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A Ballerina's Tale: Breaking Barriers in Ballet

Witness the triumphant journey of Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, in "A Ballerina's Tale."

Keywords: Misty Copeland, Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Race, Body Image, Overcoming Adversity


"A Ballerina's Tale" is a compelling documentary directed by Nelson George, released in 2016. The film chronicles the rise of African American ballerina Misty Copeland, her career-threatening injury, and her triumphant return to the stage. The documentary sheds light on the pressing issues of race and body image in the world of elite ballet - subjects that are as relevant today as ever.


"A Ballerina's Tale" unfolds the inspiring journey of Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Despite her late start in ballet and an injury that could have ended her career, Copeland overcomes significant hurdles to reach the pinnacle of success in the ballet world.

More Film Analysis



The documentary employs an observational approach, allowing viewers to witness Copeland's struggles and triumphs firsthand. The film's in-depth research and exploration of the subject matter provide a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by a black woman in the predominantly white world of ballet.

Historical and Factual Context


The film underscores the lack of diversity in ballet, a world that has historically been dominated by the white, thin body ideal. Misty Copeland's success challenges this norm, making her a role model for aspiring dancers of all backgrounds.

Key themes in the film

  • Overcoming adversity to achieve success
  • Challenging racial and body image norms in ballet
  • The power of resilience and determination

Film Comparisons

Unlike other ballet documentaries on iWonder, "A Ballerina's Tale" not only focuses on the artistic journey but also delves into the societal challenges faced by a black ballerina.

Noteworthy Moments

Copeland's triumphant return to the stage after a potentially career-ending injury is a powerful testament to her resilience and determination.


"A Ballerina's Tale" has been hailed as "inspiring" and "eye-opening," shedding light on the realities of being a black ballerina in a predominantly white industry.


"A Ballerina's Tale" is a significant contribution to the discourse on race and body image in ballet. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in dance, societal issues, or inspiring stories of overcoming adversity.

More film information:


  • IMDB Score: 6.4
  • Awards and Festival Summary: 1 win and 1 nomination



  • Misty Copeland: Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
  • Nelson George: Director, "A Ballerina's Tale"



  • American Ballet Theatre, New York
  • Copeland's Home and Training Spaces

Key Questions Raised by the Film

  1. How does Misty Copeland's journey challenge the norms of the ballet world?
  2. What role does resilience play in Copeland's success?
  3. How has Copeland's success influenced the conversation about diversity in ballet?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "To Kill a Mockingbird" for its themes of racial inequality and the protagonist fighting against societal norms.
  2. A famous song, it would be "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, representing Copeland's determination and fight to succeed.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali, symbolizing resilience and the passage of time.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Serena Williams, another woman of color who excelled in a predominantly white sport.
  5. A color, it would be red, representing the passion and determination of Misty Copeland.
  6. A music style, it would be classical, reflecting the elegant and disciplined world of ballet.