Misty Copeland - African American Soloist ABT & Under Armor Ad -

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by AxelAnnie, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Oh My - I ran across this - I am not even sure how.

    This is the Under Armor Ad that has gone viral - "I will what I want". If there are 10 threads on this, I apologize.

    This woman, brought up in San Pedro CA - by a single mother, living in a hotel - found ballet when she was 13. You don't start ballet at 13. You do not become a soloist if you are black.

    Her is a link to a competition she was in when she was 15. She danced a piece from Don Quixote.
    Stunning. Her Fouette turns are quite amazing. Her smile is reminiscent of Debi Thomas. And at 1:20 in the video she has a look on her face with all the beauty and determination of Sasha Cohen.

    She has a book out: "Life in Motion, an Unlikely Ballerina". What an inspiration.

    Am I simply the only person who had no knowledge of her?
     
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  2. Flying Camel

    Flying Camel Member

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    I love her. She is simply beautiful. I actually found her online by accident. I don't think most people outside of the dance world know of her. She is a true role model for black girls who dream of becoming dancers.
     
  3. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

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    What an ad! She is a great model for any girl who doesn't fit the established "look" for what ever it is they want to do.
     
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  4. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    I read somewhere that they are making a movie based on her book.
     
  5. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    I watched several interviews on YouTube. She is so well spoken. Lovely to listen to. Forthright in her answers, and seemingly un ruffled by rather intimate questions about her race, her poverty and her place in the world.

    I am listening to her book which is fascinating....in spite of the affected voice and diction of the person reading it. Wish she had read it herself.

    She has a one page blurb in People....which is where I heard about the ad that has had almost 4 million hits. I hope her message continues to resonate with women, people with dreams and "all the little brown girls" [her words].
     
  6. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    AxelAnnie and skatesindreams like this.
  7. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Oh thank you. That will be fun. I am just to the custody battle part in the book .
     
  8. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Says who?

    Arthur Mitchell
    Albert Evans
    Lauren Anderson
    Virginia Johnson
    Christopher Boatwright
    Raven Wilkinson
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  9. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Says who what?
     
  10. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Misty Copeland is very busy lately claiming a lot of things that simply aren't true, including that you don't become a soloist if you are black. Nubka is just setting the record straight.

    I advise others to take what Misty says with a grain of salt.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  11. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    "You do not become a soloist if you are black"
     
  12. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

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    So few and far between ...
     
  13. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

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    I would agree to the extent that it's a rare to have a black soloist in a major ballet company that isn't Alvin Ailey or a predominantly black dance company. A black soloist is more the exception than the rule, otherwise Misty being a soloist wouldn't be such a big deal. She's only the 3rd black soloist in American Ballet's 75+ year history...
     
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  14. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ exactly. The ballet world is very strict and exacting. MISTY did not mean you could not....she simply meant that there is a certain body type and appearance that is sought after. Very few famous companies have had ethnic diversity in their schools, Corso de ballet, and even less as soloists and principal dancers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  15. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

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    Very true, but not impossible.
     
  16. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    What are the "lot of things" Misty is saying that are not true?
    It was a line in a commercial, no? I wouldn't expect that to be a venue where parsing words to be as exact as possible would take place.
     
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  17. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Well, Misty was carrying on about how she was the first African-American to dance Firebird with a major American company (ABT a couple of seasons ago). Not true at all; Stephanie Dabney did it back in the 80s. Copeland also claimed she was the first African-American soloist at ABT, until several people pointed out she was more like the third. She's also carrying on about her up-coming gig doing Swan Lake, as if it's a first. Sorry, but Lauren Anderson did it for Houston Ballet back in 1996, and I think Dabney may also have done it at some point even earlier. Misty has ignored a lot of dancers who broke a lot of ground before her in an attempt to make herself seem something she is not. What's holding back her career is not racism, but deficiencies in her technique.

    I've also heard it alleged, but do not know if it is true or not, that people in her home community in California
    are outraged at the way Copeland has portrayed her mother in her book, and that a lot of what she says is not true.

    I've seen her dance several times and I neither like nor dislike her. I think she is better suited to more modern pieces and less so to classical ones.
     
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  18. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    I discovered today there are "white ballets" - Giselle, Swan Lake and La Bayadere. These pieces are referred to as white ballets because the second half features the netherland with ethereal, mythical creatures - who are translucent, and very, very white and ghost like.
     
  19. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Could it be that Misty is simply unaware of past groundbreakers because she isn't familiar with that history, rather than she is intentionally ignoring them?

