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5 things we can learn from Misty Copeland

Yesterday, Misty Copeland became the first African-American Principal ballerina in the American Ballet Theatres 75-year history. A principal dancer is a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company. Throughout her life, she has broken through multiple glass ceilings and overcome obstacles that would have caused most to quit. Her passion is to be admired and her story to be used as a lesson to young girls all over the world. Here are 5 things I believe we can all learn from her journey.

1. Timing is everything

“It’s rare that someone finds it so late, falls in love with it, has the passion, has the gift, has all of these things that it takes to make it” -Misty Copeland

Unlike most professional ballerina’s who began dancing and gymnastics at very young ages, Misty didn’t start taking ballet until she was 13 which is considered late for ballerinas in training. With no prior training within months, she had the ability to mimic tough choreography and began to excel. She had the capacity to learn training in months that it took others to learn in years. Timing is everything, never compare your journey to that of someone else.

2. In the words of Taylor Swift, the Hater’s gonna hate…Shake it off

“You can do anything you want, even if you’re being told negative things. Stay strong and find motivation”-Misty Copeland

She consistently faced discrimination from the beginning and surprisingly still battles through it today. At one point, she was told she didn’t have the body nor the talent for ballet. It was never easy to shake off, even at some points Misty wanted to quit. There were times she doubted that an African American woman would make it her level. She turned disappointment and doubt into opportunity and inspiration for the generations ahead.

3. Passion strengthens talent

“You must have the passion, strength, and belief that you can become anything”-Misty Copeland

It doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have the passion like Misty, you can be the best at what you do. (via Time Magazine). Finding ballet gave Misty a love she never knew existed inside of her. She danced through stomach pains, migraine headaches and being an unlikely ballerina. Tenacity such as this is fueled by passion and can only strengthen the natural talent inside of you.

4. Your beginning doesn’t have to determine your present

“You must have the passion, strength, and belief that you can become anything”-Misty Copeland

Misty one of six children, growing up poor, single mother, and at one point living in a motel. She could have allowed her past to stop her or as a crutch, but she kept pushing, she kept dancing and has never stopped. You have the power to move beyond where you are. You will be surprised. You have the capacity to be someone great no matter how the beginning of your story started out.

 5. You have what you say

“It’s my goal to become, the first African-American principal dancer with ABT”-Misty Copeland

Many times dreams can seem unattainable. One of the biggest things that stood out to me about Misty’s journey was her ability always to see beyond where she was. She knew if she was going to keep climbing the levels of ballet she had to speak it aloud. While unpopular, in 2014 she told the New Yorker“It’s my goal to become, the first African-American principal dancer with ABT”. A year later the dream has come to past. Misty’s incredible story has opened the doors to many little ballerinas to come and inspired us all to keep pushing and not to be afraid to break the mold in industry’s around the world.