Misty Copeland proves herself more than equal in the dance world

Many people did not know the wonderful ballerina Misty Copeland until her debut in the first commercial released for Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign. It begins with Copeland flexing her impressive array of muscles to stand en pointe as the voiceover of a young girl reads a rejection letter from a ballet company telling her she had the wrong body and that she was too old.Misty CopelandThe commercial was initially meant to challenge the authenticity of ballet as a sport, but it soon grew to represent much more than its initial purpose.  In just a week the commercial generated 4 million views and an overwhelming feeling of admiration for the soloist.“Realizing, understanding and grasping all that it takes to be a professional ballerina, all that it takes to be an African American ballerina, it gave me strength that I didn’t know I had to persevere, “ Copeland said in her interview video with Under Armour.Her status and power as a woman, as an African American, and as a physical exception to the standards of the ballet world are a symbol of change.Ballet is a form of artwork and a sport known for its critical judgment of the dancers. A ballet artist usually spends his or her day in classes and rehearsals with small breaks in between for stretching and eating. The sport requires not only strength in body, but also strength in mind as dancers battle a constant barrage of criticisms externally from peers and internally from themselves.The career of a ballerina begins at a young age of 9 when accepted by a higher institution. Before that age, dancers are given rhythmic classes to sculpt their minds.Copeland was discovered at age 13, notably late for a ballerina’s career, at her local Boys and Girls club in San Pedro, California. At the time Copeland had no knowledge of ballet; living in a state of poverty to which she had never heard or seen its movements.  At 5’2” the dancer is also far below the average standards of a ballerina, averaging 5’7” for a professional dancer.In an article with the New York Post the dancer said, “Survival was our number 1 priority, not extracurriculars, or a career. These were not things we thought about.”Copeland proved to be surprising as she took stages by storm, winning awards and earning multiple scholarships to attend dance institutions. Today, at 30 years old, the ballerina has become the only African America female soloist in two decades at the American Ballet Theatre.The dancer has an amazing story not unlike many famous athletes and celebrities who rose from the ashes of poverty to become a legend. It sends a message to the masses that dreams possible through willpower and determination, much like Under Armour’s new campaign. Copeland herself sends a message that dreams transcend unrealistic body standards and ethnicity, encouraging women everywhere to will themselves further into their dreams until they become a reality.[youtube height=“315” width=“569”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA[/youtube]