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Misty's Technical Transformation

Misty Copeland

Lesson time 8:31 min

Misty opens up about some of the errors she’s made in past performances, explaining how she’s dealt with criticism and revealing her technical transformation to rebuild strength and increase quality of movement.

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

Topics include: Learning From Criticism • Moving Forward: Quality Over Quantity


[MUSIC PLAYING] MISTY COPELAND: Always striving to be better has allowed me to constantly be open to starting over. And I've gone through so many different teachers and looking at different ways to approach ballet. Because in my mind, I always felt that every dancer should be able to do everything. I don't truly believe in someone being a turner, someone being a jumper. I think if you have the right training, you can accomplish everything in the technical, like, repertoire. And so I believe that a lot of the injuries that I've had are because of not knowing how to work correctly. And I think that my hypermobility has caused a lot of that. My most severe injury that I've had in my career were six stress fractures to my left tibia. I think that could have been prevented had I had the right muscle strength around my knees and support. And it's frustrating, you know, when I was at, I don't know, 35 years old and I still wasn't able to accomplish certain steps. It's like, I just didn't want to give in to that, well, you're so hypermobile and your legs are so hyperextended and your feet are so flexible, so you're just not going to be able to hop en pointe. It was like, I just can't accept that. It's really crazy. But I, like, started over, like, six months ago, like getting rid of-- trying to get rid of, as much as you can, in my muscle memory, to taking on a different way of approaching ballet, which is very simple. For the first time, I've started to develop muscle around my knees, making my glutes stronger and my lower back and my hips. And by building that strength and muscle, it's actually made my legs straighter and taken away a lot of the mobility that was a little bit too much for me. And so it's just seems really simple, that I do have the ability to strengthen my body and get it to do whatever it is I want it to. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I was given the opportunity to learn "Swan Lake," I was still a soloist at the time. And it was shocking. I never, ever thought that I would take on that role. It's just not something that ever even crossed my mind, I think probably subconsciously, because that's just not a role that a black woman is given. So when I first approached the role, I didn't really have any real thoughts about any of the technical difficulties of it. And when I did the ballet for the first time with the American Ballet Theater, I was in Australia. And looking back, like, it was so easy. I mean, not easy, but it was not-- there were no real challenges. I did the 32 fouettés. I finished, and you know, everyone was so happy. They thought, wow, you know, I think because of the late age that I was given that opportunity and my maturity and having watched so many different generations of ballerinas throughout my career in the company, that it was as if it wasn't my first time. And then the first time that I did it in New York City, I think that's when it all kind of, like, hit me, that the expectations that ar...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Misty Copeland

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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