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Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

av Misty Copeland, Charisse Jones

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3191662,264 (3.72)5
As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.… (mer)
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I've had this on my shelf for over two years. When I first saw a video of Misty dancing it caught my attention, and learning that she started dancing at age 13 cinched it. Yet I let the book sit, while I watched the film made about Misty and occasionally heard of her in the news.

Here we learn some of the details of Misty's life. The fleshing out of the basic story. As most stories are, it's more complex than it appears at first.

Misty was one of several children of a single mom. Her mother went from husband to boyfriend to another boyfriend, usually leaving without notice, just grabbing the children and a few things and taking off. So Misty lived in a lot of places in Southern California. It is lucky she stayed in close to the same area long enough to discover ballet and to explore it in some depth.

From between the lines we learn that Misty is closer to her siblings than to her mother. We suspect that she resents her mother for relying on a stream of men for income and homes so much of Misty's childhood, instead of relying on her own resources. As an adult Misty is closer to her mom and is kind to her, but she had to be honest in the telling, to reveal much of what shaped her. We also have to figure there must have been something in Mom (she calls her Mommy throughout) that affected all of her children positively, even if their success was in part a reaction to what they did not want in their own lives. That is, they strived and succeeded to avoid continuing to live the way they grew up.

There is no doubt there was some luck involved in the ballet story. Misty joined a drill team. In fact, she pushed her way into leading it. And the drill team instructor took notice, not only of her drive but also of her moves. She suggested that she check out ballet classes at the nearby Boys and Girls Club. At first Misty was not thrilled. She was small and didn't know the moves and felt out of place. But Cindy, the instructor, could also see her potential. And we could say the rest is history, because in a way it is.

Cindy coached Misty through a few years of dance, even inviting her to live with her when Misty's mom moved the gang into a motel. Misty thrived, learning the moves very quickly, and even trying out for summer ballet programs hosted by top ballet organizations by the time she was fifteen. It was through one of these programs that she made it to New York and the American Ballet Theatre.

Nobody's life is without pain and setbacks, and Misty had plenty of these. Yet in important ways she overcame them. At one point she became convinced that she was not valued at ABT because she was black. Her examples of why she felt this way are vague, however. I do not doubt that there was some discrimination. And I know from my own life that I often forget important details that would back up my feelings, so this may be what happened. Regardless, Misty came to believe that it was up to her to make it or not, and others' feelings about her are irrelevant.

Which does not make this a Cinderella story. And everyone lives happily ever after. For Misty, her obligation is to others. She was gifted and she was lucky. Not everyone is, but those in reduced circumstances still deserve a chance as much as any privileged child does. Misty devotes much of her life to this belief. We can and should applaud her for the beauty and wonder she brings to ballet, but as the years go on, we should appreciate even more what she brings to others.

The book is written with help and it is about average for this type autobiography. For me, there was too much jumping around in time to describe certain aspects of Misty's life. I would have appreciated a bit more of an ordered arrangement, with different events shaping Misty slowly. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13475127
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Quick, interesting read, with great details about ballet and Copeland's childhood. I love reading about dancers, and this was really satisfying with a small handful of photos included. Though I always want MORE photos in dance books, because it's such a visual art. Anyway, totally worth a read, great choice for teens as well, I think, since so much of the story takes place during her childhood and adolescence. ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
I love reading biographies of people who have had very different lives than I have, and Misty Copeland's story definitely qualifies. I didn't know much about her going into the book, other then her fame as a black principle dancer with ABT, but I have really enjoyed watching recordings of her over the years and I was interested to see how she wound up where she did. I found myself somewhat disappointed in this book. I found the writing stilted and there were a lot of places where I wanted her to talk more about her experience, but it was glossed over. I enjoyed the little glimpses behind the scenes at the ballet, but I wished there was more of that. I did think she spoke eloquently about the struggles she had as a black woman competing in a largely white arena, and that was my favorite part of the book. Not a bad book by any means, but it could be better. ( )
  duchessjlh | Jul 14, 2020 |
This was a beautiful story of Copeland's path to ballet and the ABT. ( )
  mmaestiho | Sep 20, 2018 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Misty Copelandprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Jones, Charissehuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
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To all ballerinas of the world.
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Wikipedia på engelska (1)

As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground-breaking ballerina.

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