Oxygen announced its production of a new reality series, tentatively titled “The Misty Copeland Project,” starring the 32-year- old Under Armour spokeswoman.
But, it wouldn’t be true Misty if she wasn’t giving back to the community. In her show she will mentor aspiring dancers who are following their dreams in the Big Apple.
“With the opportunity of a lifetime and chance to catapult to the top of the ballet world, these aspiring dancers’ passion, commitment and hard work will be center stage in Misty’s Master Class,” says the network’s press release.
Copeland decided to help these young dancers because she knows firsthand how hard it is to break into the dance world.
“During rehearsal season, I take an hour-and-a-half ballet class every morning and rehearse up to eight hours a day, five days a week,” she told People.
Despite being told again and again as a beginner that her body was “what a dancer’s shouldn’t be, with breasts and muscle and bulky legs,” Copeland was determined and went on to become the second African-American soloist in the American Ballet Theatre.
In April, Copeland will star as the American Ballet Theatre’s soloist for Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. alongside Brooklyn Mack of the Washington Ballet. The two Black dancers will “effectively shatter the all-white stereotype of Swan Lake, the most traditional of ballets,” according to the Washington Post.
Copeland’s journey to dance is unique and not without a few bumps. She didn’t begin dancing until the late age of 13. By age 15, she was going through a custody battle between her mother and ballet teachers, who were serving as her custodial guardians. During this time of turmoil Copeland still persevered and began rising to notoriety. In 1997, she won the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award as the best dancer in Southern California. Three years later she became a member of the ABT studio company and went on to become a soloist in 2007.
If there is any knowledge that the dancer wants to impart on those coming behind her, it’s not to let anything stop your dream.
“Don’t let other people’s negative words define you,” she told People.