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Misty Danielle Copeland (born September 10, 1982) is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT's 75-year history.Copeland was considered a prodigy who rose to stardom despite not starting ballet until the age of 13. Two years later, in 1998, her ballet teachers, who were serving as her custodial guardians, and her mother, fought a custody battle over her. Meanwhile, Copeland, who was already an award-winning dancer, was fielding professional offers. The legal issues involved filings for emancipation by Copeland and restraining orders by her mother. Both sides dropped legal proceedings, and Copeland moved home to begin studying under a new teacher, who was a former ABT member.In 1997, Copeland won the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award as the best dancer in Southern California. After two summer workshops with ABT, she became a member of ABT's Studio Company in 2000 and its corps de ballet in 2001, and became an ABT soloist in 2007. As a soloist from 2007 to mid-2015, she was described as having matured into a more contemporary and sophisticated dancer.In addition to her dance career, Copeland has become a public speaker, celebrity spokesperson and stage performer. She has written two autobiographical books and narrated a documentary about her career challenges, A Ballerina's Tale. In 2015, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, appearing on its cover. She performed on Broadway in On the Town, toured as a featured dancer for Prince and appeared on the reality television shows A Day in the Life and So You Think You Can Dance. She has endorsed products and companies such as T-Mobile, Coach, Inc., Dr Pepper, Seiko, The Dannon Company and Under Armour. Early life Copeland was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but raised in the San Pedro community of Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Sylvia DelaCerna and Doug Copeland. Her father is of German and African American descent, while her mother is of Italian and African American ancestry and was adopted by African American parents. She is the youngest of four children from her mother's second marriage and has two younger half-siblings, one each from her mother's third and fourth marriages. Copeland did not see her father between the ages of two and twenty-two. Her mother, a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader, had studied dance. She is a trained medical assistant, but worked mostly in sales.Between the ages of three and seven, Copeland lived in Bellflower, California, with her mother and her mother's third husband, Harold Brown, a Santa Fe Railroad sales executive. The family moved to San Pedro, where Sylvia eventually married her fourth husband, radiologist Robert DelaCerna and where Misty attended Point Fermin Elementary School. When she was seven, Copeland saw the film Nadia on television and its subject Nadia Comăneci became her new role model. Copeland never studied ballet or gymnastics formally until her teenage years, but in her youth she enjoyed choreographing flips and dance moves to Mariah Carey songs. Following in the footsteps of her older sister Erica, Copeland became captain of the Dana Middle School drill team, where her natural grace came to the attention of its classically trained coach, Elizabeth Cantine.By 1994, Copeland's mother had separated from Robert. After living with various friends and boyfriends, DelaCerna moved with her children into two small rooms at the Sunset Inn in Gardena, California. In early 1996, Cantine convinced Copeland to attend a ballet class at her local Boys & Girls Club. Cynthia Bradley, a friend of Cantine's, taught a free ballet class at the club once a week. Copeland attended several classes as a spectator before participating. DelaCerna allowed Copeland to go to the club after school until the workday ended. Bradley invited Copeland to attend class at her small ballet school, San Pedro Dance Center. Copeland initially declined the offer, however, because her mother did not have a car, was working 12–14 hours a day, and her oldest sister Erica was working two jobs. Copeland began her ballet studies at the age of 13 at the San Pedro Dance Center when Cynthia Bradley began picking her up from school. After three months of study, Copeland was en pointe.Her mother told Copeland that she would have to give up ballet, but Bradley wanted Copeland to continue and offered to host her. DelaCerna agreed to this, and Copeland moved in with Bradley and her family. Eventually, Copeland and DelaCerna signed a management contract and a life-story contract with Bradley. Copeland spent the weekdays with the Bradleys near the coast and the weekends at home with her mother, a two-hour bus ride away. Copeland would spend most of her next three years with the Bradleys. By the age of fourteen, Copeland was the winner of a national ballet contest and won her first solo role. The Bradleys introduced Copeland to books and videos about ballet. When she saw Paloma Herrera, a principal ballerina with ABT, perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Copeland began to idolize her as much as she did Mariah Carey. The media first noticed her when she drew 2,000 patrons per show as she performed as Clara in The Nutcracker at the San Pedro High School after only eight months of study. She played a larger role as Kitri in Don Quixote at the San Pedro Dance Center and then performed with the L.A. Academy of Fine Arts in a featured role in The Chocolate Nutcracker, an African American version of the tale, narrated by Debbie Allen. The latter was presented at UCLA's Royce Hall. Copeland's role was modified especially for her, and included ethnic dances.During this period, Copeland received far more personal attention from the Bradley family than her mother could give each of her six children. Raised in a lapsed Christian household, when Copeland lived with the Bradley family, she attended their synagogue and celebrated Shabbat with them, enjoying their family's closeness. In addition to Bradley's intensive ballet training, her husband, a modern-dance teacher, served as Copeland's pas-de-deux instructor and partner. The summer before her fifteenth birthday, Bradley began to homeschool Copeland for 10th grade to free up more time for dance. At fifteen years old, Copeland won first place in the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards at the Chandler Pavilion in March 1998. Copeland said it was the first time she ever battled nervousness. The winners received scholarships between $500 and $2500. Copeland's victory in the 10th annual contest among gifted high school students in Southern California secured her recognition by the Los Angeles Times as the best young dancer in the Greater Los Angeles Area.Copeland attended the summer workshop at the San Francisco Ba.... Discover the Misty Hayes popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Misty Hayes books.

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  • The Watchers synopsis, comments

    The Watchers

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    An upstart slayer.A clan of vampires.A world of trouble.Eighteenyearold Corinth Taylor didn't sign up to become a Watcheran elite warrior destined to restore balance to the human r...

  • The Outcasts synopsis, comments

    The Outcasts

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    Mystical relics.Powerful vampires.Strange allies.It's hell being a teenager, especially if vampires are hunting you.Larna Collins had never understood why her dad skipped out on he...

  • Tree of Souls synopsis, comments

    Tree of Souls

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    The first vampire.The last Nephilim.The end of a saga.The epic battle between angel and vampire begins in this third installment in The Blood Dagger series.Ever since his meeting w...