Ballet (as a profession) has issues…

The striking body lines, lightness of approach, unnatural “duck” stance, thin and mostly white women: this is the usual make up of female corps and principal dancers within most ballet companies in the United States. With a few exceptions (Dance Theatre of Harlem comes to mind, but even they have been out of commission for a few years), black female dancers in traditional ballet companies such as American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet have been scarce. Thank goodness for Misty Copeland, who is that rare bird – not only did she start training very late (age 13) for a ballet career, she managed to overcome and thrive in the not-very-encouraging environment of American classical ballet. Her interview in The Atlantic covers many issues facing young ballet dancers, as well as her journey as a dancer of color (which she covers in her book, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina”). Since we are about to start our “Dance Reality” section of class, this is very timely and perfect for Dance 6 students in my classes! Please read the interview and post your comments!


4 thoughts on “Ballet (as a profession) has issues…

  1. After I read this interview, I realize that there are lots of difficulties for dancers to face. Being an artist requires a lot, not only physical attributions but also mental strength. Indeed, doing art is hard because it needs people to stick to what they want, such as dance or music. Undoubtedly, every dancer is admirable. Like Misty Copeland, she overcame those difficulties and became one of the most recognizable figures in classical ballet. She has more courage and persistence than others so that she can earn these achievements. As audiences, we should respect every performance and every dancer.

  2. After reading this article, I know that becoming an excellent dancer needs to suffer a lot physically and psychologically. As an old saying goes,“Rome was not built up in a day.” Therefore, if dancers want to be successful, they have to keep practicing every day. Also, dancers have to overcome particular difficulties on their way to success. For example, although Misty Copeland‘s home environment was not good, she still became one of the most recognizable figures in classical ballet through her efforts. Besides, there is plenty of competition for dancers, so each of them has to work harder and has good works.

  3. Yes, the sacrifices of those who pursue their art forms so vigorously is admirable…I wish American artists were valued as much as some sports or entertainment figures seem to be by the general public. Thanks for your comments!

  4. I am more aware of how does the bullet dancers works and how hard they would be to become a good dancer after reading this article. They need to overcome many problems and difficulties. The foot of them would be suffered, and they need to undergo it. They should be respected by the audiences. They also need to fight with their mind to continue the training to become a good bullet dancer.For example, Misty Copeland must overcome many problems and fights from her family, society, and her self. She become successful nowadays, and she paid a lot of work. An old saying is that “no pain, no gain.” It told us a truth. If we work hard, we have a chance to be successful; if we don’t, we will gain nothing.

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