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From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage.
As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible.
In the years since, Misty has only learned more about the trailblazing women who made her own success possible by pushing back against repression and racism with their talent and tenacity. Misty brings these women’s stories to a new generation of readers and gives them the recognition they deserve.
With an introduction from Misty about the legacy these women have had on dance and on her career itself, this book delves into the lives and careers of women of color who fundamentally changed the landscape of American ballet from the early 20th century to today.
Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre, reveals her own path to greatness and spotlights inspiring Black dancers who often served as her mentors in this mesmeric combination of memoir and biography. Each spread features a dense page of text on the recto beneath the dancer's name, with one of Barnes's elegant, full-page illustrations on the verso, presenting each dancer in a striking, graceful position against neutral-colored backgrounds, accented by a gentle wash of watercolor and a quote. Copeland relays memories, struggles, and factoids in honest, accessible prose: "I understand those struggles. I spent the first decade of my career with ABT as the only Black woman, yearning for a sister to share my experience on what is so often a lonely road for Black ballerinas." A valuable tome for fans of Copeland, ballet, or those interested in history books spotlighting Black women luminaries. Ages 10 up.