Her webpage home page says it bluntly: When she discovered ballet, Misty Copeland “was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: A feat unheard of for any classical dancer.” Indeed. she is one of the most striking and talented performers in modern ballet history, but she had to overcome more than most dancers on her journey to the pinnacle of her field. Copeland’s amazing journey is recounted in “A Ballerina’s Tale.” The IFC Films theatrical release, directed by renowned music critic Nelson George, comes to Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD from IFC on February 2.
Dance with anticipation. A body ripple perhaps?
Iconic ballerina Misty Copeland made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer of the legendary American Ballet Theatre. “A Ballerina’s Tale” tells the incredible, behind-the-scenes story of how she overcame outmoded ballet culture stereotypes and near career-ending injuries to become one of the most revered dancers of her generation. More than just a ballet success story, the film is a hugely inspirational and universal tale of perseverance.
Copeland is unique among ballet stars: She didn’t start ballet dancing until age 13, yet quickly became a prodigy, and a mere five years after first lacing up toe shoes she joined American Ballet Theater. At 15 she was at the center of a custody battle between her mother and the ballet teachers who were serving as her custodial guardians. Through it all, she matured into one of the most sought-after ballerinas in the United States. Copeland was promoted to principal dancer (the highest possible rank within a professional dance company) at ABT in June 2015, making her the very first female African-American principal in the company’s 75 year history.
In addition to her dance career, Copeland has become a public persona and media star as a speaker, spokeswoman, Broadway performer in “On the Town,” featured dancer for musician Prince and reality TV star on “So You Think You Can Dance.” She has also written two autobiographical books, and serves as narrator of “A Ballerina’s Tale.”
In April 2015, Copeland (who has a massive social media and YouTube presence) was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by “Time,” which featured her on its cover. All of this and more aspects of Misty Copeland’s remarkable life and career, including overcoming a devastating injury, are recounted and explored in “A Ballerina’s Tale,” which “The Village Voice” called “a moving portrait of Copeland that underscores her triumphs over bodily and historical limitations.”