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Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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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)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
In the end, Misty is victorious, chosen to play the Firebird on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in a new ballet choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky. After surgery for a serious injury, she is back at ABT and her future is still open before her. Her story will inspire teenage dancers. Graciously, she acknowledges the help her early dance teachers gave her and the past "black swans" she met and befriended during her career. I eagerly look forward to her sequel, when she becomes a principal at ABT.
We both love to watch "So you think you can dance." as it brings some fantastic dancers to the stage and some of the wildest choreography I have ever seen. It brought us "Twitch"!
This last season we were watching as usual and I noticed a guest judge I had never seen before and I asked my wife who it was. She asked me, "You don't know who that is?" I had no idea other that she looked very serious. She said "That's Misty Copeland; one of the best ballerina's there is anywhere." I shrugged my shoulders, "OK." Her critiques were so precise and on point; every toe point; every movement; every emotion. I was like, "This dancer knows her business." I was impressed and I believe she was on for two episodes. My wife still was asking me how could you not know who she is? One thing I did know; she knows her business.
The above notes don't relate directly with her book but will. I'm married to a Latina and she told me that she wasn't always welcomed in allot of circles due to her not being white. Being white, I didn't fully get it because I wasn't raised that way. The statement "This is for the brown girls." should and probably relates to all women or men of color. Reading that made me sad but it should make every decent person sad.
Her story was a great read. It was one of a young prodigy being pushed and pulled in so many directions at a young age that tore at her feelings so drastically that it it was painful to read in some places. So many families have to endure hardships and many talented people whether it's dance, acting, other sports or academia are kept from them because there is no one there to see the talent. Those are the ones who suffer. I'm glad the Boys and Girls club was there for her and she was discovered; what a waste it would have been to have never seen such talent. Thanks Misty for giving back to those who helped get you started.
The book is very open and raw; she doesn't hold back on any of her life story. It's happy in many places and heartbreaking in others. It's a journey of a budding artist who tells her story almost from when she can remember to this year. She gives those in her life who helped her more than just credit; she showers them with praise. She admits to the reader her fears and how she overcame them (I love Krispy Kreme too). For so many to take to her, shows a spirit not found in many people no matter what race they are. In the end her family is her biggest love and that crowns the book for me.
I hope my wife and I can see her dance live one day; that would be a truly wonderful experience. That recalls the dance of Firebird with stress fractures. Most athletes would be sidelined with that. It boggles the mind how she did that.
I'll check out Firebird when I get a chance. Thanks for a great experience.