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Misty Copeland

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I mean, Nuryev was on The Muppets twice in the 70's doing skits with Miss Piggy at the height of his career! I imagine so-called balletomanes would be outraged by this nowadays and consider it lowly and self-promotion.

As a Muppet fan, I like to think that all of those participants met as equals -- renown in their individual fields.

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Nureyev didn't have to promote himself; he was asked because he was already a huge star. Copeland did have to promote herself, if she wanted attention outside of the ballet world at that stage in her career, and she did it in part by making a claim - first black ABT soloist - she either knew or had every reason to know wasn't true. But she gets a pass because . . . ?

So? David Hallberg was afforded many interviews like the Colbert Report not on his dancing, but based on being "The First American At the Bolshoi". And Misty hardly begged, for instance, Prince to be on his tour. He reached out to her first and asked. It wasn't due other " self promotion". Why everybody else gets a pass for these things and not Misty is because...?

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The disdain for SYTYCD annoys me. Not all of us were exposed to the arts as children/by our families. I had never seen classical ballet until SYTYCD, now I'm so addicted I traveled across an ocean to see the Royal Ballet. Because of SYTYCD. Think of me what you will.

I think it's awesome when dancers are brought into the mainstream. It opens it up to folks who may just stick around and become subscribers/donors.

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So? David Hallberg was afforded many interviews like the Colbert Report not on his dancing, but based on being "The First American At the Bolshoi".

Which he wasn't either.

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Which he wasn't either.

Yet people hardly ever call him or his media team out on it, as much as they do with Misty. I wonder why...

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So? David Hallberg was afforded many interviews like the Colbert Report not on his dancing, but based on being "The First American At the Bolshoi". And Misty hardly begged, for instance, Prince to be on his tour. He reached out to her first and asked. It wasn't due other " self promotion". Why everybody else gets a pass for these things and not Misty is because...?

Hallberg didn't publish a self-glorifying book. Nor are he and his "media team" - if in fact he has one - selling anything. No one objects to Copeland being on Prince's tour. Do you object to her not telling the truth?

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Do you call out everyone who calls Jackie Robinson the first black player in a professional white league as a liar? There's a difference between not telling the truth/lying and being mistaken.

Copeland wrote a book for a Simon and Schuster imprint. My experience in the publishing world is not recent, but my friends still there assure me that while copy-editing and fact-checking at major publishing houses aren't what they used to be, they still exists. If there were factual errors in her manuscript, then her publisher is partly responsible for putting them in print.

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Hallberg didn't publish a self-glorifying book. Nor are he and his "media team" - if in fact he has one - selling anything. No one objects to Copeland being on Prince's tour. Do you object to her not telling the truth?

Per his website:

management:

festspiel@aol.com

Peter Diggins Assoc.

133 West 71st Street

Suite 8-B

New York City, NY 10023 USA

+1 (212) 874.4534

Of course Hallberg is selling something. Himself. He's not doing interviews and television appearances talking about himself "just cuz". Like Misty not being the first black female soloist at ABT, Hallberg is not the first American at the Bolshoi. Yet it's been tagged ad nauseum in the press, and not corrected by Hallberg when said to his face. Do you object to Hallberg not telling the truth?

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Do you call out everyone who calls Jackie Robinson the first black player in a professional white league as a liar? There's a difference between not telling the truth/lying and being mistaken.

Copeland wrote a book for a Simon and Schuster imprint. My experience in the publishing world is not recent, but my friends still there assure me that while copy-editing and fact-checking at major publishing houses aren't what they used to be, they still exists. If there were factual errors in her manuscript, then her publisher is partly responsible for putting them in print.

In other words, while Copeland wrote the book, if she said something that's not true, it's her publisher's fault, not hers. And how could she and her people not know such a central claim wasn't true? How long had she been in the company? Are her people not professionals?

I don't know if that error is in her book or not, but she told it to an L.A. reporter. Is that her publisher's fault too? It was also on her wikipedia page, which one has to assume she was responsible for, or at least read. No one is willing to criticize Copeland here for not telling the truth?

If Hallberg let a falsehood pass without correcting it, Plisskin, yes I object to it, although I'll note that he's not selling a triumph-over-victimization story, and was a star before the Bolshoi. But you didn't answer my question, so I'll ask you again: Do you object to Copeland not telling the truth?

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I will object to Copeland making the claim if she was unaware that it was not true and continued to make the claim. I do not object to her making mistakes, any more than I object to Hallberg making his mistake.

