Sunday, May 18, 2014

“Life in Motion" by Misty Copeland – The Hardships of Ballet

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland (book cover)
The dream of escaping poverty and living a life of fame and wealth, going from rags to riches, is something virtually everyone who lives an economically-disadvantaged life yearns for. Unfortunately, for many people it takes something truly special to achieve that dream, and in the case of Misty Copeland it all came to fruition.

In Life in Motion, Misty Copeland brings to us her autobiography, detailing her journey through life from the crummy motel room where she and her siblings lived like sardines, through the hardships of the unforgiving world of professional ballet, all the way to her current success and stardom as being the only African American soloist with the American Ballet Theatre.

Even if you couldn't be brought to have the slightest care about ballet and its dancers with a gun to your head, you still shouldn't overlook this book straight away. While there certainly is a fair amount of information about ballet itself, it really only serves as the driving force that pushes Copeland through her life.

Much of the focus is actually placed on Copeland’s personal life, starting with the poverty she grew out of from childhood. We get to learn about how she struggled day-to-day with her siblings, how the discovery of ballet changed her life, how she came to perform professionally only one year after taking it up, how she rose to fame despite all the naysayers and thorns in her side, and how the brutal realities of her own life ended up shaping her.

Technically-speaking, the novel is about what you would expect: rather simple, and yet eloquent to a certain extent, providing on some occasions rather breathtaking descriptions and on others short, brief and concise statements. It is very easy to read and follow, not to mention that Copeland uses a rather welcoming tone, being upbeat while still recognizing the seriousness of what she is discussing.

Regardless of whether you are looking to learn about Copeland herself, are curious about the brutal world of professional ballet, or are simply yearning for some kind of real, heartwarming and uplifting story about someone trying all they can to live a life that should never be theirs, then this book will definitely be right up your alley. Copeland herself is a very intriguing figure, and we could all do well by learning from her, the lessons she learned through her hardships and the perspectives she adopted that allowed her to keep on going and finally live the dream she has always wanted to.

Misty Copeland (September 10, 1982)

Misty Copeland

Personal site

Misty Copeland is an American ballet dancer and author, being described as the first African-American female soloist at the American Ballet Theatre. She wrote an autobiography of her rise to stardom as an unlikely ballet star, and it is titled Life in Motion.

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