- USD 14.99
From celebrated ballerina and New York Times bestselling author Misty Copeland, a heartfelt memoir about her friendship with trailblazer Raven Wilkinson which captures the importance of mentorship, shared history, and honoring the past to ensure a stronger future.
Misty Copeland made history as the first African-American principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre. Her talent, passion, and perseverance enabled her to make strides no one had accomplished before. But as she will tell you, achievement never happens in a void. Behind her, supporting her rise was her mentor Raven Wilkinson. Raven had been virtually alone in her quest to breach the all-white ballet world when she fought to be taken seriously as a Black ballerina in the 1950s and 60s. A trailblazer in the world of ballet decades before Misty’s time, Raven faced overt and casual racism, hostile crowds, and death threats for having the audacity to dance ballet.
The Wind at My Back tells the story of two unapologetically Black ballerinas, their friendship, and how they changed each other—and the dance world—forever. Misty Copeland shares her own struggles with racism and exclusion in her pursuit of this dream career and honors the women like Raven who paved the way for her but whose contributions have gone unheralded. She celebrates the connection she made with her mentor, the only teacher who could truly understand the obstacles she faced, beyond the technical or artistic demands.
A beautiful and wise memoir of intergenerational friendship and the impressive journeys of two remarkable women, The Wind at My Back captures the importance of mentorship, of shared history, and of respecting the past to ensure a stronger future.
Bestseller and renowned ballerina Copeland (Bunheads) recounts her friendship with and mentoring by the late Raven Wilkinson (1935–2018), who in 1955 became "the first Black woman to receive a contract with a major ballet company" upon signing with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. For her part, Copeland blazed a path to unprecedented prominence, joining the American Ballet Theater's studio company after only four years of training and later becoming the ABT's first Black female principal dancer. Copeland draws strength from Wilkinson's perseverance through harrowing experiences of racism, including having Klansmen storm the stage at a performance in Montgomery and leaving the Ballet Russe and American ballet companies at large when her colleagues revealed their discriminatory beliefs toward her. Met with resistance to her outspokenness about anti-Blackness in dance throughout her career, Copeland celebrates her mentor's wisdom as she shoulders the burdens and thrills of her historic career, and aims to inspire other dancers of color who face similar barriers as they pursue their passions ("Listening to , I was reminded that... I was setting other Black women free to dance, to dream big, to ‘fly.' "). The strength that Copeland found in Wilkinson is moving, and she renders it gracefully throughout. This is an inspiring and insightful account. Agent: Steve Troha, Folio Literary Management.