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July 20, 2015


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On the PBS Newshour tonight (July 20) was a story on the National Dance Institute in a NYC public school. The NDI was founded by Jacques d'Amboise. The clip had a good interview with d'Amboise, now 81. It also showed him as a young dancer in Apollo. This URL site also has a photo collection of D'Amboise working in the National Dance Institute over the years.


Barbara, thanks much! I've moved it up to its own post.

Well at least the clip further confirms what a gentle, generous, well bred woman Stella is in life and art.

I do know how publicity machines take on a life of their own - artists can lose control of their own story - but one of Misty's advantages as African American dancer is that she is not so dark-skinned she distracts visually onstage from white dancers. She is quite light. The darkening face make-up (that missed her neck) to make her appear more "black" is too much. She certainly has control over what makeup goes on her face. Misty needs to say no to that kind of stunt.

True, elfantgirl, Misty should say no to brownface makeup and trying to pass as something she isn't. This wasn't a case where she was portraying a character on stage where makeup enhances the role; this was Misty as herself wearing brownface makeup in order to make viewers believe that she was a darker-skinned African American. Nor was it "tanning bronze". Let's hope it wasn't her own idea to do it, although few would be surprised if it was.

However, it's a small dishonesty compared to the contents of her memoir and her subsequent interviews where she tried to claim that she was a victim of racism in ballet.

I just watched, online, a TED talk given by Michaela DePrince, one of the five winners of the YAGP chronicled in the film "First Position" a couple of years ago. Her story is even more remarkable than the film portrayed. At the very end there is a clip of her dancing part of a variation (Peasant PDD?) with the ballet company in the Netherlands, HET, where she dances now. She is very dark, waaaay darker than Misty Copeland, who, with light makeup, could pass as white. Ms. DePrince is absolutely exquisite in both the talk and the dancing, a link to which I will now attempt to provide, digitally-challenged as I am. I hope it works. IMHO, DePrince is a dancer who belongs at ABT.

Hi, Angelica.

Michaela's story is extraordinary and she has grown remarkably as an artist since joining Het Nationale Ballet - far more than she would if she were at ABT. Her company declared a moratorium on media interviews with her following the release of her book because the requests were interfering with her work. Can you imagine ABT doing that? The Dutch National Ballet isn't exactly a convent or Monastery of the Sacred Arts, but the company certainly treats art more seriously than ABT does.

HET is doing a lot for DePrince. She is a fabulous dancer and now has a lot of polish. She was cast in the corps for their version of Balanchine's Diamonds. So they definitely want to expand her in a more romantic style not just let her be a powerhouse. I've also noticed she has worked very hard on lengthening her body musculature. She looks so sylph-like and gorgeous now.


Angelica and melponeme, thank you for the links! Her story is indeed extraordinary. I have also noticed the change in her musculature and she looks beautiful. What most impressed me about Ms. DePrince is that she makes no excuses. She is an example of a dancer "cultivating artistry and not cultivating celebrity". HET is doing great things for her and ABT in its current state is the last place I would ever want to see her. I want to continue to see her dance and grow.

Wow. I’m so glad that she’s getting the recognition and respect that she so deserves and her life story’s being made into a feature film!! Her drive and no excuses she demonstrated in the documentary First Position blew me a way. It’s bad in contrast to see Misty still on this trek about her being a victim of racism in the ballet and resorting now to “black face” which makes no sense since she’s been on tv for years and didn’t seem to have done that before. It’s a shame that she’s tarnishing her own legacy with her various marketing stunts.

I too want to thank Angelica and melponeme for the links! As for the MSNBC clip, IMHO there is only one (1) ABT prima on that set and it is Stella Abrera. I'm sorry - I've tried to give M.C. the benefit of the doubt, but based on the clips alone it's patently obvious that she is unqualified to be an ABT Principal Dancer. Misty doesn't have the skill sets, the artistry, the required technique or line. Most of all she has no sense of shame or humility, *(plug your books why don't you). Stella is class personified.

Well, Misty will now have to put up or shut up, as they say.

