Monday, July 20, 2015

Be Your Best Self

Yesterday I joined my sister, her husband, Sweetie, a passel of aspiring ballerinas and their mothers at a book signing by Misty Copeland. Copeland is the first African-American to be chosen as the principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater's 75 year history.  Let me just say she is as poised and beautiful in person as you would imagine.

Photo by Michael Bondanza
Most of the questions were from the students of a ballet academy started by a young woman who Copeland mentored for several years. Sadly, this woman suffered a career ending injury. All her energy these days is focused on encouraging young girls of color to dream the dreams Copeland must have had once.

What should I do to be like you? asked one girl clothed in a black leotard and pink tights.
"First of all, don't try to be like me," advised Copeland. "Be your best self. Find a path that works for you." I love that advice. What a perfect thing to say to a girl, a teenager, a young woman, an old woman.

Serendipity that I was just talking to Sweetie about growing and becoming more of me?

"Ballet. something pure in this crazy world"
Misty Copeland

Coincidence that I was just relating to Bella's mom a story I read about how to talk to young girls without making it all about their looks?  I admit every time I see that cutie patootie I want to tell her how beautiful she is and seeing her in a tutu makes me melt. While I'm not sure I'll be able to stop doing that, I will remind her to always be her best self - smart, brave and in her own words, silly. Even though her parents will most likely point her towards an academic, not artistic,future, there's always the possibility that one day, because Misty Copeland opened a door, Bella could be the first Indian principle dancer at the ABT.

When else fails, remember to be your best self,
Merry ME

No comments: