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Style Evolution With Prince

Misty Copeland

Lesson time 5:58 min

Misty shares how working with Prince was a life-changing moment for her as an artist, and she encourages you to step out of your comfort zone as a dancer and explore different genres.

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] - I think that it's extremely important for you to explore every genre of dance that you can kind of expose yourself to. I think that when you limit yourself to doing just one genre, whether it's classical ballet or modern, that you don't really get to utilize all of your body and all that you may be capable of. You know, I do believe that ballet is the base like technically for every style of dance, but I've learned so much about ballet by doing contemporary. I remember me and my ballet teacher, Cynthia Bradley, driving down to downtown LA like almost every weekend. And I was taking African dance classes. I was learning how to Samba. And you know, exploring even different types of like ballroom dancing. All of those things allow you to test your body and get it to move in ways you didn't know how. And then it awakens something in you that you then-- you think differently about the ballet steps. And so I think that it will only be beneficial to learn about as much dance and art as you can. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think it's important for you to be open to learning from everything in life. And I think that's what happened when I started working with Prince, that it was not something I ever thought I would do or anticipated. I actually didn't even understand why he was reaching out. But what I learned and gained from him was beyond anything I ever imagined. I ended up performing in a music video of his. He did a remake of the song "Crimson and Clover." And then I ended up going on tour with him through France, and did some, you know, outdoor big amphitheaters and performances. And then when he did his first American tour in like a very, very long time, he kind of created it around me. It was the "Welcome to America" tour. And so we performed at Madison Square Garden and we performed at the forum in Los Angeles. He was so great about really just working around my ABT schedules. So whenever I didn't have a show, I would go to Madison Square Garden and like perform with him. And so it was really crazy, like my life at that point. But I just feel like I just grew in leaps and bounds just by being exposed to something different. You know, his audiences were not at all what I was used to. You know, we're not used to getting response-- immediate responses, you know? There's appropriate times to applaud in ballet or-- and to have, you know, people that just will scream and say whatever they want whenever they want, like that's not something I was used to. But seeing him perform on stage, it just gave me a completely different outlook on how to be a performer. And also seeing how giving and present he was with his audience, and it just really makes a difference, I think, in how they feel about your performance, that you're considering them. And it's really fascinating that to this day there are so many people that have been coming in support of American Ballet Theater or me and say, well, I learned about...

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.

I've always been interested in dance, ballet or contemporary, and during the coronavirus confinement I thought it'd a good opportunity to get to know more Misty Copeland and her perspective on ballet.

Inspiring, beautiful, eloquent. Would recommend this to anyone who is or wants to dance.

Strength and balance can be built in the smallest of movements. Each movement can have it's own story. Treat the core as a unit. Expression is the grace within the individual.

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.


A fellow student

I appreciate her encouraging us to learn about different styles of dance and whatever life has to offer. All I knew about Prince was Purple Rain and a symbol for his name. Now I have so much respect for the way he encouraged Misty to be free, innovate, improvise, risk doing something totally different from her usual way of dancing. It's good to be unique! Thanks to both Misty and Prince.


I love the personal story viewpoint so much. Misty has kept such a wonderful true-child soul and it is so dearly-cute to the end of this lesson with her last giggle on the end of the last powerful statement - "if anyone knows how to be you, it's you." Very grateful for her absolute vulnerable self expression in these sit down parts of her class.


That's why MasterClass is so great, because as an Artist/Creator, even though I'm not a part of the Ballet community (though I enjoy watching it), this site allows me to learn about things and subjects I may have no idea about. And this MasterClass has been a joy to watch

Jana B.

Thank you for this Misty, as a Prince fan and a dancer who has questioned my talent and style all my life, this means so much to hear how it sounds like he liberated you on his stage, by trusting and validating your own creativity. What a priceless gift that work must have been, in the moment and in your evolution...