I had always been proud of my body - its strength and grace enabled me to pursue my passions.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

Profession: Dancer
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

When I was 16, I moved to Torrance, California to train at a more advanced studio, and by 19, I joined the American Ballet Theatre in New York. It all happened so fast - it was pretty unheard of that someone could train for so few years and become a professional at one of the most elite dance companies in the United States.

When people meet me in person, they're usually surprised at how petite I am because there's this idea that because I'm black, I just look a certain way.

Ballet found me, I guess you could say. I was discovered by a teacher in middle school. I always danced my whole life. I never had any training, never was exposed to seeing dance, but I always had something inside of me. I would love to choreograph and dance around.

I don't eat a ton of pasta or bread. But I eat dessert almost every night, and I drink. You need a bit of balance, and I've found mine.

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.

Don't hold on to the barre like, 'I might die.' It's just ballet.

I never thought of myself as special or particularly good at anything. But once I started ballet, suddenly I had a new identity: prodigy.

I think that the ideal physique and look of a ballerina is always changing with different eras. And it's continuing to change.

Barack Obama being President of the United States doesn't mean racism has disappeared. It's all a process, and we have to be aware that the work never ends.

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.

I love heels. I'm 5-foot-2, and I like feeling tall.

Being one of the few African American women to make it to this level in a classical ballet company, the level of American Ballet Theatre, takes a lot of perseverance.

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.

At least in my performances, the audience has become so diverse in a way that I don't think ballet has ever experienced.