Why This Dancer Was Named One of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”

Posted by GreaterGoodness

When professional ballerina Misty Copeland first started dancing, the odds were stacked against her. She grew up in an impoverished, single-parent household with several other siblings. She was 13 years old when she took her first class, whereas her colleagues started at age eight on average (but as early as age three). On top of all that, she was an African American girl in a very Caucasian industry.

Nevertheless, she dreamed of becoming the American Ballet Theatre (ABT)’s principal dancer. And at age 32, she’s done just that, making history as the first black female to achieve such a high role.

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If you don’t think this is significant, think again! The ballet industry often discriminates against the black community due to stereotypes surrounding body types. They say African Americans are too muscular and have feet that are too flat.

But Copeland proves that body type doesn’t impede upon talent, nor do challenges conquer the power of the will.

In spite of her wicked-awesome moves and wicked awesomeness in general, critics still manage to find fault with her, claiming she’s “too busty” or “too bulky” for ballet. But their opinions are irrelevant.

“My mission, my voice, my story, my message is not for them,” Copeland said in an NPR interview. “I think it’s more important to think of the people I am influencing and helping to see a broader picture of what beauty is.”

And the influence she’s had proves that she’s right. She’s inspiring people with her story. Through Project Plié, she’s working with the ABT to introduce more racial diversity into the field of dance. She’s written a best-selling memoir, as well as a children’s book to encourage young dancers-to-be.

She’s had such a huge impact on the world that she’s been named one of Time magazine’s “100 most influential people”—the first dancer since 1994 to receive such an honor.

Which inspires me to say, “You go, girl!” Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go pursue my own dreams…

Who inspires you to achieve your goals?

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