What parts do you think she can dance? Her repertoire is limited at best. A principal dancer at ABT has to prove her mettle by consistently performing the classical repertoire. Misty ain't got the chops. She will make a career, or what is left of it, by performing vehicles. She will be exposed as a fake.

Michaela's story is really one for adults, not young people. She puts a face on something that everyone should think more about and try to think of ways to do more about it.

Misty's story is meant to appeal to kids who worship celebrity. She's lived a very privileged life for more than two decades and has never "suffered" so-to-speak in any meaningful way. While watching the MHP clip and listening to Misty's canned and over-rehearsed message, I kept thinking that she should be wearing a beauty pagent sash across her front that says Miss Victim USA.

Speaking of Swan Lake milestones, it seems Kayla Rowser's debut at Nashville Ballet was completely overlooked.


She looks poised, lovely and classical. I don't think she had a problem with fouettes.


There are loads of dancers getting lost in the shuffle due to Copeland media stunts. I wish she would just once acknowledge her contemporaries as they do her.

You're so right, melponeme. Ms. Rowser looks very lovely in those clips. I quite like the quick tempo of the music in the Act III clip.

The less said about this mess the better. She really needs to stop going in this direcetion. It's wrong and degrading. Poor Stella looked a bit overwhelmed and lost. It's evident that she doesn't have as much media experience as Misty does.

Well, Misty is certainly over-exposed, and the symptoms of "Misty Fatigue" are beginning to be seen. Misty Fatigue will easily translate into ABT Fatigue because the company has led the general public to believe that they are one and the same. It has barely lifted a finger in the past year to promote any of its other dancers to the general public.

I think the best way to watch this “interview” is to mute the sound and observe the body language. For someone who makes her living expressing herself through movement, Copeland seems to be a nervous mess. The instant the camera cuts to the two dancers, Copeland is caught staring directly into the camera, rather than at the host, as she should have been prepped to do. She darts away quickly, but it’s still a “deer in the headlights” moment. You’d think with all the coaching for on-camera work she must have received by now, she’d be relaxed and at ease. Instead, it’s Abrera who looks calm and centered, caught between Copeland’s head bobbing, head turning, grinning and overall faux engagement in this non conversation, and the host’s arm-flailing. Yet another wasted opportunity. America’s first corporate ballet dancer, Copeland still is not yet ready for the big time. By the way, Kickstarter donors to Nelson George’s “A Ballerina’s Tale” received word yesterday that distribution rights to the film have been purchased by Sundance Selects, who will release the film to theaters and on-demand on Oct.14. I’ve been wondering what George has been doing with my money these past 2 or 3 years, shooting more and more footage as Copeland’s career suddenly began to skyrocket. And so very serendipitous that he will now be able to end the film with her timely promotion. Here’s a link to the announcement in Variety. And be sure to scroll down the page below the article to check out the airbrushed publicity photo of Copeland for her debut in “On the Town.”


FYI, photo here:


"Misty Fatigue" - excellent quote. I'm glad that Glamour magazine featured Michaela DePrince with that gorgeous picture and her inspiring story. I think that companies will start to court her because Misty's over exposed and her tales of victimization pales in comparison to what this lady had to endure. According to her own biography, Misty was given support from the experts in the ballet world who recocnized her early talent and nurtoured her since she was 13 years old.

There was an excellent article in the Washington Post on July 10, 2015 by its dance critic Sarah Kaufman titled "Can Misty Copeland be both a celebrity AND a great artist?" I am not sure how to provide the link, but any balletomane should find the article and comments of interest.


" “I don’t think one can completely separate the media around Copeland from the fact that she has generated it herself, in the sense that there is a PR firm,” says Garafola, noting Copeland’s ads, her memoir and “any number of things that were part of this media campaign for her to be promoted to a principal dancer. Now she’s achieved it, and has turned around and gone to Broadway. I am disappointed.” "

I think she'll go the Hollywood route and scale back on demanding lead ballet roles. Why kill herself with work when she could be a star and make money.

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