Dance Trailblazer Misty Copeland Passes On Inspirational Message During Visit To Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — She is a trailblazer in the world of dance, and she’s also a role model to thousands of women across the country.

Misty Copeland made a stop in Pittsburgh this week where she talked to young girls about her career and accomplishments.

It was standing-room only at Hill House’s Kaufman Auditorium. A packed house and many were young girls who all want to be just like Misty Copeland.

As the first African American principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theater, she has inspired an entire generation.

“It’s become more than just being a dancer for me,” said Copeland. “What sports and art do to influence change in the world is really big, and so, I feel like it’s my responsibility as a black woman to represent us in the best way and to be able open doors for the next generation.”

Copeland never planned to be a trailblazer in the world of dance, but realizes now it was a calling that was far greater than she could have imagined.

“When I took my first ballet class, it was the first time I felt powerful, confident and alive. Never experienced that and I knew there was no way I could continue without having it in my life,” she says.

And a lot has happened since.

A backup dancer for Prince, to generating new interest in Classical dance, Copeland has come a long way. The author of several books, a Disney movie in the works, and making diversity in the world of classical dance is a top priority.

“It’s important for people to see that I’m a real person to be able to go to different communities and share my story, my experiences. I just think it’s important to have someone that our youth can look up to, but now is a real person, can make mistakes, and has come from troubled times and has persevered,” Copeland said.

Copeland works hard to protect what she calls her instrument – her body – in part because she knows little girls are watching and getting messages about their own body images.

“I am trying to move away from the concept that all ballerinas have to be stick thin, have blond hair and white skin. That you can still accomplish that goal of being in a theater and bringing people together and making people feel emotions and still be healthy,” she said.

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