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Misty Copeland - Divided Views

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I wish there were ballet companies out there in which racial diversity is part of the aesthetic.

Cuban National Ballet has embraced diversity, and, IMO, is proof in training as the foundation from which to select dancers. I don't know if dark-skinnned women are weeded out along the way for that reason, though.

Also Complexions Contemporary Ballet, which is explicitly multi-cultural / diverse. From their "About" page:

It is artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson’s lifelong appreciation for the artistic & aesthetic appeal of the multicultural that forms the cornerstone of Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s singular approach to reinventing dance ... The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them.

Yes, I know, it's contemporary ballet and not purely classical ... but note that Monique Munier (formerly of both NYCB and ABT) danced with them for a time.

Alonso Kings' Lines Ballet and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet might fall into the same category, although their names don't telegraph multicultural in the way that Complexions' does.

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I have to break this up into multiple posts, since there are too many quotes for a single post.

I could argue against pretty much every promotion at PNB in one way or another and point to dancers I think are more deserving. Consensus is rare, and there are no perfect dancers: the greatest have said this about themselves. Any audience member or AD can find fault anywhere, and it's not surprising that her dancing is controversial when people here argue the minutia of every soloist.

Yes. Which I think reinforces my point racism might not be a cause here.

I don't think it does. I think it means there are a myriad of things that can obfuscate an AD's personal/professional preferences -- since we're discussing her progress with McKenzie, not American Idol -- acknowledged and hidden/subconscious.

The myth of a single narrow aesthetic is exploded in every ballet company I've ever seen. There are exceptions, and not just exceptions for the Principal dancers/stars. Karin von Aroldingen was muscular and gymnastic in her approach, but Balanchine took her in, as he took in and created great works for many tiny dancers. Martine van Hamel was tall and muscular. Cynthia Gregory was hardly a wisp. Veronika Part, as much as I love her, had noted technical issues when she first came to ABT. Every dancer, no matter how close to some ideal aesthetic he or she comes, is a trade-off.

Even in the Mariinsky: in their last City Center tour, there was one dancer who, in real life, would have been told by her mirror or her best friend to lose the stomach. I thought she was great in the modern rep they brought, but was off the charts for the company. I specifically watched the corps of the Bolshoi when I saw them in Berkeley in the late 00's, and I was surprised to see how many dancers weren't wisps and actually had noticeable calf muscles and, compared to the stereotypical ideal, irregular bodies. (They gave among the finest corps performances I've ever seen.) The Bolshoi took Vaganova top grad Zhiganshina, who was allegedly too fat for the Mariinsky. Even Paris Opera Ballet, which has probably the most uniform bodies has a few outliers, and these are the most rigid schools and companies with regard to body type, and even NYCB didn't come close even in Balanchine's last heyday.

Misty Copeland's body isn't that extreme onstage, and she's argued that within a group of highly trained elite dancers, the range of acceptable, in which exceptions are regularly made, shouldn't be the decisive factor. Given that the ballet world outside of Havana is overwhelmingly white, that means those exceptions are made regularly for white dancers who don't check all of the "aesthetically pleasing" boxes.

I don't think its news to black people that black dancers meet resistance in the ballet world. The message has been told a number of times before. The other half of the story is that she's been successful, in an age of social media where she can tell her story as she sees fit and not just wait until the NYT came calling, which is a big generational difference.

There has been discrimination so hers must be a case of discrimination as well?
I think she's made her case about *her* situation, even if someone during her training and early career made comments purely to test her mettle, like Branch Rickey to Jackie Robinson, given that she was going to hear about race at some point.

But shes also been successful in an age where most people oppose racism, and where opposing racism is, at least in polite society, mostly the accepted thing to do.

I'm not sure which news you're following, but I don't see any evidence that "most people oppose racism" when most people don't even recognize where it's been institutionalized, let alone unspoken and unexamined. The instances of black men killed by police and black mothers arrested for trying to get jobs while they have children just in the past few months have inspired virulently racist public commentary, to give just a few examples.

