The plot seems tailor-
made for Hollywood:
A 13-year-old black girl
wanders into a ballet
class at her local Boys & Girls Club and
turns out to be a prodigy. By 18, she
joins American Ballet Theatre and sets
her sights on becoming a principal,
which would make her the first female
African American to reach that level
at the company. Several obstacles get
in her way: weight struggles, career-
threatening injuries, the isolation of
being black in an overwhelmingly white
world. But she perseveres. She seeks
out coaches and mentors, and takes
back-to-back classes on her days off.
She hires manager Gilda Squire and
starts landing book deals and national
ad campaigns. Finally she’s given the
ultimate test: dancing Odette/Odile
at Lincoln Center. By this time she’s
arguably the most famous dancer in the
country. Fans fly to New York just to see
her perform. Although she falters on the
infamous 32 fouettés, the performance
is a triumph, and soon after, it finally
happens: She is promoted to principal.
So what’s it like once you’ve gotten
your picture-perfect Hollywood ending?
What’s changed for you since becoming a
The schedule is actually a lot less dancing on a
daily basis, which is taking some getting used to!
But it’s nice to be able to focus on just one part
per ballet. The roles are more intense, and there’s
a lot of pressure to uphold these standards that
so many incredible dancers set over the 75-year
history of this company.
It’s not difficult to see why
filmmakers would want to create a
biopic of Misty Copeland’s story.