First ballet class with American Ballet Theatre’s first African American principal ballerina
MasterClass, the platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best, announced that decorated prima ballerina Misty Copeland will teach ballet. Credited with both broadening the audience for classical ballet and invigorating the art form with a renewed energy, Copeland’s MasterClass will offer an intimate look at how she’s navigated challenges throughout her life and career to defy boundaries and become American Ballet Theatre’s first African American female principal dancer. Now available exclusively at MasterClass.com, students can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing classes of 70+ instructors through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include leadership, cooking, photography, writing, performance, and much more.
“Misty has single handedly transformed ballet,”said David Rogier, Co-Founder and CEO of MasterClass. “In her MasterClass, she not only teaches her balance of craft and artistry, but she also brings us into her world, sharing the stories that have made her the athlete and artist she is today.”
In 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history. She has been an advocate for diversity and, in 2014, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people, and later interviewed by President Obama for TIME and Essence magazines to discuss race, gender, achievement and creating opportunity for young people. She is an advocate and volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club of America, where she first learned ballet, as well as an ambassador for MindLeaps, a dance-centered nonprofit providing vocational training to at-risk youth in post-conflict and developing countries. She was recently featured as the lead ballerina in Disney’s The Nutcracker and The Four Realms.
“As a mentor, it’s important to me to set a positive example for athletes and artists and show that with the right work ethic, dreams are possible,”said Copeland. “I hope students walk away from my MasterClass with a simple way of approaching ballet technique. But, more importantly, what it takes to be confident, to accept who you are and embrace who you want to be in the future.”
Dancers and performers of all kinds will learn more deeply how they can embody characters, tell stories through movement, and own a stage with a dynamic presence. Copeland’s MasterClass offers an intimate look at ballet artistry and technique, and diversity and inclusion in the world of classical ballet and her journey to becoming a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. In her class, Copeland will reveal the technical transformation she’s worked on for the past year, how to work with different choreographers, the value of seeking guidance from mentors and how working with Prince resulted in a life-changing moment for her as an artist. Through detailed technical instruction and a 120-degree view, members will watch Misty perform a real-time solo variation from Swan Lake, as well as a partner variation with American Ballet Theatre soloist Calvin Royal III as they dance the White Swan Pas de Deux together for the first time.
Copeland will also break down a series of stationary and movement exercises at the barre, including plié and tendu, temps lié and, in a more advanced demo, rond de jambe. Copeland will also share her hopes for preserving a legacy that empowers inclusion in ballet and encourages members to be a part of the conversation around diversity to help change the perception of what a ballet dancer should be.
Copeland’s MasterClass joins the 70+ classes taught by world- renowned instructors on cooking, photography, writing, performance, and much more. Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor.