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Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy

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From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage. As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage. As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible. In the years since, Misty has only learned more about the trailblazing women who made her own success possible by pushing back against repression and racism with their talent and tenacity. Misty brings these women’s stories to a new generation of readers and gives them the recognition they deserve. With an introduction from Misty about the legacy these women have had on dance and on her career itself, this book delves into the lives and careers of women of color who fundamentally changed the landscape of American ballet from the early 20th century to today.


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From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage. As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland comes an illustrated nonfiction collection celebrating dancers of color who have influenced her on and off the stage. As a young girl living in a motel with her mother and her five siblings, Misty Copeland didn’t have a lot of exposure to ballet or prominent dancers. She was sixteen when she saw a black ballerina on a magazine cover for the first time. The experience emboldened Misty and told her that she wasn’t alone—and her dream wasn’t impossible. In the years since, Misty has only learned more about the trailblazing women who made her own success possible by pushing back against repression and racism with their talent and tenacity. Misty brings these women’s stories to a new generation of readers and gives them the recognition they deserve. With an introduction from Misty about the legacy these women have had on dance and on her career itself, this book delves into the lives and careers of women of color who fundamentally changed the landscape of American ballet from the early 20th century to today.

30 review for Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    A lovely book of short one-page biographies of black dancers. Some of the biographies talk about Misty Copeland more than the actual profiled dancer (as in: her relationship with the person, rather than the dancer herself), but I still have it an enjoyable read. The additional illustrations are very beautiful. Recommended for ballet fans.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Beautiful illustrations, and solid one page introductions to each of these inspiring women.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Yee Swope

    It's like a collection of Degas... but in color! Salena Barnes' ink and watercolor illustrations capture the strength and grace of these powerhouse women. I love Misty Copeland, to be sure, but too often it seems like she's the only representative of all black ballerinas. Let it not be so! Misty has here gathered bios of dozens of her sheroes, telling both their stories and how they have personally impacted her. I'm particularly glad she included the one whose career I have watched since we were It's like a collection of Degas... but in color! Salena Barnes' ink and watercolor illustrations capture the strength and grace of these powerhouse women. I love Misty Copeland, to be sure, but too often it seems like she's the only representative of all black ballerinas. Let it not be so! Misty has here gathered bios of dozens of her sheroes, telling both their stories and how they have personally impacted her. I'm particularly glad she included the one whose career I have watched since we were in elementary school together, the current director of Julliard School's Dance Division, the one whose physics-defying pose was on Dance Theater of Harlem posters all over NYC the year Misty first attended ABT's Summer Intensive, Alicia Graf Mack.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Baby Bookworm

    This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today is Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Salena Barnes, a striking celebration of women of color in the world of dance, past and present. Historically, dancers of color have often been marginalized in, if not outright excluded from, the world of ballet, both in the performance and recorded history of. As author and This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today is Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy, written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Salena Barnes, a striking celebration of women of color in the world of dance, past and present. Historically, dancers of color have often been marginalized in, if not outright excluded from, the world of ballet, both in the performance and recorded history of. As author and famed ballerina Misty Copeland explains, seeing another black ballerina – Lauren Anderson – changed her conception of her own place in dance, and with this in mind, she brings the history, biography, and artistic contributions of twenty-seven other black ballerinas. Readers can get to know dancers like Marion Cuyjet, Debra Austin, Francesca Hayward, and many more – their struggles, their triumphs, and the legacy they are creating for future ballet dancers. Gorgeous. With each dancer being introduced to the reader through a page of biography, Copeland’s personal thoughts or anecdotes (especially interesting for her contemporaries, whom she has often formed friendships with), a quotation, and a stunning watercolor-inspired portrait of the dancer in action. Copeland fairly acknowledges the issue of colorism within dance, yet presents this volume as an inspiration for future ballerinas to have to courage to change the dancing world, just as their (and her) predecessors did. The art is simply stunning, celebrating the beauty of ballet AND of the black women performing it. The subject matter and tone of the writing make this title better for slightly older bookworms – older elementary to middle grade – but younger readers like JJ can still enjoy the art and the inspirational quotes. A lovely book that shines a light on a collection of graceful and gorgeous women who are more than deserving of their spotlight. Baby Bookworm approved! (A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    I would have appreciated actual photographs of the women to be included in this overview of their accomplishments rather than the illustrations. (The artwork is lovely) An important piece of dance history and glad that Copeland put it together.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Book Witch

    A beautiful depiction of diversity in ballet and the story of one incredible performer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    This beautifully illustrated biography collective highlights black ballerinas from early 20th century to present day. Each of these ballerinas forged the path for today's black dancers and have inspired generations of dance. Each two page biography shares some biographical information on the ballerina and how she inspired Misty Copeland in her own dance journey. Coming away from this book, I have a great appreciation of the rich dance history of this country. I wish this book would have been wra This beautifully illustrated biography collective highlights black ballerinas from early 20th century to present day. Each of these ballerinas forged the path for today's black dancers and have inspired generations of dance. Each two page biography shares some biographical information on the ballerina and how she inspired Misty Copeland in her own dance journey. Coming away from this book, I have a great appreciation of the rich dance history of this country. I wish this book would have been wrapped up better in the end, but overall, it's a beautiful collective and would make a wonderful gift for the dancer in your life. *Disclaimer: I receive a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    As someone who has danced in different styles for 20 years, the longest being ballet, it was amazing to read a book dedicated solely to Black ballerinas. I have long respected and appreciated Misty Copeland for several years as she is not only a ballerina who looks like me, but is one of the most genuine and talented dancers the world has today. So, reading her stories of these 27 dancers who inspired her journey, opened doors for her and others, and are continuing to make space for Black baller As someone who has danced in different styles for 20 years, the longest being ballet, it was amazing to read a book dedicated solely to Black ballerinas. I have long respected and appreciated Misty Copeland for several years as she is not only a ballerina who looks like me, but is one of the most genuine and talented dancers the world has today. So, reading her stories of these 27 dancers who inspired her journey, opened doors for her and others, and are continuing to make space for Black ballerinas was monumental. This is such a personal book for me, and it is definitely one that should be passed on to younger Black ballerinas who need encouragement to break into the ballet world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Very cool and I have an edition signed by Misty. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    PottWab Regional Library

    A

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kit

    I learned so much from this one children’s book. I’m in awe of how little I knew about these amazing people.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Keir Bridges

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kirchner-Nw

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aurora Leigh

  15. 4 out of 5

    Giselle_ellesiG

  16. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Barrett

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Pollet

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Niyousha

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  23. 5 out of 5

    LS Johnson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Neal

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karly

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Young

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annese

  29. 5 out of 5

    Douglas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

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