Misty Copeland Shows Another Side of Herself on "60 Minutes"

May 10, 2015

Misty Copeland is the perfect example of what a leading dancer should be offstage—poised, warm and articulate. And that’s what we’ve seen from her time and time again as people beyond the dance world have continued to show their support in her rise to the top of American ballet.

Sometimes though, Copeland can start to sound a little rehearsed. That’s sure to happen after hundreds of interviews and through the extreme care she takes to exemplify herself as a role model. But I often crave to know, Who is the real Misty Copeland?


This weekend, “60 Minutes” ran a segment on the American Ballet Theatre soloist, and it brought me a little closer to getting to know not just her story, but the dancer behind it. During the 13-minute interview, Bill Whitaker talks intimately with Copeland. They take us to the California motel where she grew up and through the very public battle she had with her mother while seeking emancipation. It’s the first time I’ve heard from Cindy Bradley, the ballet teacher who took the adolescent dancer under her wing and gave her the tools she needed to go pro. And though Copeland maintains her polished ballerina composure throughout, her answers feel in-the-moment and real. You can sense her true emotions as she revists her past.

And we get a little more context with fantastic online extras. There’s a whole video dedicated to two talented young dancers from Brooklyn, twins Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad, who Copeland mentors at ABT’s JKO School. They talk about what it’s like to grow up in a world where everyone—both black and white—tell you that African Americans don’t become ballet dancers. In another extra, Copeland sits with her siblings who explain what it was like to grow up in their family, and how they didn’t really understand what the dancer was trying to achieve.

“60 Minutes” didn’t give us a performance, but a real look behind-the-scenes.


Watch the segments below and catch Copeland onstage during ABT’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, which opens tonight.




Misty Copeland’s “60 Minutes” segment



Misty Copeland on mentoring Shaakir and Naazir Muhammad



Misty Copeland’s siblings talk about growing up.