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Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Hardcover – March 4, 2014


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Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina + Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476737983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476737980
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* If you’d asked Copeland, soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, when she was a young African American teenager about her vision of the future, she would probably have said that the only thing less likely than her writing a memoir was her becoming a world-class ballerina. But when a teacher encouraged 13-year-old Misty to take ballet at the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles, she discovered a hidden talent. Her natural flexibility and grace had her on pointe within two months, something other ballerinas work years to achieve. She was offered lead roles before finishing high school. Her professional success is impressive, but it’s not what makes her memoir such an unexpected page-turner. After all, we already know Copeland will overcome racial and socioeconomic bias to claim her spotlight. What keeps us reading is Copeland’s intelligent, fair, and warm voice. She speaks with candor about having to lose her luscious curves and cover herself with white makeup to look more acceptable on stage, but she never places blame on those who asked her to do so. Her story is an inspiration to anyone—man or woman, black or white—who has ever chased a dream against the odds, and the grace with which she triumphs is an example for us all. --Amber Peckham

Review

Wrenching and revelatory. (The New York Times)

An unexpected page-turner...Her story is an inspiration to anyone—man or woman, black or white—who has ever chased a dream against the odds, and the grace with which she triumphs is an example for us all. (Booklist (starred review))

Thorough, sensitive...clear-eyed. (The Washington Post)

[A] dramatic rags-to-toe shoes life story. (People)

Engaging... [Copeland is] a poised, intelligent writer whose temperament—disciplined, determined, driven—gives the book a special spark… In LIFE IN MOTION, she looks back on the past without bitterness or anger, only gratitude. Hers is an out-of-the-ordinary story about defying stereotypes, and she shares it in an inspiring narrative that’s enlivened by her own grace and generous spirit. (BookPage)

Captivating...heartrending...literary. (Lisa Jo Sagolla The Kansas City Star)

Remarkable. (Juicy Magazine)

[LIFE IN MOTION] reveals a woman as graceful and powerful in life as she is in dance. (Melissa Harris-Perry)

A raw, honest tale….Her memoir is filled with passion, pain, success, and…pure joy. (Ebony.com)

Reads as a modern day Cinderella story…this memoir is an inspirational read—especially for aspiring dancers. (JET Magazine)

Misty Copeland, a ballerina of extraordinary talent and charisma, offers an autobiography as mesmeric as her dancing. She overcame adversity in the studio, in her home life, and in ballet's own traditionalism to become one of its brightest stars — her passion and perseverance will inspire dancers and non-dancers alike.
(Eliza Minden, author of The Ballet Companion and Co-Founder and Head of Design at dancewear company Gaynor Minden, Inc.)

[Misty Copeland's] book is a breezy read for such deep subject matter, but her beautiful and prevailing spirit shines through on every page. (The Inlander)

Reading her memoir...it becomes even more apparent how this 31-year-old woman has parlayed her natural talent along with an uber intense discipline, passion and focus, into a stellar career. (The NWI Times)

Misty Copeland’s LIFE IN MOTION is an inspiration to all young people. She is the Jackie Robinson of the ballet world, and a true role model for an entire generation of new ballerinas.
(Frank Sanchez, Vice President, Boys & Girls Clubs of America)

[LIFE IN MOTION] is the stuff of which movies are made. (Chicago Sun-Times)

What a remarkable, encouraging story. Written naturally, modestly, and conversationally...[readers will] feel her triumphs and tragedies, wincing whenever she falls and cheering her on every time she gets back up….Brava, Misty. (Bildungsroman)

A tale of hardship and remarkable success. (Los Angeles Magazine)

A poignant primer proving the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.   (The LA Sentinel)

An important book for teen collections. (Angela Carstensen School Library Journal)

Told in graceful prose...[Copeland's] achievements will encourage all those attempting to beat the odds in competitive fields. (Publishers Weekly)

A page-turner...fascinating and emotional. (The Philadelphia Enquirer)

[Parts] the curtain on the ballet’s central illusion: that it is empowering for the female dancers at its centre. Providing a behind-the-scenes look at the glory and gore of ballet...you find yourself rooting for her. (Deidre Kelly The Globe and Mail (Canada))

A gift to all balletomanes, not just the brown ones. (Esther Cepeda)

Misty’s unwavering belief that we can be anything that we dream is an inspiration – an inspiration to break the mold, follow your passion, never take no for an answer and do it all with grace, kindness and the spirit to help others on their journey. I am thrilled that my two daughters have a role model in Misty, who is breaking down doors that that they will never have to. (Rachel Roy)

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Customer Reviews

And it is beautifully written.
Michelle F. Blair
Her story is an inspiration to all.
Lisa M. Hunter
Thank you for sharing your story.
John W. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Pollock on March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Misty Copeland's story is an inspiring tale of overcoming a difficult childhood of poverty and rising en pointe to become a brilliant soloist with American Ballet Theater.