But as I see it, the issue is whether the resistance nowadays is because of skin color (racism) or because of a traditional aesthetic, and if the latter, whether resistance to expanding that aesthetic is racist.

How do you define traditional? Where is your line in the sand? Do you go back to when the great dancers, among the greatest of all time, were short and muscular and could do the petite allegro that Petipa choreographed before it was bastardized and with which today's dancers would struggle? Are we talking about Patricia Wilde, several of whose parts were dropped from ballets because no one else could do them justice? Are we talking about Gloria Govrin? Are we talking about the young Farrell? Are we talking about the great Kirov and Bolshoi ballerinas of the 40's-60's, who couldn't get into the Vaganova or Moscow academies today?

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Part two:

Few people have wanted to address that question, but its the question that the charge of racism clearly begs. Essentially what my criticism of Copeland comes down to is that she too has refused to acknowledge that question, but has gone the simplistic, sure-fire route to sympathy and support a route which tars unnamed people at ABT, putting any number of them under suspicion.

I don't know how saying that there should be a broader range of acceptable body types -- a range which is extended to white dancers of various shapes and sizes -- is "a simplistic, sure-fire route to sympathy and support." Nor do I think she's required to provide a list of names of all the people who commented rudely, to her face or within earshot, any more than white dancers do in memoirs, on podcasts, and in interviews when they talk about being discouraged by various teachers and administrators.

It's an athletic theme for athletic wear. I don't know why this would engender depression and poor self-esteem any more than Nike's "Just do it," and "I will what I want" is actually an accurate description of what most ballet dancers experience, as few become professionals without having to have great fortitude and discipline to adjust to puberty and growth spurts, injuries, mind-numbing competition, and constant scrutiny and criticism.

Because life will teach most everyone that they cant just will whatever they want, especially if what they want is a soloist spot with ABT. I think there are ways to encourage hard work, determination and self-esteem and hope without raising quite likely false hopes and fostering self-aggrandizement. But thats an argument not so much with Misty Copeland as with the culture at large.

Do you think that if Michael Jordan or Derek Jeter had made that ad and said, "I will what I want," that kids would think they could just go to the playground and become Michael Jordan, and when they found out otherwise, their delicate self-esteem would be shattered?

ABT could have made it very clear without being explicit ad getting themselves in legal trouble.

I think most of us are inclined to accept her story as *her story*: it's a memoir, not a legal brief.

I think in this day and age, people are primed to accept her particular story as truth.We hate racism. We sympathize with people who say they've been victimized by it, and we're inclined, by that sympathy, and for other good and bad reasons, to accept their stories at face value.

Who is "we"? From what I see in the world at large, "we" don't hate racism There wouldn't be the term "race card" if we believe everyone at face value if they they've been discriminated against because of race. There wouldn't be questions about whether Copeland was promoted to soloist simply because of race.

If "we" are people interested in ballet -- and Ballet Alert! shows that "we"'re not a monolith -- and all of the mostly white male artistic directors always act with the most sincere of intentions for the best of the art form, then Exhibit A wouldn't be the number of beautifully trained yet remarkably jobless dancers -- by Arthur Mitchell, by Tanaquil Le Clercq, by teachers trained by Karel Shook -- from Dance Theatre of Harlem when the company dissolved.

In the press, Copeland has essentially said that some people at ABT were racist. Were they to rebut that, I think theyd just draw further attention to her charge, and likewise without changing anyones mind. Their refusal to accept her understanding of events would be seen as doubling down on their racism.

If ABT claimed that no one on their staff ever treated Copeland different because of race, didn't accept her because of race, and never discouraged her because of race, they'd be a laughingstock, not to mention opening themselves to legal action. ABT is a big place with a lot of people of various backgrounds and whose opinions are shaped by background and experience.

