SAN FRANCISCO – American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, in an effort to share her passion and knowledge of ballet, will host her own MasterClass, a platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the elite in their field.
Credited with both broadening the audience for classical ballet and invigorating the art form with a renewed energy, Copeland’s class will offer an intimate look at how she has navigated challenges throughout her life and career to defy boundaries and become ABT’s first African American female principal dancer.
“Having been a professional for almost 20 years, I want to bring ballet to more people. Every human being should experience dance in some way, at some point,” Copeland explained. “In this MasterClass, you will learn a simple way of approaching a ballet technique, as well as what it takes to accept who you are and embrace who you want to be.”
Now available exclusively at MasterClass.com, students can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing classes of 70 plus instructors through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include leadership, cooking, photography, writing, performance, and much more.
“Misty has single handedly transformed ballet,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In her MasterClass, she not only teaches her balance of craft and artistry, but she also brings us into her world, sharing the stories that have made her the athlete and artist she is today.”
President Barack Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, in 2014.
In 2015, she became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history. She has been an advocate for diversity, was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people, and later interviewed by Obama for TIME and Essence magazines to discuss race, gender, achievement and creating opportunity for young people.
She is also an advocate and volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club of America, where she first learned ballet.
“I didn’t start ballet until I was 13,” Copeland recalled. “I experienced a lot of hardships from a young age. Speaking was terrifying. And so to find this language through movement was like, ‘Oh, this has been the missing link my whole 13 years of living.’ It wasn’t until dance came into my life that it made me confident.”
Copeland is also an ambassador for MindLeaps, a dance-centered nonprofit providing vocational training to at-risk youth in post-conflict and developing countries.
“As a mentor, it’s important to me to set a positive example for athletes and artists and show that with the right work ethic, dreams are possible,” said Copeland. “I hope students walk away from my MasterClass with a simple way of approaching ballet technique. But, more importantly, what it takes to be confident, to accept who you are and embrace who you want to be in the future.”
She was recently featured as the lead ballerina in Disney’s “The Nutcracker and The Four Realms.”
Dancers and performers of all kinds will learn more deeply how they can embody characters, tell stories through movement, and own a stage with a dynamic presence. Her class will offer an intimate look at ballet artistry and technique, and diversity and inclusion in the world of classical ballet and her journey to becoming a principal dancer at ABT.
In her class, Copeland will reveal the technical transformation she’s worked on for the past year, how to work with different choreographers, the value of seeking guidance from mentors and how working with Prince resulted in a life-changing moment for her as an artist. Through detailed technical instruction and a 120-degree view, members will watch Misty perform a real-time solo variation from Swan Lake, as well as a partner variation with ABT soloist Calvin Royal III as they dance the White Swan Pas de Deux together for the first time.
Copeland will also break down a series of stationary and movement exercises at the barre, including plié and tendu, temps lié and, in a more advanced demo, rond de jambe. Misty will also share her hopes for preserving a legacy that empowers inclusion in ballet and encourages members to be a part of the conversation around diversity to help change the perception of what a ballet dancer should be.
“I went through a difficult time when I started to believe people’s words that I wasn’t right, I wasn’t good enough,” she said. “It was a way of saying, ‘You don’t have the right skin color for dance.’ I could have walked away, but I took it as fuel. Own your power and your voice. Do not let other people’s words define you.”
In conducting the MasterClass, Copeland will join the 70 plus classes taught by world-renowned instructors on cooking, photography, writing, performance and much more. Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor. The All-Access Pass allows access to every MasterClass and new ones as they launch. Learn on the go with mobile apps or in the comfort of your home with Apple TV.