18.568]MIKE: Vanessa, who's nine,
would like to know
[00:52:20.103]what's the most difficult
dance move for you to do?
[00:52:22.806]MISTY: It changes with age.
[00:52:28.311]At the moment ... well,
I think ever since I had
[00:52:33.884]my injury on my left leg,
it's been really difficult
[00:52:36.152]for me to do pirouettes
[00:52:39.823]because my leg swells up still
to this day pretty quickly.
[00:52:43.760]So fouettes are probably
the most intense
[00:52:46.029]for my surgery leg.
[00:52:48.064]MIKE: When and how did you
decide to make the move
[00:52:50.066]to become professional?
[00:52:51.935]MISTY: Gosh, it all
happened so quickly.
[00:52:55.672]When I took my
first ballet class,
[00:52:57.674]my teacher's intention
was for me to come into
[00:53:00.577]her school on a full
scholarship because she saw
[00:53:02.178]potential for me to
be a professional.
[00:53:04.247]So once I agreed
to train with her,
[00:53:07.217]I was kind of
committing and saying,
[00:53:10.253]"Okay, that's what my
journey's going to be."
[00:53:12.122]So I'd say within a week,
I'd made that decision
[00:53:14.958]at 13 years old, and
then I went on to live
[00:53:16.993]with my teacher and
[00:53:18.762]so that was always the goal.
[00:53:20.897]MIKE: Alright, on our Twitter
feed this evening,
[00:53:22.599]we have a question from a
first-year dance teacher.
[00:53:24.668]Misty, what advice do you
have on how I can help
[00:53:27.003]inspire my students
to help them succeed?
[00:53:30.073]MISTY: I think again, it's a
fine line with being strict
[00:53:35.278]and also being able
to relate to them,
[00:53:37.480]and to remind them
that you are a dancer,
[00:53:40.183]were a dancer as well.
[00:53:41.651]I think it's good for them
to see this connection
[00:53:44.955]that they can relate to you.
[00:53:47.357]And I think it's easier
for kids to then accept
[00:53:51.728]your advice, that it's not
that you're just talking
[00:53:54.297]at them, that it's like,
[00:53:55.865]"Oh, you've been through this.
[00:53:57.133]"Okay, I'm going to listen."
[00:53:58.802]MIKE: Thank you.
[00:54:00.170]A member of our audience
this evening says,
[00:54:05.041]"As a black woman, I
remember taking dance classes
[00:54:06.977]"in which every girl
was expected to wear
[00:54:09.012]"pink tights and shoes, and
feeling very uncomfortable.
[00:54:12.582]"Are there still unspoken
rules or regulations
[00:54:14.484]"that serve as barriers
for women of color?
[00:54:16.586]"How have they changed if so?"
[00:54:18.822]MISTY: Yeah, you know, it's
something that's so interesting.
[00:54:24.260]There's been a lot of
turnaround in the professional
[00:54:28.732]ballet world in terms of
the artistic directors
[00:54:31.134]and artistic staff, and
it's been interesting
[00:54:32.836]to see dancers from my
generation that are now
[00:54:37.974]And I've had amazing
conversations with a lot of them
[00:54:41.578]that want to be ready and
use the right language
[00:54:46.750]in speaking to someone
who's not white in a ballet
[00:54:50.120]company and how to
approach all these things.
[00:54:52.088]So I think it's
something that we're all
[00:54:54.457]still trying to figure
out in the ballet world.
[00:54:55.859]You know, the reason
that ballet dancers wear
[00:54:58.028]pink tights and pink shoes
is because it's supposed
[00:54:59.996]to replicate your skin
color, which in itself,
[00:55:02.899]it's like, "Alright, ballet
is only for white people."
[00:55:06.369]And so the fact that
to this day, it's just
[00:55:09.172]become our uniform.
[00:55:11.574]So at ABT, I'm in pink
tights and pink shoes.
[00:55:14.678]It's just a part
of what ABT does.
[00:55:17.614]But depending on the
role that I'm doing,
[00:55:20.450]I've had our artistic
director, Kevin McKenzie
[00:55:23.920]say to me, "If you want to
wear skin-colored tights
shoes, you can,"
[00:55:29.059]depending on what the role is.
[00:55:30.260]And again, I've had
[00:55:31.561]with other artistic
directors that have asked me,
[00:55:33.963]"What should I say?"
[00:55:35.565]And I say, "Give them the
opportunity, if that's
[00:55:39.002]"Allow them to do what
makes them comfortable."
[00:55:41.504]Because it's about creating
the best line for yourself.
[00:55:44.340]It's not about trying
to make these dancers
[00:55:46.743]look like everyone else.
[00:55:49.179]MIKE: Have you ever had a time
when you were tired of dancing
[00:55:51.548]and didn't want
to do it anymore?
[00:55:52.949]If so, tell us about that.
[00:55:55.118]MISTY: It happens a lot.
[00:55:56.219]I mean, I think everyone
goes through it.
[00:55:58.188]I don't think every single
day is like rainbows
[00:56:03.093]You've got a lot
of aches and pains.
[00:56:05.028]And in a company like ABT,
which is not like most,
[00:56:08.631]I've experienced guesting
with other companies,
[00:56:11.534]and I've never seen a
company work as hard
[00:56:14.471]or as much as ABT does.
[00:56:16.339]So of course there are times ...
[00:56:18.374]You know, preparing
to come on this tour,
[00:56:20.643]we were also working
with Wayne McGregor
[00:56:22.178]and Alexei Ratmansky,
creating two new ballets
[00:56:24.848]while trying to rehearse like
10 ballets for this tour.
[00:56:28.118]So for a month straight,
I worked five days a week
[00:56:33.423]from 10:15 to 7:00 p.m.
without a break during the day,
[00:56:37.727]and that can make you go insane,
[00:56:39.863]so I'd say last month
I had those thoughts.
[00:56:45.168]And again I think you
have to pace yourself
[00:56:47.470]and be intelligent, and I
had a lot of conversations
[00:56:50.840]with my artistic director
about not running myself
[00:56:55.245]into the ground.
[00:56:56.679]MIKE: Misty, another question
from our E.N. Thompson Forum
[00:57:00.784]What advice do you have for
students that experience
[00:57:02.919]bullying from other
dancers in the studio?
[00:57:06.990]I think it's important to
say something to someone
[00:57:10.226]and not just to let
that happen to you.
[00:57:13.863]Yeah, I think it's
important to address it.
[00:57:18.301]It's only going to
get worse, I think,
[00:57:21.271]if you just allow
that to happen to you.
difficult to deal with,
[00:57:26.810]especially at a young age,
[00:57:28.645]but when you're in an
environment like in a studio,
[00:57:31.948]you should feel so free to
create and to be vulnerable,
[00:57:38.087]and so I think it's
important to say something.
[00:57:41.925]A member of our audience
this evening says,
[00:57:45.161]"You mentioned that a
big part of your success
[00:57:46.796]"has been having support
[00:57:49.032]"What advice can you
offer to young dancers
[00:57:50.834]"who don't have support
and who aren't encouraged,
[00:57:53.703]"and how can they stay
true to their dream
[00:57:55.238]"and train well when
their parents and friends
[00:57:57.307]"might be bringing them down?"
[00:57:58.942]MISTY: I say this a lot to
dancers that I mentor.
[00:58:03.346]Even if you weren't a
dancer, and you were going
[00:58:09.552]to college, I think it's
important to seek out
[00:58:13.489]people that are
going to inspire you,
[00:58:17.393]and people that are
going to motivate you.
[00:58:19.362]I think it's your
responsibility to find that.
[00:58:23.433]And I feel like that's
something that I understood
[00:58:25.201]once I got older, but not
to be afraid to go after
[00:58:27.971]what you want and to look
for people that are going
[00:58:31.241]to give you that encouragement,
because they're out there
[00:58:34.210]and especially in
the dance community.
[00:58:35.678]I feel like it's such
a tight-knit, warm,
and there will be so many
[00:58:42.185]people that are ready to
lend their experiences
[00:58:45.855]that may be similar
and just to be there
[00:58:48.191]to support you.
[00:58:50.460]MIKE: Misty, what specific
advice would you give
[00:58:52.228]to dancers that want
to move to New York
[00:58:53.763]and become a professional?
[00:58:56.332]MISTY: Be prepared to
live in a shoe box.
[00:59:01.771]Well, I think it's the
most incredible city
[00:59:06.376]on the planet.
[00:59:08.011]And I think that as a
dancer, you will just be able
[00:59:12.682]to experience so many
[00:59:16.152]You'll be able to see so
many different performers
[00:59:19.522]and so many different
genres, and they have student
[00:59:22.225]tickets that are very cheap.
[00:59:24.394]I think it's an amazing
place to be and to grow
[00:59:27.196]as an artist, and I say do it,
[00:59:29.565]but just know that it's going
to be a lot of hard work.
[00:59:32.435]MIKE: What impacts or inspires
you most as an artist?
[00:59:35.471]MISTY: Sorry, what?
[00:59:36.606]MIKE: What impacts or inspires
you most as an artist?
[00:59:39.342]MISTY: What impacts
or inspires me?
[00:59:41.678]Well, I love watching
other art forms,
[00:59:46.983]and music has always been
something that has been
[00:59:51.621]the motivating force behind
why I wanted to dance,
[00:59:55.258]before I even knew
what ballet was.
[00:59:57.427]Again, I wasn't exposed
to classical ballet.
[01:00:00.830]I grew up listening to
a lot of soul, and R&B,
[01:00:03.433]and Mariah Carey was
probably the first one
[01:00:06.636]that I was like, "Okay,
I can move to this."
[01:00:09.672]And I think that was the
first time I started dancing.
[01:00:11.240]But I think just other
art forms and music,
[01:00:15.244]And of course, speaking and
seeing the next generation
[01:00:18.815]of young people, and
just how much better they
[01:00:22.852]continue to be, it's so
inspiring to witness.
[01:00:28.658]MIKE: Can you talk a little bit
about your experience in
[01:00:30.960]On the Town?
[01:00:31.928]How did being on Broadway
compare to being in ballet?
[01:00:35.131]MISTY: It was one of the most
[01:00:37.567]of my career.
[01:00:39.268]When I was asked to do
it, I said no five times
[01:00:43.706]because it was just
terrifying to me.
[01:00:46.142]That, and I didn't have time.
[01:00:47.076]But the thought of
learning lines and acting
[01:00:51.180]with my words was terrifying.
[01:00:54.317]And singing, I don't sing.
[01:00:57.653]But they just kept coming
back, and they literally
[01:01:02.859]worked it around my
schedule, which was crazy.
[01:01:05.828]So I was like, "Gotta do it.
[01:01:07.230]"I have no more excuses."
[01:01:08.831]They were like, "So
when are you available?"
[01:01:10.533]And we told them.
[01:01:11.701]They were like, "Alright,
those are the dates
[01:01:12.902]"you're gonna dance."
[01:01:13.770]I was like, "Okay."
[01:01:15.171]I ended up learning the
entire show in, I think,
[01:01:24.380]It was a very intense process,
[01:01:27.583]and I think the very first
show, I literally feel
[01:01:29.852]like I just blacked out, and
I woke up when I was done,
[01:01:33.489]and the audience was clapping.
[01:01:35.058]And I was like, "I have no
idea what just happened."
[01:01:40.063]But as a dancer, you
don't often get to perform
[01:01:43.066]the same ballet for
two weeks straight.
[01:01:46.569]Especially at ABT, we're
constantly changing works.
[01:01:49.672]So be able to really focus
and hone in on that one
[01:01:52.241]character and really
get used to it,
[01:01:54.710]it was so hard for me to
leave, and it was really sad.
[01:01:58.815]I cried a lot.
[01:01:59.682]But I'm actually
performing this summer
[01:02:02.251]with Tony Yazbeck, who was
the lead in On the Town.
[01:02:05.488]We're doing a small panada
from On the Town, at ...
[01:02:08.691]Where is it?
[01:02:10.593]In D.C. at Wolf Trap.
[01:02:15.932]MIKE: Do you use positive
self-talk, and if so,
[01:02:18.868]would you share your mantra?
[01:02:23.940]MISTY: I don't know that
I have something
[01:02:26.476]that I always say to myself.
[01:02:28.010]And it happens all the time
when you're performing,
[01:02:33.416]something happens, and
if it's not exactly how
[01:02:36.853]you wanted it to go, I'm
always saying, "Let it go.
[01:02:41.290]"Don't let that weight
hold you down for the rest
[01:02:43.159]"of the performance.
[01:02:44.427]"Try and be in the
moment and enjoy it."
[01:02:46.395]But I just am constantly
[01:02:49.232]how fortunate I am, how
happy I am to be doing
[01:02:52.502]something that I absolutely
love and am so passionate
[01:02:55.505]about, and not that many
people have that opportunity
[01:02:58.040]to do that.
[01:02:59.142]And that it's going
to be over one day,
[01:03:02.178]and just to really be in
the moment and enjoy it
[01:03:05.081]as much as possible.
[01:03:07.216]MIKE: Now a question I
thought Bill might ask.
[01:03:09.252]What do you think of
the show Dance Moms?
[01:03:11.020]Just kidding, Bill.
[01:03:15.191]MISTY: Is that like
your favorite show?
[01:03:16.959]I knew it, I knew it.
[01:03:20.730]So I haven't seen it that
... I mean, I think I saw
[01:03:23.199]a couple of episodes
when it first came out,
[01:03:25.868]so I'm not that familiar
with it, but I can say
[01:03:29.038]that every dance
show that's on TV now
[01:03:31.841]is doing something
positive for the art form.
[01:03:35.077]It's bringing dance and
music into people's homes,
[01:03:40.917]and I think it's
reaching so many people.
[01:03:42.585]So I think all of these shows
are positive in some way.
[01:03:45.621]It may be reaching some
young boy that would never
[01:03:48.991]have known what dance was
and never felt they could
[01:03:51.360]be a part of it, and
now it's in their home,
[01:03:52.962]and they see something
[01:03:55.498]MIKE: You spoke earlier with
Bill and Ann about athleticism.
[01:03:58.501]What other sports did
you participate in
[01:04:00.303]when you were young and
throughout your life?
[01:04:02.071]MISTY: I didn't do anything.
[01:04:03.906]I mean, I was so shy, and
I didn't feel a connection
[01:04:08.277]I was never a part of any sport.
[01:04:11.080]I literally just existed
and went to school.
[01:04:15.351]But I was the only
person in my family
[01:04:17.753]that wasn't an athlete,
which is so interesting.
[01:04:20.389]So I guess I kind of played
around with my brothers.
[01:04:24.327]Basketball is my favorite sport.
[01:04:26.829]But they would make
me wrestle with them
[01:04:30.800]because I was so little
that they could just
[01:04:32.802]throw me around and put
me in crazy positions.
[01:04:34.904]But no, I didn't play anything.
[01:04:38.407]MIKE: What about the Olympics?
[01:04:39.375]Do you have a favorite
Winter Olympics sport?
[01:04:40.876]MISTY: Winter, I don't know.
[01:04:44.113]I haven't seen anything yet.
[01:04:45.881]I've been really busy.
[01:04:48.050]I haven't seen anything yet.
[01:04:49.252]But Lindsey Vaughn
is my favorite.
[01:04:51.687]MIKE: Tell us a little bit, Misty,
[01:04:54.023]how do you prepare
to dance, say,
[01:04:55.725]Stravinsky versus Tchaikovsky?
[01:04:59.829]MISTY: Stravinsky is really
difficult to dance to
[01:05:07.069]if you're not that
familiar with the music.