Misty's drill instructor (she was captain of the drill team at school) advised her to study ballet at the Boys and Girls Club, which became her salvation. She started at the late age of 13. But she was a prodigy, with natural strength sufficient to graduate to toe shoes after just three months of instruction. Ballet was her element, she became devoted to the art form, and was given unstinting support from the owner of the studio. She went to live with her teacher and her husband for two years, in the only stable and prosperous home she had known. But a custody struggle between her mother and her ballet teacher ended with Misty being returned to her mother.

However, her talent and hard work won out, and she was accepted at every summer ballet intensive ballet she auditioned for (with the exception of New York City Ballet!). She moved from the San Francisco Ballet's intensive summer to American Ballet Theater's, and was immediately encouraged by the director of the studio company, a feeder to the professional company.

The story of how Misty overcame the instability of her childhood and teenage years is told sensitively and with compelling interest. She is the first and only ballerina of color to reach soloist level in a classical ballet company, especially one of ABT's importance. All along she must overcome obstacles - of lack of confidence, of prejudice in favor of "white swans", and the universal ballet rule to have a boyish figure, while Misty was attractively feminine.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mama2twins on March 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Inspiring story that shows the strength, poise and determination of a young girl who broke barriers in the ballet world. Loved the book and finished it in one night
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mistermaxxx08 HALL OF FAME on March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
one of those books that goes to show that talent, drive, dedication and not listening to the folks who say you can't do this or be this, or shine in this light,etc.. very honest and direct book. she is breaking barriers and only getting stronger. a really strong and enlightening book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on March 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most beautiful memoirs written! What an inspiration Misty Copeland is to girls, especially black and brown girls everywhere. Her story is phenomenal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Monica Rhodes on March 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book provided great insight into the many struggles of being African American in profession that doesn't have many minorities.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I picked up Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland, I was not familiar with Misty's career or her life. I was drawn to the biography because of its subject matter: I've always loved ballet, and though I'm not a classical ballerina, I'm a dancer, too; and I relate very strongly to stories about prodigies and underdogs. Very strongly. I also loved the title, because I often say (or others have said about me) that I'm constantly in motion. Furthermore, as an example of how my life works, I wrote a play about ballerinas which made its debut the same week this book was released. For all these reasons and more, I was compelled to snatch up this book immediately and leap right in.

What a remarkable, encouraging story. Written naturally, modestly, and conversationally, by the end of Life in Motion, readers will feel as if they know Misty personally - especially if they have endured similar hardships. As one of six children in a family that didn't have a lot of disposable income (if any), Misty was fairly content with her life. She loved her siblings, and she attended school faithfully - in fact, she was so afraid of being late, she was always an hour early to school. She loved dancing around her room to the radio, letting the music move her from the tips of her fingers to the tips of her toes.

When she was in middle school, she tried out for the school drill team. Her affinity for movement, her flexibility, and her ability to pick up choreography quickly led her drill team coach to recommend that Misty take ballet classes at the local Boys and Girls Club.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carla Herrmann on June 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Love this book, Misty's story and the way she told it...she's an amazing human being...cannot imagine the discipline, hard work and emotional stamina that she's exhibited her whole life!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By joan on May 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting the issues of color will and does continue to affect lives. Success is truly based on their determination to overcome poverty, dysfunctional home life, the support of caring mentors. The conflict of her mother deciding to take control over her daughters life versus her Dance Insructor studio success primarily because of Misty's talent. Much is left out as to what really happen, although years later they reconciled.
Misty shares the life, the hardships, physical injuries, rejection in the Ballerina world. So few girls really have the talent and drive to succeed and one wonders why parents don't recognize this as they drive their girls to practice several times a week, the expense, the Recital costumes, their expense worn one or twice for a 3 hour performance.
Misty opens up about her life, feelings but says little about her boyfriend of 10 years,
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