The ballerina Misty Copeland has had a meteoric rise under unique circumstances. Rivka Galchenwrites.
Photograph by Pari Dukovic
‘Dance is not like the other arts. The words in a book stay in place, paintings barely fade, musical performances can be recorded. But watching a recording of dance is about as close to the real thing as reading “Eugene Onegin” in Google Translate. Dancers often restrain themselves, necessarily, during practice, but Cornejo and Copeland seemed to be leaping higher, and moving more articulately, than they did onstage. I had just seen three grand ballet performances in a row, but this harshly lit, uncostumed, and repeatedly interrupted performance was my favorite. It wasn’t simply the proximity, the sound of the shoes, the soothingly minor comments—“Your back arm tends to get behind you”; “A little more shoulder at the beginning, so it’s not so flat”—it was more the juxtaposition of the mundane and the magnificent.’