I didn't want to be the best at anything; I just wanted to blend in. And that was kind of my existence throughout my family experiences at home of just kind of blending in in the background through my other siblings, which was easy to do.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

Profession: Dancer
Nationality: American

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Perseverance has always just been something that was in me. And it was a tool that came in very handy as a ballerina.

I think, as a child, there weren't dreams. I can't recall as a child having some ultimate dream and thinking that it was possible.

If I'm put in a situation where I am not really sure what's going to happen, it can be overwhelming. I get a bit anxious.

I don't want to be anything else other than a ballerina. I love what I do outside of my work, but at the end of the day, I have to sacrifice.

My childhood is a part of my story, and it's why I'm who I am today and why my career is what it is.

What you put into your body is just as important as how hard you dance. I believe with the right training and an understanding of how to take care of your body, you can mold it to be whatever you want it to be.

My favorite role of all? Whatever I'm working on in the moment.

I think all dancers are control freaks a bit. We just want to be in control of ourselves and our bodies. That's just what the ballet structure, I think, kind of puts inside of you.

I know that I'm talented, and I know that I'm not in American Ballet Theater because I'm black - I'm here because I'm a gifted dancer.

It's all so surreal, and I'm living my dream. And you know, principal or not, I'm getting to dance all the roles that I've dreamed of doing.

My curves became an integral part of who I am as a dancer, not something I needed to lose to become one.

Growing up, I was surrounded by R&B and Hip-Hop, and the closest thing I could find to dance was gymnastics which I watched on TV. So, I just used those avenues I found available right in my milieu to express what was inside of me.

I would have young dancers come to me and ask me questions and want to know what my experiences were like: 'What's it like being a black dancer?' So I just felt like it was necessary for me to share my experiences with them.

Whenever there was chaos in my house, whether it was arguing, being in a cramped space with all of us kids and screaming, I found an empty space where I could just put music on and move.