On October 14th, Sundance Selects' documentary, A Ballerina's Tale, will hit theaters and VODs nationwide. The film follows Misty Copeland's journey as the first African-American woman to join the American Ballet Theater, and it promises to be "more than just a ballet success story." Take a look:
Copeland made headlines on June 30, 2015 after the prestigious ABT promoted her to the principal dancer spot. In its 75 years of operation, never once had a black woman headlined a performance.
Although she isn't a rookie, having danced ballet since the age of 13, Copeland's lead position is somewhat new in the world of ballet -- it should go without saying that the art form lacks diversity. According to Pointe Magazine, there are a wide array of contributing factors including economic inequality, a lack of role models, a failure on part of school systems, and prejudice.
"I didn't fit the mold," Copeland says in her documentary. "Based on my body type, pedigree, and background, I should not have been a part of one of the world's greatest ballet companies."
Regardless of her color, Copeland serves some ballet REALNESS. Look at that form.
The "traditional" look of a ballerina is white and thin, so Copeland's busty chest, skin color, and muscular build have had her questioning her acceptance in the classical ballerina world since her start.
In the past three decades, African-Americans have increased in population from 11.52 percent to 12.6 percent. Pointe Magazine states that by 2043, whites are no longer expected to be the majority. That being said, the future for ballet dancers of color looks encouraging, or so says Johnson of DTH (to Pointe):
"I think five years from now, we won’t be talking about this anymore. When it happens, it’s going to happen very fast."
For anyone who has ever struggled at anything because of issues you couldn't control, this film is for you -- ballet fan or not. Give the documentary a watch. It'll be worth it.
Image via Misty Copeland.
Gif via Giphy.
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