Life in Motion

After hearing G.O.A.T Misty Copeland discuss her story and memoir I decided instantly to read it for myself. Life in Motion is a fast and easy read covering Misty’s childhood and introduction to dance to her starring as a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), where she has performed her entire professional career.

The book was published a year before Misty made history by being named the first African-American woman principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history, before that she made history being the first African-American soloist at ABT in over two decades. Interestingly enough, the book ends with Misty emphasizing how she will continue to strive to reach her goal, little did she know a year later she would indeed earn her title as principal dancer with ABT.

Misty’s story is one of overcoming many obstacles and achieving despite the odds. Misty started dancing at thirteen, a very late time to start her career, and was quickly deemed a prodigy. Despite her late start and an unstable childhood, moving from home to home with her mother and five siblings, Misty honed her craft and found her way to the top of the ballet world. However, as she began to climb the ranks she faced challenges due to her race and her body, neither the “ideal” for classical ballet. Her busty and curvy shape and brown skin contrasted so much from the norm causing many critics to harshly judge her based on her appearance. Despite the difficulties Misty managed to find a strong support system and the inner strength to excel.

You don’t have to be a ballet fan to read this book. It’s simply Misty’s story and the ballet terms are not overly used, with explanations of each move for clarity. She makes it clear that one of her missions is to bring ballet to the masses, to share her love of the art that saved her with other minority and under privileged audiences that might otherwise not be exposed. This book and Misty’s other initiatives, which she mentions, helps her do just that. After reading Misty’s memoir I was left with another level of appreciation for her accomplishments-both professional and personal.