This week’s staff pick is the inspiring story of Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater’s principal ballerina. In Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, Copeland shares her story of discovering her natural talent for ballet at a community center through her rise to the top. Not a “typical” ballet dancer, Copeland shares the struggles and hardships she faced along they way. An emotional, encouraging story that will appeal to dancers and non-dancers alike.
“If you’d asked Copeland, soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, when she was a young African American teenager about her vision of the future, she would probably have said that the only thing less likely than her writing a memoir was her becoming a world-class ballerina. But when a teacher encouraged 13-year-old Misty to take ballet at the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles, she discovered a hidden talent. Her natural flexibility and grace had her on pointe within two months, something other ballerinas work years to achieve. She was offered lead roles before finishing high school. Her professional success is impressive, but it’s not what makes her memoir such an unexpected page-turner. After all, we already know Copeland will overcome racial and socioeconomic bias to claim her spotlight. What keeps us reading is Copeland’s intelligent, fair, and warm voice. She speaks with candor about having to lose her luscious curves and cover herself with white makeup to look more acceptable on stage, but she never places blame on those who asked her to do so. Her story is an inspiration to anyone—man or woman, black or white—who has ever chased a dream against the odds, and the grace with which she triumphs is an example for us all.” –Amber Peckham, Booklist (Amazon)