'The Misty Effect' Is Exposing New Audiences To The Beauty Of Ballet

We talked to first-time ballet-goers about the power of seeing yourself on stage.

Misty Copeland knows how to put on a show.

As the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland also knows how to attract new audiences to see a ballet, many of whom are witnessing the beauty of it for the very first time.

Behold, the Misty effect. 

“The Misty Effect” describes the unprecedented impact Copeland has on people who are either experiencing ballet for the first time, or they’re gaining a new appreciation for the art because of Copeland’s contributions.

As a magical black ballerina, Copeland stands as a symbol of excellence for countless people of color who look to her as an endless well of motivation and empowerment. For that reason, many black families travel to the Lincoln Center in New York City to see her in action during her rendition of the iconic, “Swan Lake.”

In the HuffPost Rise video above, black attendees of all ages ― many of whom were attending a ballet for the first time ever ― share what it feels like to see a ballet featuring a woman of color front and center. Some say they want to express their support for the stereotypes she’s shattering and the back-to-back barriers she’s breaking. Others say they simply want to celebrate her success and share their love for a woman that’s proof to them that anything is possible.  

It’s probably going to take more than one ballerina to make some people of color feel wholly welcome in the ballet world ― whether as dancers or audience members ― but Copeland is slowly helping to change that and she’s making one hell of start. 

This video was edited by Jenna Kline, shot by Mike Caravella and Ian Macinnes and produced by Rebecca Halperin, Choyce Miller, Chloe Angyal and Lilly Workneh for HuffPost Originals.



Ballet Dancers Changing the Landscape