Teaching them nuanced and charitable thinking Although I want to change the tradition, I can see its not designed to keep you and me out would have been a real service.

A service to whom?

Er, I think learning nuanced and charitable thinking would be good for anyone, no?
One person's "charitable thinking" is another's "Yessuh, Yessum."

abatt wrote:

This is not the only online source which has raised issues regarding Copeland. Since it is the policy here not to mention other blogs or boards, I will not make a specific ID. The discussion here on Ballet Alert has been extremely civilized and respectful compared to elsewhere.

You can say that again. Thank you to Alexandra for establishing that tone and to the board moderators for reinforcing it.

The author's quote was "murmurings, on some online dance-discussion threads, that she has been excessively promoted within A.B.T. because of her race," and while I think this is a too-mild description of our discussion, it couldn't possibly apply to the sites to which abatt is comparing ours.

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Helene wrote:

I think it means there are a myriad of things that can obfuscate an AD's personal/professional preferences -- since we're discussing her progress with McKenzie, not American Idol -- acknowledged and hidden/subconscious.
She hasn’t named McKenzie as holding her back, but no argument here that we're all moved by the subconscious.

The myth of a single narrow aesthetic is exploded in every ballet company I've ever seen.
Misty Copeland's body isn't that extreme onstage, and she's argued that within a group of highly trained elite dancers, the range of acceptable, in which exceptions are regularly made, shouldn't be the decisive factor.
She’s a soloist who’s just danced Swan Lake, so she appears to be winning the argument.
I think she's made her case about *her* situation,
I fail to see how one person’s account of a situation proves a case. I think there are reasons to suspect it’s true and, reasons to question it.
I don't see any evidence that "most people oppose racism" when most people don't even recognize where it's been institutionalized, let alone unspoken and unexamined.

My point is that where it’s recognized, it’s largely opposed, especially in the arts world, and where it’s not opposed, it’s a hate that dares not speak its name in decent society.

The instances of black men killed by police and black mothers arrested for trying to get jobs while they have children just in the past few months have inspired virulently racist public commentary, to give just a few examples.
Comments which have been widely vilified in serious and respectable circles.
We can talk about exceptions all day, but they are exceptions. (Although, in Copeland’s argument's favor, according to The New Yorker she had a perfect ballet body for years. It’s also interesting that in that article, when she says “People will say, ‘Isn’t it really about class, not race?”, she answers them in part by saying that “I can see now how I was so well supported, even in my low times, but I don’t know if I ever felt like I belonged.” She doesn’t say, “some people made me feel I didn’t belong.” This was a chance to say that straight out, if it’s what she believes. Instead she acknowledges, to her credit, the support she did get, and for the “but” cites her feelings, not someone’s actual words or actions. Perhaps she’s just being delicate, because it seems a curious non-sequitur of a rebuttal).
I don't know how saying that there should be a broader range of acceptable body types -- a range which is extended to white dancers of various shapes and sizes -- is "a simplistic, sure-fire route to sympathy and support."
Any call for diversity is popular today. But what I was actually talking about is the racism charge. People’s hearts go out to victims.
Nor do I think she's required to provide a list of names of all the people who commented rudely, to her face or within earshot, any more than white dancers do in memoirs, on podcasts, and in interviews when they talk about being discouraged by various teachers and administrators.
Required doesn’t enter into it. We always have the option of treating people as we’d like to be treated ourselves.
Do you think that if Michael Jordan or Derek Jeter had made that ad and said, "I will what I want," that kids would think they could just go to the playground and become Michael Jordan, and when they found out otherwise, their delicate self-esteem would be shattered?
I said nothing about delicate self-esteem, nor does my argument depend on its existence.
Who is "we"? From what I see in the world at large, "we" don't hate racism There wouldn't be the term "race card" if we believe everyone at face value if they they've been discriminated against because of race. There wouldn't be questions about whether Copeland was promoted to soloist simply because of race.
The questions are within the ballet community though, by what seems to be a minority of people who’ve followed her career – not the larger book-buying, ad-watching public she has successfully appealed to. Copeland has been the subject of how many positive, sympathetic stories (and this issue aside, well deserves them), and how many that even questioned her view? That’s what I’m talking about. What media outlet would dare to question it? I just googled “Misty Copeland FOX News.” Even Fox gave her a glowing, no-questions-asked portrayal.
If "we" are people interested in ballet -- and Ballet Alert! shows that "we"'re not a monolith -- and all of the mostly white male artistic directors always act with the most sincere of intentions for the best of the art form,
Again, I said nothing about “always.” I wrote on page 10 of this 14-page thread you apparently haven’t had time yet to memorize and inwardly digest that
“Racism exists, so it’s quite possible Copeland faced it at ABT. But we also know that arts organizations tend to be progressive, which is to say that they’re filled with people who, if they have a conscious or unconscious bias in regards to race, have one in favor of black dancers – for obvious good reasons, they want black dancers to succeed. It stands to reason that while Copeland may have met the first reaction [ . . . ]she also met the second.
One person's "charitable thinking" is another's "Yessuh, Yessum."
I'm afraid that's just the kind of response ABT would face if they engaged the issue. Just why they’d be unwise to do so.

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

I'm not a Copeland fan (I will truly be disappointed if she is made a principal) but I'm also not a Hee Seo fan. KM's thinking has always been a mystery to me. The unfortunate thing is that this discussion has arisen because there are so few African American dancers in major US companies. I really think the problem is there are too few African American ballet students in the pipe line. If you take all the kids who started studying ballet in say 2013, The chances for any one of them to get into a major company are tiny, tiny, tiny, never mind becoming a principal dancer. If you don't have a lot of African American kids taking ballet and having access to good training, this discussion will go on and on when one rises to the top (or near top).

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I don't believe the comparisons above of Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan and Viola Davis to Misty are apt.

Thanks for posting that clip of her and Hammoudi.

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I somehow missed this thread altogether. I was searching for a place to post the new "New Yorker" profile of Misty Copeland, and I think I've found the source of what Rivka Galchen describes as "murmurings, on some online dance-discussion threads, that she has been excessively promoted within A.B.T. because of her race..."

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/unlikely-ballerina

for being unable to 'prove' what is, after all, often going to be subject to interpretation (gee, Alicia Graf IS prone to injury),

Darci Kistler was prone to injury, too, and she was allowed to receive her salary for over a decade (at least) of questionable performances as a result of her injuries. (I'm not sure which would have been worse: getting ca salary without dancing -- Balanchine famously kept the non-dancing Kent on the payroll so she could feed her children after her husband snorted everything she had earned-- or getting paid for substandard dancing.) When a company wants to make exceptions -- and NYCB did for several years for Kathryn Morgan, or Martins did against board objections -- it does, and the exception was made when Morgan *was* injured, not when she *might* be injured. She was only rejected after she had been away, and from recent videos she's made, before she was in shape and is still a question mark after being off the stage for several years.

There was a time at NYCB where Graf's height would have been considered great asset, and I wished that PNB had snatched her up.

I hope it was clear in context that the point I was trying to make was connected exactly to what you are saying here...that is I was trying to ventriloquize the kind of objections that tend to be raised (not just to Copleland), but to many people who try to raise these issues which as a result makes the issues all but impossible to raise in a way that does NOT lead to extended doubts and/or criticisms sometimes directed at the person raising them. It's not that people don't have a right to raise their doubts and criticisms, but I think you can see certain patterns in ways of putting people who try to address institutional racism, in particular, on the defensive--when, in my judgment, they shouldn't be. (As far as Graf goes--my post opened by saying I had always thought it was a shame NYCB or ABT had not hired her (though of course I was not privy to their reasons).)

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I totally agree, Drew, and I apologize for quoting you in a way that makes it seem like it was your opinion. I've edited it to clarify.

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

I don't think that someone can simply market their way to the top - McKenzie obviously saw something in her dancing that earned her the promotion. Also, the media attention surrounding Misty is fairly recent (in the last 2-3 years). If I'm not mistaken, she was promoted to soloist back in 2007. The media attention followed her promotion, not the other way around.

This is not the only online source which has raised issues regarding Copeland. Since it is the policy here not to mention other blogs or boards, I will not make a specific ID. The discussion here on Ballet Alert has been extremely civilized and respectful compared to elsewhere.

I have read passing criticism of her in other places, but most of the discussion about her in the mainstream press is very positive - and even glowing.

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

I don't think that someone can simply market their way to the top - McKenzie obviously saw something in her dancing that earned her the promotion. Also, the media attention surrounding Misty is fairly recent (in the last 2-3 years). If I'm not mistaken, she was promoted to soloist back in 2007. The media attention followed her promotion, not the other way around.

Misty has always been sponsored by the wealthy Manhattan socialite, Susan Fales Hill. In order to cultivate these sponsors, Kevin always promotes and features the sponsored dancer. I believe that it why Misty was promoted, IMO.

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This thread makes me wonder where would Virginia Johnson, or any principle woman from Dance Theater of Harlem's glory days, fit into the current ballet world.

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

I don't think that someone can simply market their way to the top - McKenzie obviously saw something in her dancing that earned her the promotion. Also, the media attention surrounding Misty is fairly recent (in the last 2-3 years). If I'm not mistaken, she was promoted to soloist back in 2007. The media attention followed her promotion, not the other way around.

Misty has always been sponsored by the wealthy Manhattan socialite, Susan Fales Hill. In order to cultivate these sponsors, Kevin always promotes and features the sponsored dancer. I believe that it why Misty was promoted, IMO.

This is getting into slander, in my opinion.

For all the (outraged) talk on this board about Stella Abrera not being promoted further or getting enough featured roles, she too has a sponsor.

If he really gives all the plum roles to dancers with sponsors, and features them. How do you explain this.

Furthermore the number of dancers who have sponsors would seem to preclude the kind of illicit, dirty, under-the-table back-scratching you are describing (I was going to say implying but you did more than imply)

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IMO, if Misty were white , did not have wealthy sponsors, and was not a relentless self promoter, she'd still be in the corps.

I don't think that someone can simply market their way to the top - McKenzie obviously saw something in her dancing that earned her the promotion. Also, the media attention surrounding Misty is fairly recent (in the last 2-3 years). If I'm not mistaken, she was promoted to soloist back in 2007. The media attention followed her promotion, not the other way around.

McKenzie is quite complimentary of her in the New Yorker, saying that, like all dancers, Copeland needed "life experience" to be ready for lead roles, but that she

could have done these same roles - technically - ten years ago

He clearly saw something in her dancing way back.

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Have been following this thread. I did not see anyone post this yet. If someone has done so, I apologize. Please feel free to delete. To be honest, I am at work and have not listened to the whole interview. Skipped straight to performance clips.

http://az32167.vo.msecnd.net/media-release-videos/ABT-Misty-Copeland-Swan-Lake-VNR-20140904.mp4

Thank you for posting this video. From the small fragments that are shown of Misty dancing Odette/Odile I see that she is more of a natural Odile. However the Odette is strong, womanly but vulnerable and probably is still developing. There is considerable achievement, more than I had predicted, as well as great potential. Definitely she seems to have the technique and the positive reviews from Australia didn't note any technical shortcomings. There is a kind of authority in her performing that I don't see in Hammoudi who in the little transitional bits we see looks like he is just trying to keep it all together without mishap.

