Tag: African-American ballet dancer

Misty Copeland Leaps into Role in Disney’s “Nutcracker” Movie

Misty Copeland attends the American Ballet 75th Anniversary Fall Gala on October 21, 2015 in New York City.
Misty Copeland attends the American Ballet 75th Anniversary Fall Gala on October 21, 2015 in New York City. (photo via cnn.com)

article by Lisa Respers France via cnn.com

Misty Copeland is making the leap — or maybe a grand jeté — to the big screen.  The prima ballerina has nabbed a role in Disney‘s forthcoming “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” movie.  Copeland posted a picture of the script on her Instagram account with the caption: “I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing project with Disney and the wonderful Lasse Hallstrom. #TheNutcracker #MoreToCome.”

The studio announced the live-action film back in March and Hallstrom is set to direct.

Copeland has been lauded for breaking down barriers as an African-American dancer and is the subject of Nelson George‘s 2015 documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale.”  For the upcoming film, she reportedly will appear as the lead ballerina in the “Nutcracker’s” only dance scene.

Hometown Hero: Misty Copeland Gets a Street Named After Her in San Pedro, CA

Misty Copeland And Cindi Levine Light The Empire State Building Pink In Celebration Of Glamour's Girl Project
Misty Copeland (Source: Noam Galai / Getty)

San Pedro honored their hometown hero Misty Copeland by naming a street after her.

Copeland was greeted by hundreds of fans after an amazing year of breaking barriers and dancing with grace, poise, and expertise.

Misty became the first African-American principle dancer at American Ballet Theatre in June. Now her entire town is celebrating her groundbreaking acheivements.

The 33-year-old gave a heart-touching speech to a crowd of 500, saying:

“Growing up in the atmospheres that I grew up in, San Pedro was the only place I ever considered home,” Copeland said, tearing up. “There really hasn’t been a place that’s replaced that in my heart since I lived here and I’m so proud, and I never forget San Pedro.”

Misty is a perfect example of where hard work, perseverance, and pursuing your dreams full throttle can take you. Like so many other black women, the odds were stacked against her racially and economically. She almost had to quit her craft because her parents didn’t have a car to take her to and from practice. But she didn’t give up, and now she’s a legend…and a street!

The ballerina celebrated by posting on her IG page:

You make us so proud, Misty!

article by Keyaira Kelly via hellobeautiful.com

R.I.P. Albert Evans, Former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer

In this June 20, 2010 photo released by the New York City Ballet, Albert Evans appears during his farewell performance in "The Four Temperaments," in New York. Evans, who was in his late 40s, died at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital on Monday, June 22, 2015, said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for the ballet company. (Paul Kolnik/New York City Ballet via AP)
In this June 20, 2010 photo released by the New York City Ballet, Albert Evans appears during his farewell.

NEW YORK (AP) — Albert Evans, a former New York City Ballet principal dancer and one of the most prominent African-Americans in classical dance, has died at age 46.

Evans died at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital on Monday night “following a short illness,” said Rob Daniels, a spokesman for the ballet company. He did not have further details.

Evans was one of only two African-American principal dancers in New York City Ballet’s 67-year history. The first was Arthur Mitchell, who is now 81.

As a principal, Evans danced a huge variety of roles in the City Ballet repertoire, from classical to modern, from George Balanchine to Jerome Robbins to Christopher Wheeldon. He joined the company in 1988 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a soloist in 1991 and a principal in 1995. Evans retired during the spring 2010 season with an emotional farewell performance, and had been serving since then as a ballet master at the company.

“The entire New York City Ballet family is heartbroken by the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Albert Evans,” said Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, in a statement. “Kind, warm, generous, and always a joy to be with, Albert is quite simply irreplaceable.”

Evans was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and trained there as a youngster. In 1986, he was awarded a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school.

His more prominent roles in Balanchine ballets included the Cavalier in “The Nutcracker” and Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” among many others. He had featured roles in Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia” and “Liturgy.” And he originated roles in a number of works by Martins, including his 1991 “Sleeping Beauty,” in which Evans danced Puss in Boots, and “Romeo + Juliet,” in which he played a commanding Prince of Verona.

Friends and colleagues in the dance world took to social media on Tuesday to praise Evans.  “Goodbye dear Albert, a beautiful soul,” wrote choreographer Alexei Ratmansky on Facebook.

“He gave us all the strength, beauty, joy, laughter, smiles, passion, and inspiration to keep going, to keep pushing onward, to be the best we could be,” wrote principal dancer Sara Mearns on Instagram.

Dancer and rising choreographer Justin Peck, also on Instagram, called Evans “such an incredible, luminous person. Albert always brought warmth, hospitality, enthusiasm, humor to any situation.”

In addition to his dance roles, Evans choreographed several works, including “Haiku,” to music by John Cage, for New York City Ballet’s 2002 Diamond Project, as well as a solo for NYCB principal Peter Boal in 2003, performed at the Joyce Theater.

Evans also appeared in the 2002 “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast of “New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography.”

article by Jocelyn Noveck via news.yahoo.com

Ballerina Misty Copeland Becomes First African American to Perform Solo in New York for 20 Years

Star turn: Copeland stars in 'Le Corsaire,' a pirate-themed comedic ballet, at New York City's Metropolitan Opera June 4-8

The prestigious American Ballet Theatre’s first black soloist in twenty years took the stage last week, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg in the unlikely, groundbreaking life of ballerina Misty Copeland. The 30-year-old beauty starred in ‘Le Corsaire’ at the Metropolitan Opera House from June 4-8, but her star turn is just one of a string of firsts and a fascinating life story she brings along with her.

For starters, Copeland, a native of San Pedro, California, grew up in extreme poverty. She didn’t even know what ballet was when she was spotted by an instructor at her local Boys and Girls Club at 13. Which brings up another unlikely fact in Copeland’s life—she didn’t even begin training in ballet until her early teen years.

‘I had no introduction to the arts in any way definitely not the fine arts,’ Copeland told the New York Post of her childhood, part of which was spent living out of a motel room with her mother. ‘Survival was our Number 1 priority, not extracurriculars, or a career,’ she said. ‘These were not things we thought about.’ She was destined, however, to think a lot about those things. In fact, she would soon be thinking of nothing but.

Racy: Copeland danced atop Prince's piano as part of one of his signature sexy performances, this one in his 2010-2011 'Welcome 2 America' tour
Copeland danced atop Prince’s piano as part of one of his signature sexy performances, this one in his 2010-2011 ‘Welcome 2 America’ tour

A ballet instructor named Cynthia Bradley spotted Copeland’s potential and told her she was ‘You are the most gifted dancer I’ve ever seen, and this could be a path to have a career.’ And that’s what it became. But at 13, Copeland was at a major disadvantage. Whereas most ballerinas start at the age of 5, with money and eager parents backing them. Copeland was not so lucky.

Continue reading “Ballerina Misty Copeland Becomes First African American to Perform Solo in New York for 20 Years”

Ballerina Misty Copeland Dances into Two-Book Deal

misty-copeland-hb

(Misty Copeland/Photo: Hello Beautiful) 

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland has a two-book deal.  Copeland, 30, is working on a memoir for Simon & Schuster‘s Touchstone imprint and picture book for G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, part of Penguin Group (USA). Copeland helped break ground as an African-American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre. According to a release Wednesday by the two publishers, both of her books are scheduled for 2014.

In her memoir, Copeland is expected to describe the battles between her mother and her dance instructors while she was a teen over whether she should be allowed to pursue her career and who was her legal guardian.

article via blackamericaweb.com