I do not otherwise distinguish between the two mistakes, regardless of anyone else's characterization of Copeland's as a victim's story or Hallberg's status, star or not.

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Comparing Nureyev to Copeland has to be the most outrageous snippet I've read in a long time. Copeland is nowhere near his league. Nor is she in the same league with old ABT stars such as Gregory, Kirkland, Van Hamel or Makarova.

And to say that you can't tell excellence from a film clip is false. Just take a look at any clip of the above mentioned dancers than take a look at what Copeland's PR team has released. If anyone claims that can't see the difference, they are lying. Copeland isn't even in the same league as Virginia Johnson who danced a glorious Giselle at Dance Theater of Harlem. But her principal status doesn't count because?

All of these dancers I,and most people, know from their dancing. I know Copeland mainly by her bellyaching and her naked attempts to force her way into principal status.

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Of course Hallberg is selling himself but the to my mind there is a difference. He was a principal in ABT & international star in the ballet world when he joined the Bolshoi all the publicity & interviews started. He was selling himself but his product was really his dancing. Copeland's self promotion has a different aspect. It feels like she is using her PR machine to get promoted to principal and many who have seen her dance, myself included, don't see her as principal material. However it is not so simple. If her media presence brings new audience members to ballet and girls of color into a ballet studio it is a good thing.

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I will object to Copeland making the claim if she was unaware that it was not true and continued to make the claim. I do not object to her making mistakes, any more than I object to Hallberg making his mistake.

Copeland, her team, or both(?) have corrected their mistake in crowning her the first black female soloist at ABT. Now they are touting her as the first black female soloist in two decades, which is correct. I'm not sure when they made this correction. Maybe in the past 1-2 years? Not sure.

kfw, I do object to Copeland if she is lying. However, I am unaware what she is lying about. All I've seen are speculations that her story in her autobiography is a lie by anonymous internet users on forums and blogs whom dislike her for her "self promotion" and "stealing roles" from Stella and Sarah. I do also object to the double standards exhibited with Misty. If some are going to get mad about her being promoted as "The First Black Soloist" or "The First Black Soloist in Two Decades" or what have you, then that needs to be across the board for all dancers. Which it is not. Another dancer that comes to mind is Joy Womack. "First American to Graduate from the Bolshoi Acadamy" was constantly used in her interviews. However she is not, and their was hardly this level of vitriol aimed at Joy, Hallberg, and other dancers for this mistake like there is for Misty.

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Comparing Nureyev to Copeland has to be the most outrageous snippet I've read in a long time. Copeland is nowhere near his league. Nor is she in the same league with old ABT stars such as Gregory, Kirkland, Van Hamel or Makarova.

And to say that you can't tell excellence from a film clip is false. Just take a look at any clip of the above mentioned dancers than take a look at what Copeland's PR team has released. If anyone claims that can't see the difference, they are lying. Copeland isn't even in the same league as Virginia Johnson who danced a glorious Giselle at Dance Theater of Harlem. But her principal status doesn't count because?

All of these dancers I,and most people, know from their dancing. I know Copeland mainly by her bellyaching and her naked attempts to force her way into principal status.

The newspaper of record is just one of the many sources that have said that DTH wasn't and isn't a major company.

And once again, folks have to go all the way back to a long-retired black female dancer to compare to Misty.

That's what makes me question how much some ballet fans actually know about classical dancers who happen to black females. Btw, Virginia wants Misty to be promoted and has said so repeatedly.

Also, way to miss the point. Nobody, not even Misty's staunchest defenders, compared her skills or artistry to Nureyev's.

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Jackie Robinson gets credit for being the first black player in the modern MLB era. His importance is in no way diminished because he wasn't the very first.

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No, Tapfan

There are plenty of black ballet dancers now who are more deserving than Copeland. Courtney Lavine is 10x her worth. If she was promoted straight to principal, I would have no doubts as to her ability to dance well. And she would be the politically correct choice that everyone seems to be demanding. Copeland is inept in everything but her marketing.

As far as defending Copeland by other dancers, she has herself beyond reproach now since she is on TV almost everywhere you look crying martyr. What dancer would shoot themselves in the foot by critiquing her honestly?

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I will object to Copeland making the claim if she was unaware that it was not true and continued to make the claim. I do not object to her making mistakes, any more than I object to Hallberg making his mistake.

I do not otherwise distinguish between the two mistakes, regardless of anyone else's characterization of Copeland's as a victim's story or Hallberg's status, star or not.

The distinction is that Copeland is selling herself as a groundbreaker. The false claim is almost at the heart of her story. Also, Hallberg didn't even speak Russian when he went over there. It's much, much easier to believe his was an honest mistake than that hers was.

