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Introduction: Owning Your Power

Misty Copeland

Lesson time 3:34 min

Meet your new instructor: American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland. Misty talks about the philosophy that’s helped her through challenges, and she shares how this class will help you gain confidence and a fresh perspective.

Misty Copeland
Teaches Ballet Technique and Artistry
American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland teaches you how to build your technique, embrace your story, and own your movement.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] MISTY COPELAND: People think of dancers as, like, these perfect, kind of soft, fairy tale characters. And as dancers, we're also constantly pushing ourselves to be perfect. It's great to be able to push yourself and aim for something but also knowing that you will never achieve perfection. Nowadays, we get so caught up in this outer experience of how high your leg is or how skinny someone is. But what makes dancers, I think, so special is that you wake up every morning and your body is going to be different. You may be able to do a triple pirouette the day before and then the next, you have to adjust to whatever condition your body is in. We're constantly starting over again. Every time you dance, that's just another chance to be reborn. And so I think just, like, own your power and your voice. [MUSIC PLAYING] - I know how difficult it can be, as a dancer, as a student, to not be kind of taken over by criticism, whether it's from a teacher, or a critic, or yourself. I think that it's really just kind of taking everything, like, in moderation. I went through a really difficult time where I started to believe people's words that, you know, I wasn't right, I wasn't good enough, my muscles were too big. Those were code words that dan-- black dancers have experienced since the beginning of time, that it's an acceptable way of saying, you don't have the right skin color for dance. When I think back on how ballerinas have looked throughout history, to me, it's important to give back to that place of why we do what we do. You can be a successful dancer with any body type. If you're not skinny, whatever that is, or if you're not tall enough, if you're too short, if you're to this, I think, again, it's about-- it's about bringing yourself. And so I think it's such a beautiful thing to be a part of, and I think that every athlete and every human being should experience classical dance or dance in some way at some point. But I think that you should just take away a simple way of approaching the ballet technique. I think that you will learn all that it takes to be confident, to accept who you are, and embrace who you want to be in the future. You will hear stories and anecdotes from me that have made me into the person, the artist, and the dancer that I am. I'm Misty Copeland, and this is my MasterClass.

Bring emotion to life

As the first African American female principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland made history. Now she’s one of the world’s most influential dancers, and she’s inviting you to the barre to develop a deeper appreciation for ballet and the language of dance. From pliés to partners, Misty demonstrates her techniques and teaches you to own your movement, own who you are, and do the dance only you can do.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This is really for my 13 year old, she loves this

Her life experience definitely helps me rethink about my own struggle. The basic warm-up for ballet can also be used to train my own posture and pre-work out.

Let me have more of an insight into not just the work behind ballet but also the community.

It teached me the terminology and the language of the ballet. Also I've learned an ongoing struggle for people of color to make it in this industry.


Aimee B.

I'm tall, thin, gangly, not naturally flexible and I don't feel especially graceful. Ballet has always been my weakest area of dance. The dance teachers and fellow dancers that I have admired most have all been shorter and stalkier. I think it just goes to show that anyone can be a beautiful dancer regardless of body type and even those that have the "right" body type can be hypercritical of their bodies.

Alma R.

Thank you, Misty! You've always been an inspiration for this "too tall" "too busty" dancer - and now you're going to inspire me to go back in to a studio after nine years of fear that I wouldn't find a teacher as good as my last (and only) one.

Johnny A.

Farm Boy Here, 45 yrs old. Now or never, I was inspired by your youtube video! I want to do this, I don't know why, but I do! Thank You! Johnny!


As an aging drummer I am looking for any help I can get staying flexible, avoiding injury, and keeping my body in a continuous flow of motion--the best drummers do this. It is not a drum lesson, I get it, but it is about body movement, which I have to do. So far, I love what Misty is saying.