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Misty Copeland on feeling beautiful for the first time in her life

We attended the event as a guest of Disney

Before the world premiere of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, we were given the extreme honor of talking with the incredibly talented Misty Copeland about her role in the film. Before Copeland entered the room, I sat at a table with some of my favorite bloggers, and we were all talking about how excited we were to meet with Copeland. The minute that the beautiful ballet dancer entered the room, we all cheered with excitement, and the minute that she took her seat, she took the time to compliment all of us on our dresses.

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright /

Copeland shared with us that the studio reached out to her to begin working on the film. When she first heard that Disney wanted her to be a part of the film, she thought to herself, ‘I am not an actress.’ She understood the connection with the film is The Nutcracker, and it seemed to be a very organic fit for her to take the role.

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright /

“They were really open about me taking the lead. They said to me, ‘this is not their world, and please teach us. We are going to entrust in you that we have the right team.’ They allowed me to choose a choreographer, and I selected Liam Scarlett from the Royal Ballet in London because I have worked with him before. He is very young, which is rare because most are in their 60’s,” said Copeland.

Photo Credit: Coralie Hughes Seright /

When they first approached Copeland about the film, they were very clear with her that the movie is based on the book, not the ballet. “They said that we couldn’t do The Nutcracker and not have ballet in it. So they created this character for me ‘The Ballerina Princess’ as a way to have ballet in it. I am a performance within the movie to help share the story of the four realms, and to tell it to Clara,” said Copeland.

One thing that Copeland share with us is that she is so happy that this film will be able to introduce ballet to the world. “To those people that maybe do not feel welcomed to step into the doors of the Metropolitan Opera House,” said Copeland. She continued to share how happy she is that the cast is so diverse. “For this next generation to see a brown ballerina in this Nutcracker film that will live on, future generations will be able to say ‘that’s what a ballerina looks like,’ and to me, that is so incredible and empowering,” said Copeland.

“That is something that Disney movies have done for me growing up. They allow children to see representation and possibilities and limitless opportunities.” Misty Copeland

When it came to training for the film, Copeland just shared her ‘normal’ as she called it, but her incredible talents. Her schedule was so tight during the time that she was working on the film, that there was no set time for her to rehearse. Liam had flown out from London, and would basically wait in the studio until she had free time to rehearse. She would run into the studio where they would create movement, and then she would have to leave again.

Then when it came time to filming the actual movie – Copeland was in awe. “When we got on the massive set, it made me feel like I was in the theater performing on the stage. We had to adjust the choreography to work with the cameras so I wouldn’t kick them,” said Copeland.

The one thing in the conversation with Copeland that really stood out to me was how she got started in ballet. My husband, Steve, was born in San Pedro, and his entire family is from San Pedro. When Copeland shared with us that her first ballet class was on a basketball court at the Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro, I knew exactly the basketball court she was talking about. She said, “It was not something that I thought I was going to do. I was 13, and all the other girls had the gear on (leggings and tights), and I was in these baggy basketball shorts and socks, and I was like ‘this just isn’t right – it just doesn’t feel right,” said Copeland.

“It was the first time I had taken on a scholarship into the local ballet school, and I put on the pink tights, and the pink leotard and I could see myself in front of the mirror, and that was when it clicked – I felt beautiful for the first time in my life.” Misty Copeland.

Don’t miss seeing Misty Copeland’s epic performance in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Copeland does not have any speaking parts in the film, but I encourage all of you to stay until the end to see more of her dancing during the credits. Learn more about The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Share your love for the film by using the hashtag #DisneysTheNutcracker.

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  1. “As, seraph-like, from out the dark clouds’ chorus,
    With softness woven, graceful, light, and fair,
    Resembling Her, in the blue æther o’er us,
    A slender figure hovers in the air,—
    Thus didst thou see her joyously advance,
    The fairest of the fairest in the dance…”

  2. Misty ! The romantic Juliet queen of Scala di Milano !

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