Misty Copeland

In some ways Misty Copeland could be considered an anomaly. Most ballet dancers are primed early on in life, but Misty Copeland didn’t start taking ballet lessons until she was 13-years-old, which is considered unheard of in the world of ballet. Although she had a late start, that hasn’t prevented Copeland has taken the Ballet world by storm. Within four years after she started training, Copeland was accepted into the prestigious American Ballet Theater (ABT). Copeland is third African-American female soloist for the ABT, one of the countries leading ballet companies.

According to a release issued Wednesday by publishers Simon & Schuster and G.P. Putnam’s Son Books, Copeland, 30, is working on two books. Copeland’s memoir will go into details to describe the battles between her mother and dance instructors while she was a teen.  The media frenzy surrounding custody issues overshadowed her dance career, and placed pressure on the already strained relationship between Copeland and her mother.  The second book will be a picture book for younger readers dedicated to the art of ballet. Both books are scheduled for a 2014 release.

In a recent Ebony interview, Copeland described the feeling of being the first Black soloist at ABT:

EBONY: Being the first Black soloist in so long is such an awesome honor.  But why do you think it has been 20 years since there was a black soloist in the American Ballet Theatre?

Misty Copeland: Unfortunately, I think that many Black dancers are intimidated because they see that there haven’t been many who have made it successfully and they’re being told [by instructors] that it’s going to be such a struggle [to be a Black ballerina] and it’ll be easier for you to be a modern or contemporary or hip hop dancer. I mentor 7 and 8 year-old dancers and they’ve been told straight out that they can’t be a successful ballet dancer because they’re Black. I get so emotional when I see these struggles they are having. That’s why it’s so important for me to be a positive role model for them and to be a voice telling them, “Don’t give up!”

Congratulations, Misty!

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