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Misty Copeland Just Posted A Mean Tweet About Herself, And We Love Her So Much For It
Misty Copeland's Instagram feed is usually filled with gorgeous performance shots and inspirational images featuring the many young girls she's inspired.
So we were surprised this morning to see Copeland post two screenshots of a mean tweet about herself:
The tweet refers to a video of Copeland performing Swan Queen last week in Singapore, where she wasn't able to finish her 32 fouettés (she was criticized for doing the same thing when she debuted the role in 2015). Copeland has linked to the video, entitled "Misty Copeland Swan Lake Fouetté Fail," in her Instagram bio.
Why would ballet's biggest star want to promote a video of herself messing up, and a tweet saying that she doesn't deserve to be in American Ballet Theatre?
Because she's bravely proving some important points:
1. Fouettés don't matter.
"A ballerina's career is not, nor should be defined by how many fouettés she executes," Copeland writes. As she says, she's an authentic artist who brings so much more to the role of Swan Queen—or any role—than tricks and technical feats. The point is to move people through the steps; not just to execute them perfectly.
Fellow ABT principal Isabella Boylston puts it best in the comments: "If people come to the ballet only to see fouettés they should just stay home and watch them on YouTube on their couch."
2. She's held to a higher standard than other dancers.
Becoming the first black female principal at ABT wasn't easy. And it didn't come without baggage.
"I understand my position and what I represent," she says. "I know that I'm in a very unique position and have been given a rare platform. All I've ever wanted is to bring ballet to more people and to help to diversify it."
The truth is that principal dancers at prestigious companies mess up all the time. But when other dancers fall out of a turn or flub a step, you usually don't hear people talking about how they don't deserve to be where they are. She's judged more harshly because she's become so famous for being a groundbreaker—and because she's black.
3. Dancers are real people with feelings!
And they'll see the mean tweets you write about them. Have some respect for what they do before judging them on one performance.
(Of course, Copeland is so classy that she thanks her hater for giving her an opportunity to learn from watching video of herself.)
4. Even big stars mess up.
Copeland is a role model to so many, and she takes that responsibility seriously. She's proving that it's okay to acknowledge your failures and imperfections—in fact it makes you stronger. Especially for ballet dancers, it's essential to realize that you don't have to be perfect to be amazing.
We're seriously in awe of Copeland for having the courage to stand up to her haters.
"There's an ancient energy in Fana's movement, a deep and trusted knowing," says Jeff, director of the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. "Because I witnessed the raw humanity of his dancer's souls, I wanted my dancers to have that experience."
Growing up in a family-owned dance studio in Missouri had its perks for tap dancer Anthony Russo. But it also earned him constant taunting, especially in high school.
"There was a junior in my sophomore year health class who was absolutely relentless," he says. "I'd get tripped on my way to the front of the classroom and he'd say, 'Watch out, twinkle toes.' If I raised my hand and answered a question incorrectly, I'd hear a patronizing 'Nice one, Bojangles.' "
When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one:
"Dance isn't for everyone."
This may as well be a mantra in the dance world. We have become entrenched in the Darwinian notion that the emotionally weak will be weeded out. There is no room for them anyway.
Choreographer Sergio Trujillo asked the women auditioning for ensemble roles in his newest musical to arrive in guys' clothing—"men's suits, or blazers and ties," he says. He wasn't being kinky or whimsical. The entire ensemble of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is female, playing men and women interchangeably as they unfold the history of the chart-busting, Grammy-winning, indisputable Queen of Disco.
Have a scroll through Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed (@artsyagnes), and you'll notice that in between her ballet shots is a curated mix of lifestyle pics. So what exactly sets her apart from the other influencers you follow? Muljadi has made a conscious effort to only feature natural beauty products, sustainable fashion and vegan foods. With over 500k followers, her social strategy (and commitment to making ethical choices) is clearly a hit. Ahead, learn why Muljadi switched to a vegan lifestyle, and the surprising way it's helped her dance career.
He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker's work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck's ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts' new Members Don't Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project.
He's been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting dance.
Update: Due to an overwhelming response, the in-person audition has been moved to a larger location to accommodate more dancers. See details below.
For the first time in more than 10 years, Janet Jackson is holding an open audition for dancers.
Even better? You could land a spot in her #JTribe simply by posting a video on social media.
What does it take to become an international superstar? Carlos Acosta might have a few ideas.
At the Oxford Literary Festival earlier this month, the BBC sat down with Acosta to ask for his life lessons. His answers—which he says he will pass on to his kids one day—give incredible insight into how he's become such a beloved worldwide success.
The ballet world will converge on San Francisco this month for San Francisco Ballet's Unbound: A Festival of New Works, a 17-day event featuring 12 world premieres, a symposium, original dance films and pop-up events.
"Ballet is going through changes," says artistic director Helgi Tomasson. "I thought, What would it be like to bring all these choreographers together in one place? Would I discover some trends in movement, or in how they are thinking?"