Misty Copeland's New Movie

It seems like the whole world is fascinated by Misty Copeland. The American Ballet Theatre soloist is constantly featured in mainstream publications, television ads and fashion campaigns (and, of course, in Pointe!). The story of a beautiful African-American dancer who didn't start training until she was 13 but nonetheless went on to earn a position at one of the world's most prestigious companies—not to mention the undying devotion of Prince—is just too remarkable to pass up.

Director Nelson George is the latest person to fall under Misty's spell. His new documentary, A Ballerina's Tale, follows Copeland's singularly extraordinary journey to success, and explores her role-model status as a black ballerina. It also includes a lot of great behind-the-scenes dance footage.

The team behind A Ballerina's Tale is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $40,000 needed to complete the film. Take a look at the trailer below, then click here to learn more about the project and make donations.

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Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

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I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

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Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

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