If you don’t watch So You Think You Can Dance, then A) I don’t wanna know you, and B) Misty Copeland might not be a person with whom you are familiar. Cliff’s notes version: she is only the third African-American female soloist in the American Ballet Theater’s 74-year-history. She didn’t start dancing until super late in life (age 13), she’s muscular rather than long and lithe, she has a short torso, and she’s busty. In other words: the fact that she is a famous ballerina in the face of an extremely atypical body type for the world of dance is a big friggin’ deal. She’s also been a recurring judge on this season of SYTYCD, and has been holding nothing back.
So, while it’s cool and all that she’s Under Armor’s first spokesmodel who isn’t a traditionally competitive athlete, it is sort of irritating that they keep referring to her as a “nonathlete” and patting themselves on the back for casting her.
Leanne Freman, executive creative director of the women’s division, told the New York Times:
“Misty is a ballerina, she’s not a competitive athlete, but she brings a modern athleticism to a very traditional art form, and she pushes the boundaries on the status quo of the word ‘athlete,’ ” Ms. Fremar said. “There are a lot of sports, activities, hobbies and passions that women are engaging in that are athletic and physical and should be celebrated, whether it’s dance or soccer or kickboxing or spinning.”
Misty, however, is doing a pretty good job of simply running with the exposure — and maybe delivering a subtle read to those who think dancing isn’t a sport:
“A lot of people think of dance as a really sort of frivolous thing, that you just kind of get on the stage and twirl around,” Ms. Copeland said. But the commercial, she continued, is “showing the physicality of what it takes to be a dancer, and to be a professional ballerina, and is giving us the respect that we are just as hardworking as any athlete.”
You can check out her ad spot about overcoming diversity adversity below.
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