Misty Copeland’s will has fueled her historical ascent atop the world of ballet. Now her pursuit will be immortalized on screen in A Ballerina’s Tale.
Black cultural critic, author, and filmmaker, Nelson George, directed the documentary. Sundance Selects has grabbed the distribution rights and recently released the trailer for the film, which will receive a multi-platform commercial release in theaters and video on-demand on October 14.
George used the crowd sourcing website, Kickstarter, to finance the documentary, vaulting past the initial $40,000 goal and raising $54,251. The film premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. A Ballerina’s Tale chronicles Copeland’s traumatic upbringing, adversities, and ambitious climb toward reigning queen of ballet’s insular world. The trailer gives audiences a peek behind the curtain of Copeland’s life, humanizing the woman turned phenom.
Misty’s dance routine consist of pointes disobeying gravity and turns rewriting physics’ laws at will, but the trailer shows the toll it takes on her body. Though she’s acquired much attention and adoration, she remains a prominent Black figure in an isolated world. She notes the shock she feels when confronted with this reality, stunned by the lack of Black dancers at the highest of levels in a cherished art form. A Ballerina’s Tale views Misty Copeland as a symbol of a new attitude, especially after becoming the first African-American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s history.
An October release date places this film in a traditional window for award season consideration but Misty Copeland’s greater influence comes from emboldening young, Black girls who do not fit the traditional mode of a classical ballerina, which is implied in the documentary’s title. Misty Copeland has imbued herself into pop culture. She’s the face of Under Armour’s women line, her memoir, Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, has been optioned for a film adaptation and she just wrapped her Broadway debut in the play, On The Town.
From the stage to the movie screen and everywhere in-between, Copeland will be the epicenter of many stories crafted around strength, perseverance and grace—everything epitomized in her routine.