Discovering What’s Wonderful About “A Misty Copeland Ballet Class”

It’s all about mentoring, and the power of teaching from generation to generation. It’s the kind of sharing that makes families stronger. That’s the kind of relationship which young dancers experienced at the November 6 ballet class hosted on the Harlem Stage. It was “A Misty Copeland Ballet Class” and it was filled with the stuff of ballet dreams and legends.

The inspiring class took place on the Harlem Stage, and drew from aspiring dancers at the Harlem School for the Arts and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Thirteen students received Copeland’s technical instruction at the ballet barres. Carmen de Lavallade led center floor exercises focusing on the artistry possible when dancers use their bodies in relationship to music. Together, Copeland and de Lavallade offered a balanced and inspirational class, drawing on ballet skills developed through deep personal experiences. The class was an extraordinary moment in ballet history.

The class was held before an audience. Family, student’s peers, a few members of the public and the camera crew provided support and pressure. Following the class, Zita Allen of the New York Amsterdam News, led a moderated talk and questions from the audience. The topic at the forefront was how these legendary dancers overcame struggles to realize their dance careers.

Carmen de Lavallade, at 86 years, still carries her beautiful ballet physique and presence. She danced for famed choreographer Agnes de Mille, and ultimately forged an illustrious career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She was inspired by her cousin Janet Collins, the first black ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. Janet experienced times when she arrived at class and other dancers walked out because she was black. Collins was not taken for roles simply because she was black. At the time in ballet, black dancers were never taken. But Collins persisted, and eventually succeeded. Carmen followed, and became the next principal dancer with the Metropolitan Opera.

De Lavallade told the audience that her own growing up time was filled with movement. She always knew that she wanted to become a dancer. She looked at Collins’ ultimate success and took that as her own personal inspiration to succeed.

Misty Copeland was discovered at the age of 13, and felt that ballet was the first time that she “fit in” as a black woman. While her story is currently fresh in the public mind, she is teaching the next generations to pursue their dreams. At 35, she focuses on the technical requirements of keeping her physical instrument in top form. She told the audience that she was inspired by a Raven Wilkinson documentary. Sharing the stories and histories of other black ballerinas is what she looks forward to doing more and more.

The wonderful sharing of stories from dancer to dancer is the magic thread that ran through “A Misty Copeland Ballet Class”. It’s a thread which has united black ballerinas through generations of dancing, and it is kept alive through the mentoring process.

This engaging short video documents the great black ballerinas, Janet Collins, Raven Wilkinson Carmen de Lavallade, Misty and other significant black dancers in spectacular career photos:

Misty’s phenomenal rise to ballet stardom is chronicled in this video spotlight:


Add Comment

Sean Spicer DWTS
Who Cares if Sean Spicer is on Dancing With the Stars?
Peaky
What We Can Expect from Peaky Blinders Season 5
It’s Time for a Change: Vikings Needs to Be on the Big Screen
Mysteries Decoded
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Mysteries Decoded
Resident Evil Reboot
The Resident Evil Reboot is Supposed to Pay More Homage to Video Game
Underwater
T.J. Miller Has Snuck Himself Back Into The Movies in “Underwater”
Tall Girl
Five Original Netflix Movies We Can’t Wait to See in September
So Far Scream is Safe From Getting a Reboot
Sharna Burgess
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sharna Burgess
Peta Murgatroyd
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Peta Murgatroyd
Tyler Childers
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Tyler Childers
Tahzjuan Hawkins
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Tahzjuan Hawkins
Red Guardian
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Black Widow’s Red Guardian
Taskmaster
Why Marvel’s The Taskmaster Deserves a Solo Movie
Jennika Turtle
There’s a New Female Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Ironheart
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Ironheart
Golden Kamuy
Why You Should Be Watching Golden Kamuy
The Quintessential Quintuplets
Why You Should be Watching The Quintessential Quintuplets
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Why You Should be Watching Neon Genesis Evangelion
Kashin Koji
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Kashin Koji
Roblox
How Roblox Grew To Over 100 Million Active Users
eSports
Turns Out That eSports Carries Very Real Injuries With It
Sega Genesis Mini
We Cannot Wait to Play on the Sega Genesis Mini
LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga
LEGO’s The Skywalker Saga Video Game Looks Amazing