Misty Copeland on Ballet and Bodies

American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland has been all over the news recently, promoting her revealing new memoir, Life in Motion. (If you don't have a copy yet, we suggest you get on that—it's a fascinating read.)

While it's great to see Copeland covered in mainstream news outlets, many of them—probably under pressure to "demystify" ballet for non-dance audiences—have been asking relatively superficial interview questions. A new Q&A in The Atlantic, however, digs a little deeper, especially when it comes to Copeland's thoughts on bodies and body image. (It ran in the magazine's online health section, which might explain the difference.)

When asked about what it was like to go through puberty as a dancer, Copeland responded thoughtfully: "As a professional, that’s the scariest thing to experience—your body changing—because that’s your tool," she says. "That’s your instrument and when it becomes unfamiliar, you don’t know how to work with it. So it was extremely difficult to experience puberty and my body changing at such a late age, 19, when I was already a professional."

But Copeland, whose book describes her struggles with weight in painful detail, now has a healthier perspective on body issues: "I think I’m proof that you don’t have to have all of the things people think you have to have in order to make it in this world," she says. "With the knowledge we have of our bodies, of working out, and of cross-training, I think it’s possible to train yourself to do anything."

Read the full interview here. And Copeland fans, let's just say you'll enjoy our June/July issue—stay tuned!

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