The featured speaker for ALA Virtual Conference’s Opening Session was Misty Copeland, who was the first African American female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre.
She was talking about her new book, Bunheads, about her own experience starting in ballet at the “late age” of 13. The ballet studio where she began was a “little group of misfits” — not people of privilege, and not necessarily like people you usually see on the stage. She wants children to see that diversity and that everyone can be involved in ballet.
When she was a child, she was extremely introverted and didn’t really speak. Writing was how she expressed herself before movement came into her life. Speaking in front of people was a bigger transition than writing, but she does appreciate having a platform.
As an introverted child, she spent much time in the library, and it was a safe haven in every way.
The book introduces many diverse characters including a boy. She wants to give the message that dancers are athletic and powerful. There’s so much power in the images we see and power in representation.
She wants to bring ballet to a wider variety of people.