Misty has been at ABT for over ten years and certainly has paid her dues. Whatever thinking was behind her casting (which we are not privy to and any theories are just supposition), she seems to have delivered the goods on the stage. May I also mention that Stella Abrera is also a non-Caucasian dancer? (though Asian and Filipino dancers may fit more easily into the conventional traditional ballet image and aesthetic of the classical ballerina than African-Americans). Also Misty's interview did not make direct accusations of racism but talked about racial profiling. The idea that African-American dancers can dance Tharp, Paul Taylor or Ailey pieces but aren't "right" for the Petipa classics. Also that African-American dancers have internalized this stereotyping by avoiding classical ballet.

I need to see Misty's entire "Swan Lake" in the theater to make a final critical judgment. But I would say that these clips make me very eager to see her dance Odette/Odile in New York.

Also may I mention that any publicity given to classical art forms such as classical ballet, now very much marginalized in today's media and absent from television, is beneficial to the art form. So Misty bringing her story and her persona to the public generates interest and is beneficial to the art form. In the interview, Misty was articulate and not bitter and mentioned that everything that she is, opportunities that came to her and successes she has achieved have all come through ballet. Racism was not stressed but overcoming racial stereotypes and promoting diversity were the main theme. I don't see how any of this is bad.

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Also may I mention that any publicity given to classical art forms such as classical ballet, now very much marginalized in today's media and absent from television, is beneficial to the art form. So Misty bringing her story and her persona to the public generates interest and is beneficial to the art form. In the interview, Misty was articulate and not bitter and mentioned that everything that she is, opportunities that came to her and successes she has achieved have all come through ballet. Racism was not stressed but overcoming racial stereotypes and promoting diversity were the main theme. I don't see how any of this is bad.

I also don't see how anything happening in her career is bad for ballet.

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I've never understood why any advancement in Misty's career is frequently seen as an affront to Stella Abrera or Sarah Lane.

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In response to Tapfan, every role that goes to one soloist means that another soloist is shut out of the chance to dance the role. It's a zero sum game at ABT. One person's gain is another person's loss in that company. There are very limited chances for any soloist to advance, so the casting of one soloist in a lead role effectively kills the chances that a different soloist will be selected to dance the role. That's why the casting of Misty as O/O is seen as an "affront" to Stella and Sarah, especially if factors other than merit were taken into consideration in the decision to cast Misty in SL. This isn't Coppelia,in which the leads are often cast with soloists. This is a major Petipa ballet that is a stepping stone for advancement to principal. The fact that Misty was chosen over Sarah, Stella is highly significant.

The video appears to be significantly sliced and diced. It's quite difficult to make any kind of reasoned judgment based on the sliced and diced segments, which presumably were chosen to make Misty look as good as possible. It appears that whoever edited the video didn't really give a darn what Hammoudi looked like, I agree that Hammoudi looks like he is hanging on for dear life in the video. Who edited the video? Has anyone found a continuous, unedited segment on youtube?

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But isn't merit really subjective in this case? I have read opinions of others who are not untutored in classical ballet, and they happen to like Copeland as a dancer.

I honestly don't believe that if Stella and Sarah were so vastly superior to Copeland, her presence could hold them back.

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In response to Tapfan, every role that goes to one soloist means that another soloist is shut out of the chance to dance the role. It's a zero sum game at ABT. One person's gain is another person's loss in that company. There are very limited chances for any soloist to advance, so the casting of one soloist in a lead role effectively kills the chances that a different soloist will be selected to dance the role. That's why the casting of Misty as O/O is seen as an "affront" to Stella and Sarah, especially if factors other than merit were taken into consideration in the decision to cast Misty in SL. This isn't Coppelia,in which the leads are often cast with soloists. This is a major Petipa ballet that is a stepping stone for advancement to principal. The fact that Misty was chosen over Sarah, Stella is highly significant.

