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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Misty Copeland's autobiography

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Birchbark. . me too. For me it was the overuse of "prodigy" throughout. I am sure that this was ghost written and so I didn't really think it reflected Misty, per se but I am sure that she read it. Misty IMO is a smart lady with a great publicist and I applaud her ballet talent and her ability to promote herself but the book didn't really work for me as a middle aged woman.


Jennifer Ringer has a degree in English and I do believe wrote her biography word for word. I found it to just be more interesting and I found that she seemed to have a certain perspective about herself.

I know that misty Copeland wrote the book by herself because when she came to a book signing, she used many quotes from her book. I enjoyed her book and loved it so much I read it three times. I didn't think she overused prodigy because I counted and it's only 18 times, also, it is an accurate description. Who else, other than a prodigy, would be able to go on pointe after a mere three months of training. I loved how honest and open the book was.
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I can't help but think that if Misty Copeland can't call herself a prodigy, who can? It isnt hubris if it's true. Albert Einstein referring to himself as a genius would be, well, the pretty much the definition of the word- so why not Misty? some people are prodigies, and she certainly is, none can deny that, so why exactly is it poor form to say so? I don't quite understand how it is braggadocio to explain she advanced quickly and was able to achieve things in a fantastically short amount of time- she did! she has! Personally, I find her achievements inspiring and think the level of self marketing she has achieved is brilliant. Ballet is a short career, multiple tasking and making a name for oneself is just good marketing of the brand- in this case, herself.

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I quite enjoyed the book and enjoy watching her dance. I found the continual references to colour a little repetitive rather than the references to being gifted; which she obviously is. She appears as someone who has an incredible work ethic and is very grounded, being told she was a prodigy does not seem to have effected her too much; she has reached her status by more than a few words. It did get me thinking though of all these young dancers (much younger than 13) who are being promoted and told they are sooooo gifted at such a young age, modern media enhancing that belief. First hand i have witnessed a very young dancer be promoted to all and sundry as a "God given wonder" and already at such a tender age have seen the effect it has had on her, her peers and her mother; in my mind i question the health of such a statements in a young dancers life.

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FYI the book was written with journalist Charisse Jones. See the NY Times Review on March 16, 2014 entitled "Ballerinas So Elegant Take Time to Vent." (I can't paste links. The BTFD interface does not seem to allow it?)


The Co-authorship, according to the reviewer, "May explain why Ms. Copeland sounds like her own most devoted fan."


I agree with both the self aggrandizing tone and I am correct that Copeland did not fully write it, which is why the tone may be like that. She likely participated in a series of interviews, read drafts, and made corrections to the manuscript.

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Thank you for the clarity on the writer. I've only had access on my phone until now so didn't reply. It might also be important to note, that we have both adults and teens writing on this thread, so it's important to temper our conversation to reflect that.

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Misty Copeland is an amazing talent and a smart woman. . . a tour de force if you will.


But she is also human and it's so important as a young person to understand that people who are famous and accomplished and even talented are also fallible and imperfect and may possess characteristics that we don't want to emulate.


I think that's my point, really. I think that she might have taken a bit more control of how the book was written and how she was portrayed. The comments both here, and in the review are really quite consistent about the tone that seems to be set forth in different places in the book.

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  • 5 months later...

Has anyone else read it? I found it quite confusing and would welcome any thoughts from people with more professional experience?

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  • 8 months later...

I recently purchased this book for my pre- teen daughter. Should I be concerned about the eating disorders mentioned in this book? Are there any other issues that might be too mature for a preteen dancer?

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I thought that it was fine for a kids. . . Pretty sure that it's a Young Adult book, that's the target audience.


Well, pre-teen? There is some domestic abuse stuff, but handled appropriately. It could be written into a 4th grade book.

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My 9 year old is dying to read it after we went to hear her speak this summer. But after reading it I can't allow it - too mature in some areas. But such a fantastic and inspiring story for all!!

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Just a follow up. The book my daughter got through Scholastic seems to be slightly shorter than a version I saw at the bookstore. It seems like there is an edited version for kids.

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I completely agree Misty Copeland can call herself a prodigy-- however 18 times in one book was a bit too much for me. And I also agree, there seems to be an emphasis on overcoming racism in the ballet world, that just doesn't seem apparent in her actual personal experience, the way I read it. (I'm not saying racism has not been an issue in ballet, only that it didn't seem to hold her back personally) Those are things I felt detracted form the book.


I am glad to be reminded it was co-written, as that might explain some of the emphases that were a bit of a turn off to me. I don' know Misty Copeland like some of you seem to know her, so I got the impression she was a bit conceited. I've never heard her speak in person, or even "live" in an interview, etc.


Overall, I'm glad I read the book as it was very inspiring and and a quick and enjoyable read-- I would recommend it for teens and above.

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