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Copeland, her team, or both(?) have corrected their mistake in crowning her the first black female soloist at ABT. Now they are touting her as the first black female soloist in two decades, which is correct. I'm not sure when they made this correction. Maybe in the past 1-2 years? Not sure.

kfw, I do object to Copeland if she is lying. However, I am unaware what she is lying about. All I've seen are speculations that her story in her autobiography is a lie by anonymous internet users on forums and blogs whom dislike her for her "self promotion" and "stealing roles" from Stella and Sarah. I do also object to the double standards exhibited with Misty.

People generally drop false claims when they're exposed as such. It's just possible Copeland didn't know it was false, but like I said, it seems unlikely. Copeland said she was ABT's first black soloist. Her wikipedia page said the same.

If some are going to get mad about her being promoted as "The First Black Soloist" or "The First Black Soloist in Two Decades" or what have you, then that needs to be across the board for all dancers. Which it is not. Another dancer that comes to mind is Joy Womack. "First American to Graduate from the Bolshoi Acadamy" was constantly used in her interviews. However she is not, and their was hardly this level of vitriol aimed at Joy, Hallberg, and other dancers for this mistake like there is for Misty.

A fair comparison, but I know next to nothing about Womack, and we don't have an active thread about her anyhow, so I haven't commented.

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If there were "plenty" of black ballerinas, we wouldn't have been having many conversations about the dearth of black ballerinas, and AD's would say, "What are you talking about: look at our schools and rosters," instead of, "We'd love to, but there aren't any we can hire or in the school pipeline."

You may prefer Lavine, but you haven't compared or contrasted their dancing, and if I understand you correctly, you are judging Copeland by short YouTube clips. You may believe that this is valid, but, because this is a public forum, readers will take this into consideration when giving weight to your opinions, just like everything else posted here.

As far as dancers criticizing their peers, it so rarely happens publicly that we avidly await bios to get those rare snippets.

Copeland is a ground breaker in any case, just as Hallberg is, and just as Womack is. (I believe Womack is the first American to graduate with a red diploma, the equivalent of summa cum laude. A quick search on Womack brings up two pages of threads, including Links pages with interviews and news, including one dedicated to her when she graduated from the Bolshoi. She left the Bolshoi, asserting she was told to prostitute herself to a sponsor to get ahead.) They were not ground breakers in the way they first claimed. If anything, Hallberg's mistake is simply self-aggrandizing, while being the first black female soloists in two decades supports her claims about the difficulties black ballerinas have faced.

There are rules governing who can write and edit Wkipedia pages, and Wikipedia frowns upon people who are involved from doing so. Chances are, the info on Wikipedia is sourced to the original error, and the original author has moved on. There's nothing to stop you from making that correction.

Not knowing Russian is no better reason for David Hallberg to not know of other American dancers who danced with the Bolshoi any more than for Copeland not to know of other black Soloist ballerinas. Ballet history is sadly sparse and generally transmitted orally.

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Of course Hallberg is selling himself but the to my mind there is a difference. He was a principal in ABT & international star in the ballet world when he joined the Bolshoi all the publicity & interviews started. He was selling himself but his product was really his dancing. Copeland's self promotion has a different aspect. It feels like she is using her PR machine to get promoted to principal and many who have seen her dance, myself included, don't see her as principal material.

Indeed. Hallberg was a star dancer and the publicity, or at least the opportunity for it, came to him. Copeland has made herself a star through her self-publicizing, not her dancing. If she'd waited to publish until she'd been made principal, it's unlikely this thread would be nearing 40 pages.

However it is not so simple. If her media presence brings new audience members to ballet and girls of color into a ballet studio it is a good thing.

That's for sure.

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A fair comparison, but I know next to nothing about Womack, and we don't have an active thread about her anyhow, so I haven't commented.

There have been discussions of Womack on this board, and some did take her to task for the "first" claims typically assigned to her, but no, the discussions were nowhere near this lengthy.

Hallberg was a star dancer and the publicity, or at least the opportunity for it, came to him.

He also has a publicist, who, presumably, works to generate publicity.