Well, if there are so few opportunities for soloists to take on principal roles, isn't that the fault of Kevin McKenzie and ABT management? Therefore the blame goes on them rather than on Misty? Was Misty not supposed to accept this opportunity/challenge? I agree that Sarah and Stella deserve the opportunity to dance Giselle and Swan Lake at ABT, but denying them that opportunity in favor of Misty is Kevin McKenzie's doing. Also a dancer's career is short and Misty has already been dancing for over 10 years and is 32 years old. Her time is now or never (as it is for Sarah Lane who is the same age and Stella who is a few years older). The fact is, Misty took on the challenge and in the view of the critics, succeeded.

Again, if ABT had taught Stella and Sarah Odette/Odile in the McKenzie ABT production then they would not have been forced to put on Hee Seo on for two consecutive performances this past June 27 and 28th. Even given the fragmentary nature of the video it clearly shows that Misty Copeland is a superior Odette/Odile to Hee Seo who was granted the first cast opening night performance in Australia.

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I've never understood why any advancement in Misty's career is frequently seen as an affront to Stella Abrera or Sarah Lane.

It's not just Copeland: it's every company and every role and every promotion and every matinee vs. evening vs. opening vs. the less prestigious night when the dancer is given an opportunity. There's a scarcity of everything, and, by definition, anyone who gets something blocks someone else from it. When there are dancers at the same level vying for the same thing, particularly that elusive promotion from Soloist to Principal -- and, in Paris, to Etoile -- it's a vigorously and passionately argued battle among many fans. Every promotion, every casting, every bit of scheduling means something. It could mean lack of foresight on the company's part, limited resources, the impacts of illnesses and injuries, lack of healthy suitable partners, rep choices that limit opportunities or lock dancers into types of roles and/or rep, -- or it may be, as Merrill Ashley posited in her book, that she was held back because Balanchine linked her with Colleen Neary and Christine Redpath and wanted to give them all a chance to progress together, which never happened -- but, on the other hand, it may mean that the AD sees the dancer that way in comparison to the others, rewarding virtues that are either not comprehensible or not as important as those seen in others.

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I can only speak for myself but I can't view one matinee performance . . . on an overseas tour . . . in Australia's third largest city . . . as representing some kind of grave injustice, especially given how this one performance stands in stark relief to ABT's 75 year history in this regard.

As others have noted, Misty getting an opportunity to perform the lead in Swan Lake didn't cost Stella Abrera or Sarah Lane a thing. Even if McKenzie hadn't cast Copeland, he was never going to give that matinee to Abrera or Lane. As FauxPas noted, that handwriting has been on the wall since McKenzie cast Hee Seo (Hee Seo!!!) for two back-to-back Swan Lakes in the Spring. If there's blame to be apportioned, it should all go to the artistic director.

As for Copeland exerting some kind of deleterious effect on the company with her public/published comments, I would put those far down the list after other deleterious things, including adjusting the repertory to accommodate an aged Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera stagnating artistically, McKenzie casting Seo in roles for which she is clearly unsuited, Veronika Part relegated to matinees, bringing in Polina Semionova over promoting an internal candidate, and even promoting Isabella Boylston over Abrera.

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FauxPas wrote:

Misty was articulate and not bitter and mentioned that everything that she is, opportunities that came to her and successes she has achieved have all come through ballet. Racism was not stressed but overcoming racial stereotypes and promoting diversity were the main theme.

She told the Daily Mail that

I think that the reason [it's hard for black women to break in] is the racism and not wanting to change this very traditional art form that has been successful in the way it is for so long
Since she says “reason,” singular, she seems to see the two things that follow as one and the same. In other words, traditionalists are racists. Now granted, traditionalism can be a cover for racism (among other things), but she just equates the two, plain and simple.
Tapfan wrote:
I also don't see how anything happening in her career is bad for ballet.
I don’t remember anyone here disagreeing with the idea that, all things being equal, diversity is good for ballet. Seems like an no-brainer we can all agree on.

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