World-Renowned Ballerina Speaks At SMU

french students attend question and answer with Misty Copeland

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French teacher Dr. Sandra Simmons gave her students the opportunity to attend a question and answer session with world-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland a few weeks ago.

Copeland is a principal ballet dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, and is known for her roles in ballets such as “The Firebird” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Aside from performing on the stage, she is also featured in music videos, film and television. 

The session took place at Southern Methodist University on Monday, Jan. 27. There were two Q&As with Copeland that day, one at 8:00 pm which was open to the public, and one at 5:00 pm for a small group of SMU students and high schoolers from the Dallas metroplex. The discussion lasted about an hour with Copeland answering questions from the audience. 

Some of the questions included, “What is your favorite dance move?” and “What has been your greatest accomplishment so far as a dancer?” Copeland was very honest in her answers and kept the audience engaged as she told interesting stories about her career. She also discussed how strenuous ballet can be on one’s body and how to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. 

“I think that something people don’t realize or understand when they’re in the audience and watching a dancer is that we are human, and so we’re constantly evolving and changing,” Copeland said. “So day to day, our bodies are not going to be the same as the day before and it’s something you have to own and understand as a dancer and accept that you may [have been able to] do three pirouettes yesterday, and today you’re not going to because your body is not in the right alignment.” 

While the Q&A was lighthearted for the most part, Copeland was asked more serious questions concerning diversity in the ballet industry and how she hopes it will grow and expand. She explained that her main goal is for ballet to reach as many people as possible and to see roles in ballets evolve while also maintaining their traditional elements. 

“Just seeing [Misty Copeland] in person was really awesome,” sophomore Natalie DePaula said. “I am a dancer, so my dance friends and I talk about her all the time or see her on social media. It was super inspiring to hear her point of view on all different types of [topics].”