Ballet Stars

Watch Misty Copeland's Vlogs From Her Most Recent Trip to Rwanda with MindLeaps

Misty Copeland works with a MindLeaps student in Kigali, Rwanda last week. Photo Courtesy MindLeaps.

In 2015, Misty Copeland travelled to Kigali, Rwanda with MindLeaps, an international NGO that uses dance to help at-risk youth develop life skills. Up until that point, the program had only been available to boys; Copeland's visit launched MindLeaps' Girls Program. Now, three years later, Copeland's just back from another trip week-long to Kigali.

MindLeaps does more than just teach dance. The organization uses free classes to draw vulnerable youth, many of whom are orphaned and living on the street, to safe spaces within urban slums. Once they're regularly attending dance classes, children are enrolled in programs in digital literacy, nutrition support, sanitation services, sexual and reproductive health, and academic catch-up classes. Eventually, the participants go on to boarding schools or to work-study positions, breaking the poverty cycle. "When you learn about the [Rwandan] genocide, you see how strong people had to be to survive. When you look at these kids today, you can see their resilience. Those are themes of my life too—to overcome all odds to succeed," Copeland told Pointe via email. Copeland's work with MindLeaps expands behind her visits to Rwanda; through her ongoing work with their International Artists Fund she works to represent the organization in the U.S. In 2015, she also founded a scholarship to send a promising student, Ali, to boarding school.


MindLeaps created a series of vlogs following Copeland's time in Kigali. Scroll through the videos below to see glimpses of Copeland teaching class and working with MindLeaps alumnae, as well as updates from Ali and Copeland's thoughts after visiting the Murambi Genocide Memorial. Plus, there are plenty of heart-warming shots of Copeland with adorable young dancers in training.

Day 1: Misty Copeland Returns to Rwanda

Viral Videos

Buying your first pair of pointe shoes is a huge milestone. Below, ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee gives some of her top tips on finding the best fit for first time pointe shoe wearers.

Keep reading... Show less
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Careers
American Contemporary Ballet in rehearsal. Anastasia Petukhova, Courtesy ACB.

Lincoln Jones felt there was a pertinence missing from ballet when he decided to form American Contemporary Ballet. "People looking at a film today can pick apart screenwriting versus art direction and editing," says Jones. "They are really conversant with it. I thought ballet is never going to feel super-relevant until people can do that."

So how to do that? Connect the audience to the show.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less