Misty Copeland Claims Coded Language Is Used to Keep Black and Brown Dancers Out of Ballet

by Yah Yah
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Revered ballet dancer Misty Copeland continues to speak out about the racial disparities in the world of ballet. During a recent interview, she made allegations that coded language was used to exclude Black and Brown dancers.

During an interview with SiriusXM Urban View host Karen Hunter, Copeland, the first Black principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, described her experience.

Copeland was told she had exactly the right body type and proportions when she was first discovered at the age of 13. Just four years later, when she joined the American Ballet Theatre, she was told she didn’t have the body for ballet.

Watch the clip below.

“That’s language that’s used that the ballet world can get away with because you’re in a visual art form, it’s about your aesthetic, and it’s subjective. So that’s what they say to Black and brown dancers to disguise saying, ‘You don’t have the right skin color for ballet,'” she said.

She also faced pressure to lose her muscles, but she hailed the Black woman around her for their love and support.

“I had incredible black women around me that were supporting me, that were showing me that it’s okay to be the first, it’s okay, to be the only, but you’re not alone like we are all here with you,” she told Hunter, “and that was a huge turning point for me and I’ve just had so many incredible Black men and women that have come into my life that have just kept me on track.”

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