Published by: Julia
In her masterclass, Misty Copeland shares a simple way to approach ballet technique. She shows her students how to embrace who they are to bring a high level of artistry to their performance.
A little about your teacher Misty Copeland
Whether you are a fan of ballet or not, the chances are you will have heard of Misty Copeland. She has played an important role in invigorating the world of ballet with new energy. Her efforts to do so have caught the attention of a lot of people, including many who have not taken any interest in ballet, in the past.
Her journey is an unusual one. For example, she did not even try ballet until she was 13. Yet, she became the first African American woman to be a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT).
Today, she is an advocate for diversity who is working to open up the world of ballet to as many people as possible. Misty is doing this in several ways, while still performing. Her masterclass is very much a part of this process.
Here is an overview of what you can expect to learn when you take this excellent dance masterclass.
If you have the right training, you can accomplish everything in the technical repertoire.Misty Copeland Masterclass.com
The six ballet methods explained
In the first part of the course, Misty explains the difference between method and tells you who the best proponents of each method are. This gives you the chance to investigate further. To watch and compare their performance of key ballet sequences. It is surprisingly interesting to do this.
Here are the methods she covers:
- Vaganova Method (Russian)
- Cecchetti Method (Italian)
- École Française – French School Method (French)
- Bournonville Method – (Danish)
- Royal Academy of Dance Method – RAD (British)
- Balanchine Method (American)
The history of Swan Lake
I may not dance, but I am a ballet fan and Swan Lake is one of my favorites. So, I was fascinated to hear about the history of this wonderful ballet. In particular, how it has evolved as it has passed through the hands of various choreographers.
How Misty Copeland prepares for a performance
Preparation is essential if you want to perform well, especially when you are about to attempt something difficult like a performance of Swan Lake. In this section of the course, Misty shares some of the methods she uses to help her to perform to her best.
In this section she covers:
- Why she does not us pads in her pointe shoes and how she has trained herself to dance this way
- How to choose the right pointe shoe for each role
- How to tap into the story to tease out the right type of performance
- How her minimalist approach to foot care helps her to dance better
Misty Copeland’s barre warmup videos
In these videos, Misty takes you through her warmups step-by-step. She explains each movement as she completes them. Helpfully, each one is also outlined in the workbook that accompanies this ballet masterclass.
The following warm-up exercises are covered at this point in the course:
- Demi- Plié
While watching Misty Copeland go through her warmup exercises you will notice how small each movement is. Some of them are almost imperceptible. Yet, each one is fully completed.
Misty´s approach to warmup and dancing is to conserve energy and use her mind to make sure that each movement is completed correctly. She explains that it is particularly important to be mindful of how one part of the body influences another.
Less is more. Less repetition, more quality work.Misty Copeland – Ballet Technique Masterclass
Misty Copeland´s barre techniques
She also goes through various barre techniques. As you will see, when you watch the course, she has drawn from several different disciplines to come up with her approach. Doing this has helped her to gradually stretch herself and continue to evolve as a dancer.
The videos in this section of the course cover the following:
- Temps lié – (several variations that are performed at the barre)
- Ronds de Jambe – (including with fouetté prep)
Misty Copeland´s barre alignment checklists
Misty has packed as much as she can into the 17 videos that make up her ballet masterclass. She has also done a good job with her workbook.
There are some nice little touches. I particularly like the fact that she included an alignment checklist for each type of warm-up exercise in the workbook. It is provided in a format that would be super easy to copy, print off and put up on a wall.
How technique informs artistry in ballet
At this point in her class, Misty reminds those at the beginning of their ballet career to focus on technique. Only once you have laid that firm foundation, can you successfully focus on artistry.
Ballet is storytelling through movement
Once again, Misty reminds her audience that when you perform a ballet you are telling a story. That is why she approaches her roles in the same way most actors do.
She carries out a lot of research. Misty wants to understand her character and what makes them tick. So, she researches the setting, culture, and society of the time that the ballet represents. Using the example of her success while playing Kitri in Don Quixote Misty ably demonstrates the benefits of taking this approach and shows you how to do it successfully.
Let your life experiences inform your performance
I found the way in which Misty draws on her own life experience for certain roles to be fascinating. Again, it reminded me of how actors prepare to play their characters.
Having bought the all-access pass, I was able to take all 12 of the acting and filmmaking masterclasses. My all-access pass only cost the same as taking two individual masterclasses would.
It has enabled me to take a total of 50 of the masterclasses without paying a cent more. You can find out about how the all-access pass works and the other great features that are on offer by clicking here and reading my full masterclass review.
But I digress. Back to Misty Copeland´s brilliant ballet masterclass and what you can expect to enjoy and learn when you take it.
The other reason I enjoyed this section of the course was that it provided an insight into what drives Misty. A big part of what has made her such a great dancer relates to her life experiences.
Stage presence is honesty…. I think the audience can really read when someone is true and honest to what they’re doing.Mist Copeland Teaches Ballet Technique and Artistry Masterclass
Misty Copeland’s ballet performance tips
Over the years, Misty has learned how to perform well. She now knows how to cope with difficult situations. During her masterclass, she explains the following:
- How to recover from mistakes on stage
- Learning to trust your body to adapt during a performance
- How to connect with your audience
- Highly effective ways to quickly warm-up
- How to always give a strong performance
- The importance of knowing your worth
- How to work with choreographers
Ballet workshops included in this ballet masterclass
A lot of the masterclass instructors use demonstrations to help you to better understand what they have just been teaching. Misty does this too. Included in her masterclass are the following:
- White Swan Pas de Deux demonstrated with Calvin Royal III
- A choreography workshop with Kyle Abraham
How to work with choreographers
Every ballet performer needs to be able to work well as part of a team. If they do not, the entire performance suffers. This is especially the case when working with choreographers.
Each one takes a different approach. So, it is important for dancers to be able to adapt. They need to be able to interpret what it is that the choreographer is looking for.
Misty has been very successful at doing this. During this section, she shares her experience of working with Debbie Allen´s Chocolate Nutcracker.
Go in completely open-minded. Be willing to take on challenges…. Come in with the approach of being a blank canvas.Misty Copeland on how to successfully work with choreographers
Find your voice by exploring other forms of dance
Misty believes that experiencing other forms of dance is a good way to use your body to its fullest potential. It opens your mind to the possibilities. Misty explains how appearing on Prince´s 2009 music video for Crimson and Clover helped her to understand this.
How to find a mentor
Misty strongly believes that finding a mentor is important. She tells you more about how her mentor Raven Wilkinson helped her to succeed, despite having less experience than many of the other dancers.
Refreshingly, she is now a mentor herself. Misty explains why she does this and how that has helped her to grow as both a dancer and a human being.
Diversity and inclusion in ballet
Even today, there is a lack of diversity in the world of ballet. In America, and many other countries, ballet dance companies do not reflect the diversity that exists in society.
This is something that Misty is working to change. In her last video, she explains more about how she is doing this.
Misty Copeland’s ballet technique and artistry masterclass workbook
When you sign up for a masterclass course, you get a lot of extras that help you to learn more. Each expert provides a free workbook. Usually, they are very good and Misty´s is no exception.
I knew it would be good when I came across the ballet terminology section, at the front. It is ideal for people like me who primarily took her course because they wanted to learn more about the world of ballet.
Misty has worked to ensure that her masterclass appeals to as wide a spectrum of people as possible. Her workbook contains a lot of extra detail. For example, she provides excellent further reading recommendations.
In addition, the ballet warm-up sections include plenty of relevant photos included. A nice touch because it means you do not need to search through the video to find what you need.
Who is Misty Copeland´s ballet masterclass for?
If you are new to ballet, this masterclass is a great source of information. It shows you how to build a strong foundation and how to become a more artistic performer who works well with others. But ballet fans will also find this to be an enjoyable and interesting masterclass. It is also very inspirational.