    I don't know--just wondered.
     
  20. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Anything is possible, but, personally, I'm not buying it.
     
  21. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    And I have seen productions of all three with Asian, Latina, African American, and other "non-white" dancers in the corps. They aren't called white ballets because only white people are allowed to be in them.
     
  22. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    ^^ I know that. They are called White ballets because of the nature of the characters. And, yes, there are non-white dancers in the corps.......there is a lot that has changed in the last few years. But the solos and feature parts are a little less available for people of different ethnicities, and it is more so in the major companies such as ABT. Example: Swan Lake - Dance of the Cygnets.
    Those ladies are quite white. I had no idea it was all such a huge stride (no pun intended)
    From The Australian:
     
  23. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    They are not called white because of the character and it's not the ballet but the 2nd or 3rd act that are referred to as white.
    Not sure about other companies, but Mariinsky likes to throw in quite a few black swans into the corps of Swan Lake, meaning black tutus. Cool picture: http://newsletter.mariinsky.ru/img/01jun13/swan_lake_3d.jpg
    So their white act is not always white in terms of costumes.


    One of my favorite Giselles is Yuan Yuan Tan who is originally from China.

    As to Misty--her body is absolutely divine, if not from strict ballet standards, than in general. That muscle tone is to die for. Her feet are pretty good. As a dancer she is not outstanding IMO.

    Back to ethnicity:

    I am not aware of any ethnic blacks employed by the Mariinsky. There is a Korean, I believe.

    A site dedicated to black ballerinas: http://blackballerinas.tumblr.com/

    Bolshoi had a student but didn't seem to handle it well, not surprised: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/...discrimination-at-bolshoi-academy/489887.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
    overedge likes this.
  24. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree that they are "a little less available" because of ethnicity. There are lots of things going into casting, including height, ability, style of dancing, and so on. No denying that there is discrimination at play in many places (including hiring at the corps level, where the features and soloists are likely to come from), but there are too many other things going on with casting to blame just ethnicity for it.
     
    IceAlisa likes this.
  25. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Ballet is discriminating, period. If you don't have the right proportions, you are out. If you don't have the right feet, you are out, etc. etc., etc.

    That is not to say that ethnicity doesn't play a role. I've heard plenty of balletomans say that Giselle should be white and Sleeping Beauty should be white, etc. That is nonsense. I don't care what color their skin is, as long as they have the right body for ballet and are great dancers.
     
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  26. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

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    Objectively speaking, if the corps in classical ballet is predominantly white, then a black dancer would stand out... which is not a good thing for the corps. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just simply stating the obvious. Similarly, a dancer who is a head shorter than the others would also stand out. Obraztsova was not given Swan Lake at the Mariinsky because she was considered too short and had to go elsewhere to dance Odette/Odile.

    Misty Copeland is gorgeous, but for classical ballet, I don't think she has the ideal body proportions...
     
  27. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    I feel the same about the SF Ballet Principal Maria Kochetkova. Lovely technique and stage presence and all that but I find it absolutely jarring how short her legs are. http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/legacy/i/partypictures/03_12_09/sf/100-Maria-Kochetkova-and-Joan-Boada-in-Possokhov's-Raymonda.jpg

    All she needs is a few more inches.

    Misty, OTOH, does not have good enough, surefire technique, and that bothers me more than her unconventional body type. At least her limbs are long. Not sure how old she is and how much longer she has to improve herself.
     
  28. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    I've had knowledge of her for quite a while, she has stopped by academies with youtube channels.

    I think I've always felt the overall vibe of someone that claims unjustice when she spoke, and I have no way to tell, she might be righfully expressing it.
    I didn't like her though, which is rare: I usually don't dislike people on first impressions, and even less so if they don't come from fields of opportunities.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
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  29. Bunny Hop

    Bunny Hop Perpetually learning Dutch Waltz

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    I was talking to my mother (ex-ballerina) about this the other day and she said pretty much the same as the above.

    Recent article from 'The Australian' on Misty Copeland:
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/art...017793784?nk=58b53af7b3d5385dd631da122c72a177
    I am seeing her in Swan Lake next weekend. To be honest, I'm just hoping to finally see a good Swan Lake live - I've been disappointed in previous performances from various companies. I've also never seen the American Ballet Theatre live, so really looking forward to this. I will be curious to see her as well, particularly based on people's opinions above.
     
  30. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Have a fabulous time.