California, on 31 January 2013 - 12:27 PM, said:
I like Misty's dancing, but she seems to be the most aggressive self-promoter in the dance ranks today -- Dr. Pepper, modelling, books, lots of Twitter, etc. Is this the best way to get MacKenzie's attention for more/better roles and promotion? Is she trying to make up for her late start (age-wise) in ballet? Does this reflect her southern California home environment, where aggressive self-promotion is the norm in the entertainment industry? No matter how well-organized she is, this has to be taking time away from serious coaching and the hard work it takes to get ahead and be promoted to principal, at ABT (or elsewhere?). I'm curious if others have the same impression.
I disagree with labeling Misty "the most aggressive self-promoter". Of course, I don't know first hand what her intentions are or not, but to me I see her various activities as merely taking advantage of digital media and the growing interest in dance these days (dance on its own and using dance in media) for other reasons than getting promoted to Principal. It's a chance to make some more money which, let's face it, most dancers could use (even a soloist with ABT), plus she's spoken many times in interviews about her wanting to be a positive role-model for minority girls who want to study or pursue ballet as a career, especially African-American girls. Being in a commercial for a well-known product (with her voice-over talking about the Boys and Girls club and making ballet accessible to "everyone") certainly puts her face out there for hopeful minority girls. How often do we see images of professional minority ballerinas? I have a feeling that she's been sought out aggressively to BE this role model. The time is ripe for it. Also, she has come across to me in her interviews as not only well-spoken but very smart and self-aware. So, I don't get the impression that her media activities are an attempt to get promoted - I think she's smart enough to know that that won't do it.
Though I agree that she seems to be the most visible these days, other dancers, as Helene has mentioned, have also been exploring media and other outlets over the years. Julie Kent was a print model for Coach many years back. Daniil Simkin is a prolific Twitter user, as are many other dancers. Alex Wong (from Miami City Ballet) and Danny Tidwell (from ABT) were on So You Think You Can Dance
several seasons ago. That exposure arguably worked well for Alex who developed quite a following and who went on to become part of the Newsies Broadway cast.
I think it's something to consider that most of us (dancers and non-dancers) realize that we live in a media-driven world, for better or for worse. It can be worth your while to jump on the bandwagon no matter what your profession is. And, for dancers who have such short careers, getting involved in different mediums/areas now while they're still at the height of their performing career, can bode well for them when it comes time to retire and they already have other "career" experience in something else, whether that be in writing books, modeling, digital media, etc. Opportunities for retired dancers have expanded vastly in the past several years. No longer is coaching and teaching the only route, especially for women. Ellen Bar, who was a soloist with NYCB, started getting involved with film-making before she retired and was able to transition immediately to NYCB's director of media projects upon leaving the stage.
Perhaps all of Misty's ventures are just a way to do more now than simply performing. I don't think it makes her any less committed to her craft (not now anyway). Who knows - she may realize that her chance of being promoted are nil, so she's going to do the best with what she has now and make the most of any other opportunities that come her way.