- Reporters Desk
By Arlo Tinsman-Kongshaug, Editorial Intern
Misty Copeland, principal dancer at New York’s famous American Ballet Theatre and national role-model to countless aspiring young women dancers who’ve been told they just weren’t right to make it—particularly dancers of color—will be hosting a master dance class at the place she began to conquer those obstacles.
From the stage of the Warner Grand Theatre, in front of a live audience, Copeland will lead 50 students through 90 minutes of the movements, knowledge, art and inspiration that have translated into her success.
Tickets to the master class set for Dec. 21 at 5 p.m., are $40 and $25—but $10 less for anyone who purchases tickets to San Pedro City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker at the Warner Grand, which Copeland performed in as a young girl. Proceeds go to San Pedro City Ballet’s DancED Steps Up, which provides local public schools with a wider variety of dance instruction.
Copeland will also be the centerpiece and fund-raising engine at a post-class reception, where tickets are $350 a piece and again benefit DancEd Steps Up.
While Copeland is now one of the world’s best-known and most-talented dancers, her first lessons were humble. They started when she tried out for the drill team at Dana Middle School. Even there, Copeland’s talent was obvious. The coach, Elizabeth Cantine, appointed her team captain and after working with her for a bit, suggested that Copeland take classes at the local Boys & Girls Club.
There on the basketball courts, Copeland began to learn the arts of ballet. She felt rather self-conscious about it, according to the account of her first ballet class that appeared in Rivka Galchen’s profile in the New Yorker.
“I was so embarrassed,” Copeland told the magazine. “I didn’t know anything the other girls in the class knew; I thought I was doing everything wrong.”
Later, however, that changed.
“One day it just clicked,” Copeland said. “I began to understand what it was.”
In that same profile, Copeland emphasized that she remains a student. As she returns to the site of her beginnings as a dancer to teach this master class, that’s a key to understanding who she is.
Time: 5 p.m. Dec. 21
Cost: $15 to $40
Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St. San Pedro.