[01:05:09.905]So with Firebird for
[01:05:13.409]it took me months of
listening to this music.
[01:05:16.846]The first time I heard
it, it literally just,
[01:05:18.648]there were just so many notes,
[01:05:20.416]and when you're being
[01:05:22.018]and you're told to
go on this part,
[01:05:23.719]and you're like, "I
literally have no idea
[01:05:25.321]"when it's going to happen."
[01:05:26.555]So you're just
[01:05:29.025]So I think it's important
to just have the music
[01:05:32.662]be so in your bones that
it allows you to dance.
[01:05:37.733]But the two are so
[01:05:40.770]What do you think of
the lack of male dancers
[01:05:42.405]in ballet, and the mentality
surrounding that subject.
[01:05:46.208]MISTY: It's interesting.
[01:05:49.679]Again, in Europe, it's
really not an issue,
[01:05:52.715]and I think it's our
society that doesn't
[01:05:55.751]really ... maybe they're
not, again, educated
[01:05:59.689]in what classical dance
is because once people
[01:06:02.158]are in the studio and they
see it hands-on, it's like,
[01:06:05.695]"Oh my gosh, they're so
strong, and it's so masculine,
[01:06:09.765]"and it's so beautiful."
[01:06:11.400]And again, I just think it's
about creating an environment
[01:06:15.905]where a boy is going to feel
comfortable being a part
[01:06:19.275]of an art from like
dance or like ballet.
[01:06:22.611]I think that's our
responsibility as Americans,
[01:06:26.248]to not just say as a
boy, all you can do
[01:06:29.752]is play football.
[01:06:32.154]And I think that male
dancers are stronger
[01:06:34.090]than football players.
[01:06:44.533]MIKE: So a couple of last
[01:06:46.135]Other than ballet, what
are your favorite genres
[01:06:50.740]And do you ever incorporate
them into your ballet?
[01:06:55.544]MISTY: (laughs) I don't know.
[01:06:59.181]I mean, I love
[01:07:03.419]and I think that it's a
genre that's still so open
[01:07:06.956]to growth, so it's really
interesting to watch
[01:07:10.960]that genre of dance just kind of
[01:07:13.429]move in different directions.
[01:07:15.598]I tried to be a good
[01:07:18.067]It's really hard when
you spend all your time
[01:07:19.535]working so much on classical.
[01:07:21.537]But again, when I
worked with Prince,
[01:07:23.606]and I've danced with other
musicians and artists,
[01:07:27.543]but I feel like that's what
I apply what I've learned
dance, like through improv
[01:07:33.115]and just being able
to move in a way
[01:07:36.552]that works with the music,
that's not necessarily ballet.
[01:07:40.189]MIKE: You've talked a little
bit about your family.
[01:07:42.925]Give some advice to
families of dancers here,
[01:07:45.127]siblings, or parents,
[01:07:46.729]What's the best advice
you can share with them
[01:07:48.164]in supporting the dancer?
[01:07:50.132]MISTY: I think it's important to
be there for your young dancer,
[01:07:57.940]but also not to be
[01:08:01.243]I've seen so many
dancers get discouraged
[01:08:03.846]because their parents wanted
them to be a dancer so bad,
[01:08:07.249]or the opposite of not
having that real support,
[01:08:09.952]so they didn't feel encouraged
and like it was something
[01:08:14.857]they should be doing.
[01:08:16.692]So I think it's
such a hard balance,
[01:08:18.794]but being there for them
and allowing them to feel
[01:08:22.198]comfortable enough to
come and ask for advice
[01:08:25.033]and ask questions.
[01:08:27.002]MIKE: Alright, thank
you so much, Misty.
[01:08:28.537]I know on behalf of everyone
in the Thompson Forum
[01:08:30.538]and the Lied Center
for Performing Arts,
[01:08:31.907]we want to thank you for
inspiring us this evening.
[01:08:34.042]Thank you so much.
[01:08:35.176]MISTY: Thank you so much.
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