It’s no wonder Misty Copeland is a role model for countless aspiring ballerinas. Misty didn’t take her first dance class until age 13, at the local Boys & Girls Club in San Pedro, CA. Her natural strength and flexibility, plus a killer work ethic, meant she advanced quickly, and in 2000 she joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. Misty became a member of ABT’s corps de ballet in 2001 and was promoted to soloist in 2007. Not afraid to think outside the ballerina box, Misty toured with Prince in 2011 and has made numerous TV appearances, including in a Dr. Pepper commercial last year. Now her followers can find inspiration in her book, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, which describes the ups and downs of her journey, including what it’s like to be one of the few black dancers in the ballet world. Get your copy of Life in Motion via amazon.com and bookstores March 4—and read on for The Dirt. —RZ

Misty Copeland in La Bayadère (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor)

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?

Cookies

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Music

Who would play you in a movie?

Willow Smith

What’s your dream role?

Juliet...today. It changes all the time.

What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag?

Men's Cologne. I prefer it to women's.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

RULING THE WORLD. Just kidding. LOL. Retiring from dance, traveling, having a family, continuing to diversify classical ballet.

What’s your most embarrassing onstage moment?

Falling on my face—which I've done too many times.

What have been your proudest career moments so far?

Dancing Firebird, helping bring Project Plié to fruition.

What's your advice for Dance Spirit readers?

Surround yourself with people who will support you. It's OK to accept help and advice!

 

World-class ballet dancers. An elegant, light-drenched setting. Black-and-white cinematography. A serene orchestral score. It never fails, guys: Give us these ingredients, and we'll watch your video on loop, forever.

Ken Browar and Deborah Ory of NYC Dance Project show their mastery of that beautiful formula in a new video, "The Art of Movement," created to promote their stunning new photography book of the same name. (Be sure to enter our giveaway!) For two glorious minutes, we get to see American Ballet Theatre's Cassandra Trenary and Daniil Simkin doing what they do best. The location—the enormous top floor of NeueHouse Madison Square—adds ambiance. But the focus remains squarely on these dancers' exquisite artistry.

So much pretty.

It's pure ballet bliss. Happy Friday, everybody.

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Recovering from a major sugar hangover right now? Here, this'll make you feel better: Gaze in wonder at the Halloween costumes American Ballet Theatre's dancers pulled out yesterday, which are seriously, seriously on point(e).

Yes, we know—we already did our "best of" Halloween roundup. We already talked about the amazing Maddie thing that Heidi Klum did on "Ellen." But some late-arriving social media posts make a strong case for ABT as the official winner of Halloween 2016.

We'll start with the sweet: husband-and-wife team Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky as Yoko Ono and John Lennon. So many #relationshipgoals:

Let's progress to the (literally) cheeky, aka principal Jeffrey Cirio as Tom Cruise in Risky Business:

A video posted by Jeffrey Cirio (@jeffreycirio) on

Most committed goes to Halloween queen James Whiteside in A+ drag as Natalia Makarova, complete with pointe shoes:

Soloist Cassandra Trenary's Ethan Stiefel/Cooper Nielson impression—including a Charlie cameo!—was truly inspired:

And the all-around winner? That'd be Erica Lall, who ABSOLUTELY NAILED Aunt Viv from "Fresh Prince," good lord:

A video posted by Erica Lall (@erica_lall) on

Bonus: While we didn't get a peek at Misty Copeland's costume, she did repost this adorable little ballerina-in-the-making's Misty ensemble. D'awwwwww!

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There's nothing cooler (or more fascinating) than getting the inside scoop on a prima ballerina's life. What does she eat before a performance? What's her favorite workout? Does she have any guilty pleasures? Any pre-performance rituals? We need. to. know.

Thankfully, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is dropping tips everywhere these days (and just in time for #MotivationMonday). Boylston is currently ABT's youngest principal and debuted as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, just last week. So basically, when she doles out advice, we listen!

This week, she talked with The New Potato. The biggest takeaway? This ballerina loves her food. More precisely: her pasta (yes, girl!). "My favorite pre-show food is pasta," she says. "If I’m on the road, I’ll order some spaghetti from room service. After a show I’ll eat anythinga burger, steak, fish, or more pasta!"

Isabella Boylston outside the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. (photo via The New Potato)

Boylston also dishes on her post-rehearsal routine, saying she doesn't work out much outside of the studio, but that she always makes sure to roll out her muscles with a foam roller and takes hot bubble baths with Epsom salts. And for curing those pre-show jitters? "My biggest pre-show ritual is listening to music and drinking coffee. I always get really nervous before a big show, so it helps me stay in a positive state of mind," she says. "Sometimes I take a hot shower at the last minute before I go onstage to get my blood going–and I give my rings to my dresser, Tomoko, for safekeeping."

Plus, Bolyston's biggest piece of advice: "Don’t limit yourself. You can do whatever you set your mind to, as long as you don’t let fear or worrying about your perceived shortcomings get in the way of working towards your goals."

Inspiring, right? Head over to The New Potato to read even more about the principal and have a fabulously motivated Monday!

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Everyone knows it's not only the steps or technique that make a ballerina memorable. It's the emotion—and the ability to tell a story—that truly captivates an audience. And American Ballet Theatre's latest video is here to help. It takes us inside this season's production of The Sleeping Beauty, complete with luscious footage of the ballet itself and a few wise words on really getting inside Aurora's head, straight from some of ballet's leading ladies.

Because let's face it, getting into character is easier said than done. I mean, it's a little tricky to relate to a princess who sleeps for 100 years when you can't even squeeze in a power nap. And who has time for a prince when you've got rehearsals? It takes a lot of focus and imagination to play a convincing character, especially in a fairy tale story like The Sleeping Beauty.

In the video, principal Gillian Murphy talks about all the famous Auroras she looks up to and says: "Be inspired by that huge history of iconic Auroras and ballerinas, but also you have to make it your own." Cassandra Trenary, a soloist, credits Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky with helping the dancers dive deep into their roles. "He (Ratmansky) is able to give you a story behind every single movement. Whether it's a variation or a pas de deux, you're not just taking your partner's hand. It's like, that's the love of your life! Just keep that in the back of your mind."

Note taken. So long story short, don't be afraid to ask your teacher or director for guidance if you're struggling, take inspiration from others who have played the role and always trust your gut to make your portrayal authentically you.

As for the production itself, this Sleeping Beauty is absolutely dreamy (pun intended)—principal Stella Abrera (also featured in the video) says it's "kind of like watching a very old painting from the Louvre slowly come to life." This "new meets old" ABT Ratmansky version of SB premiered last season, but if you missed it check out the video for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look. Or, see it live when it runs at the Met June 27-July 2!

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It's no secret that American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes is pretty much the poster boy for dancer #ManCandy. And if you need any more evidence, look no further than Lindi Ortega's music video for her latest track, "Ashes." Gomes plays one half of this love-torn couple, and Ortega's lyrics ("Why don't you come back to me? Don't leave me in the ashes of yor memory") plus Gomes' powerful moves are the perfect combo for #allthefeels. It's also no secret that we love dancer cameos in music vids, and this is a very welcome addition to the collection. We've rounded up some glorious GIFs, and be sure to check out the full video below!

 

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Behind-the-scenes ballet features are becoming the norm these days (and we're not complaining!). It's amazing to have access to rehearsals and classes (World Ballet Day, anyone?), pre-performance rituals and everything in between. The Wall Street Journal just upped the ante with its 360 "virtual reality" video, featuring American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane preparing dance Aurora in Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty. We're able to see literally everything, thanks to the video's "dragging" feature, which swivels the camera to reveal not only the rehearsal, but everything and everyone around it. Check it out below!

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