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Performance: Kyle Abraham's Ash

Misty Copeland

Lesson time 4:25 min

Misty introduces Kyle Abraham, a contemporary dance choreographer, and performs his piece Ash to show how she fuses modern and classical ballet styles.

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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: I am here in the studio rehearsing with Kyle Abraham, who is a dancer and choreographer, and we will be working on a piece that's a bit more contemporary than I typically would do with American Ballet Theatre. I really wanted to share with you something that steps outside of the classical technique that so many are used to seeing me do. - I began studying ballet and modern dance and jazz dance all at the same time. But for me, I never thought in any way I would be a ballet dancer or even, really, a modern dancer. I always thought I would be a choreographer. But one of the hardships there is figuring out what I could say or I should say, especially being a black gay choreographer coming from the modern dance world into ballet, something that has always seemed to be making stories about the male and female experience, in particular, the white male and female experience. That's very different from my upbringing and my story that I have always wanted to share. This work premiered at "Fall For Dance," a festival at City Center, which is where I first saw Misty perform. So it's great to have opportunities like making this solo for Misty that allows me to introduce the ballet world more to my history and where I'm coming from, and allow some of that history to also be integrated in a way that everyone can feel seen in some way, or everyone can have some kind of point of entry into movement and dance in the larger framework. [MUSIC PLAYING] DIRECTOR: Very quiet, please. 103, take 1, A marker. KYLE ABRAHAM: Great. All right, let's go from the top with music. [MUSICAL TONE] [DRAMATIC ATONIC STRING INSTRUMENT CHORDS] Good, good, good. Good, good. How does it feel? - Oh, it's getting there. [RHYTHM AND BLUES INSTRUMENTAL] - I don't know if there's really any typical way of a dancer/choreographer relationship. I know for me, I like to have a lot of back-and-forth conversation with whomever I'm working because it is a collaborative process. Even if I'm generating all of the steps, I still want to know their input. I want to know what feels good in their body or what doesn't. I may ask the dancer to see what happens if I do this gesture with my right arm. How would you want to respond to that? Where does your weight naturally want to go? And just kind of build upon that. Because I think ultimately, when you're making a dance, especially solo work, there's something to be said for a dancer you're really feeling comfortable and confident in what they're doing, 'cause you want it to look good and feel good.


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.



Reviews

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

I loved Misty's class. I would recommend this class for non ballerinas. Anyone can learn from and be inspired by her story.

This master class helped me to fully believe in myself and to realize that improving my ballet technique is possible with daily concentration and passionate effort.

I'm 77 and a relatively new painter. I find her story inspiring, encouraging, uplifting. Age is my "color" barrier, and Misty has given me a way to think about what I'm trying to do.

confidence to do what I want and not be dictated by what anyone else thinks I am capable of doing.