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Hallberg got his publicity/ journalist wanting to interview him for, like all of the tag lines have said, being the first principal dancer American with a top Russian company. Not his dancing. When it initially happened it was very evident that it was more about him switching to a Russian company (a country who has been at odds with the U.S. for decades) when for so long it was the other way around (Nuryev, Baryshnikov, Makarova). I remember Colbert even jokingly called him a turn coat and Benedict Arnold. If he joined the Royal, ENB or some smaller Russian company in Novosibirsk he'd hardly be invited on talk shows and sit down interviews with The Washington Post and New York Times (eg. Joseph Phillips). There are many star dancers in the ballet world. But they are not known outside of that and granted a plethora of interviews and engagements due to not having a, for lack of a better word, "gimmick" or commercially interesting story to sell them to the masses and make them interesting.

Edit: Besides being signed to a management company he has a publicist too? Well then, I think that puts to rest that all of those offers presumably fell in his lap with no effort on his part.

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What;s missing in all this is the fact that Misty's self-promotion could have just as easily backfired. Ask Suzanne Farrell how it worked out for her when she complained about what she felt was unjust treatment of herself and her new husband by Balanchine -- Balanchine's reaction was implacable, and no company wanted to touch her. Suzanne probably considered her place in NYCB as irreplaceable -- for many years Balanchine refused to even have an understudy for "her" roles. Yet in one night she was gone, replaced in all "her" roles, name erased from the roster.

Recently, Yulia Stepanova's fans were involved in a big social media push to promote her and complained of what they again felt was unjust casting. The reaction by MT management: Stepanova and her husband both gone from the company, despite some successes on a foreign tour.

And, bringing this home to ABT, a few years ago Sarah Lane garnered a lot of attention for "coming out" as Natalie Portman's dancing double. She had interviews in the newspaper and on TV. Natalie Portman is married to Benjamin Millepied, a VIP in the ballet world. I don;'t know if Lane's career stalled directly because of the incident, but I do know that Lane's career did seemingly stall, and her husband Luis Riborgoda is no long with the company either.

Misty took a risk and it seems to have paid off. I say more power to her. But it could just as easily gone the other way.

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I do watch quick clips of dancers before I purchase tickets to their performances. From what I've seen of Copeland I would never spend any amount of money to watch her dance in a lead. I don't think she is on that level artistically. Comparing and Contrasting is belaboring the obvious. Anyone can see the difference. The upper body work is nonexistent in regards to Copeland. She grimaces, grits her teeth, licks or bites her lip while she dances and you can see it all in a fan video of her dancing Ratmansky's Nutcracker. I don't like that she spots to the audience in her chaine turns. I've never seen another dancer do such a thing. It's tacky and turns it into a show about her Copeland not the story or character the choreography is trying to convey.

I'm pretty much resigned to her presence and her likely promotion this coming summer season. She has made it impossible for ABT to do anything else lest they be accused of discrimination by Copeland and her minions. But I won't buy into the story that she is a fabulous dancer.

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I don't know what's "true" but find it all too believable that Copeland genuinely thought she was the first ABT black female soloist--and that it didn't occur to her or her team to research. Why would it given the overall history of ABT? Anyway, she/her team have corrected the record now. And I'm not about to lambast her over and over again on that point. And if she is the first in decades--well, that too is an interesting bit of informaton that reflects something about the realities of the ballet world (in its most prestigious companies) and what that must feel like for any black ballerina whatever the reasons.

I first saw Copeland live in a coryphee role in Bayadere -- one of the Djampe dancers I think? -- I noticed her, probably at first because black dancers are so rare at ABT; otherwise thought she did a fine job. Since then I have notes about admiring her in the peasant pas de deux (about as much as I did Seo who IS a principal), but don't actually remember the performance now. I have seen her in just one principal role: Gamzatti. The interactions with Vasiliev's Solor were a bust (this was a week after she made a comment about guest artists at ABT published in the Times and, shall we say, not very diplomatic) and he wiped the floor with her when they jumped side by side. But she recovered my interest in her variation which I found respectable (again: points of comparison with Seo do not come out to the latter's advantage) and in Act III I found Copeland's dancing genuinely excellent, particularly her handling of little shifts of weight and off kilter positions that I assume owe more to Makarova than Petipa. In fact, and I wrote it at the time, I thought she handled that one bit of the choreography better than Osipova (whom I otherwise found incomparable). For another point of comparison: years ago, I saw Abrera's debut as Gamzatti and I don't remember being wowed--she may have gotten stronger in the role since then--though I have been impressed by her in other roles.

(I had tickets for Copeland's Firebird, but due to injury, she didn't dance.)

Principal material? For me, based on the above live performances, the jury is definitely out. But is Copland a talented, charismatic dancer to whom I would like to give a chance? Yes, decidedly. Am I also pleased that means giving a chance to the ... uh...first-black-female-soloist-at-ABT-in-decades? That too.

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