The Music Center has partnered with Dance Magazine to present an in-depth conversation between American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Principal Dancer Misty Copeland and South African dancer/choreographer Dada Masilo in INSIDE LOOK: misty copeland & dada masilo—changing narratives in dance, curated and produced by The Music Center.
INSIDE LOOK: misty copeland & dada masilo—changing narratives in dance
Watch Misty and Dada's 30-minute conversation as they share the personal anecdotes of having navigated and conquered the complicated world of dance, breaking down barriers and misconceptions about dancer body types and repertoire storylines as two strong women of color.
Misty Copeland began her ballet studies at the age of 13 and became a finalist at age 15 in The Music Center’s Spotlight scholarship and arts training program. The talented prodigy started her studies at the Lauridsen Ballet Center, followed by the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive. She became a member of American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet in 2001 and was appointed a soloist in 2007. Rising to lead roles in nearly all major ballets, Copeland became the first African American principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre in 2015. In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She is the recipient of a 2014 Dance Magazine Award and was named to the 2015 TIME 100 by TIME Magazine. Copeland is the author of the best-selling books, Life in Motion and Ballerina Body, as well as children’s books Firebird, which received the Ezra Jack Keats Honor, Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Book Award, and the recently published Bunheads.
Dada Masilo is a South African dancer and choreographer who fuses classical ballet and contemporary dance with African traditions. Known for her unique and innovative interpretations, Masilo reimagines classic masterpieces in the dance canon to address societal ills such as class, gender and homophobia through an African lens. This INSIDE LOOK introduces Masilo and the artistic vision behind her genre-bending versions of Swan Lake, Giselle and Carmen. Born and bred in Johannesburg, she began formal training at The Dance Factory at the age of 11. At the age of 19, she began studying at the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels. After returning to South Africa, she received the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance in 2008. The National Arts Festival commissioned three of her works: Romeo and Juliet (2008), Carmen (2009) and Swan Lake (2010). In May 2017, the Bessie-nominated choreographer premiered her Giselle, which was commissioned by The Joyce Theater, The Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College, La Biennale de la Danse de Lyon and Sadlers Wells. Masilo performs in her own works, together with some of South Africa’s finest dance artists, selected by audition. She is Artist-in-Residence at The Dance Factory.