What ‘ballet pink’ has been for more than a century has gone redefined. It is high time. Enough of that insipid shade. Enter a new theme, dusky gold, the color magnificently worn in these photos by the glorious, triumphant ballerina and principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland.
Seen sculpting space in the skyscraper setting of her home city along with her fellow ABT principal dancers, Copeland was prominently featured in an opening montage of ABT’s 80th anniversary “on-line” gala on Monday. There is something so wistful in this rooftop sequence — its searing footage hearkens that we simply do not know when our great ABT dancers will be set loose on a stage for a live audience.
Copeland brings new definition to classical ballet. First, she seems to be a kind of normal, approachable, sweet person. Not a diva! At a granular level, she has introduced change. She has an unusual ballet line with physical bends and crannies, prominently a pair of hyper-extended knees that make her positions fascinating — even edgy depending on how conservative the viewer. She has had to work hard given her body structure to maximize and accentuate that line — and minimize her injuries. Did you notice that her skin is not white, and her hair not that of a white woman? That is old news by now, but nothing emblazons a ‘black is beautiful’ aesthetic like Misty Copeland ‘s current appearance — it is the mistification of the ballet meme. And I love her natural eyebrow.
Copeland is twenty years into an ABT career that has been waylaid by injury, personal issues and emotional struggle. She is now sleek, race-horse fit, and rare’in to go. She is America’s ballerina bringing abilities beyond the classical vernacular — in funk and contemporary. I’d like to see all kinds of new choreographies put at the service of his unique, all-American ballerina. Bring it!