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Misty Copeland Talks About Representation in The Nutcracker

Misty Copeland Wants to Break Barriers as the Ballerina in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22:  Misty Copeland attends the Disney and POPSUGAR celebration of 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' with the film's stars Mackenzie Foy and Misty Copeland at an immersive activation, Journey Into The Four Realms, at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Centre on October 22, 2018 in New York City, United States.  (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Disney Studios)

Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms might just be the movie of the season. Not only does it give us a modern twist on a classic story with a heroine who isn't afraid to create her own destiny, but it also adds an important element of diversity to the tale. In a recent interview with POPSUGAR, Misty Copeland expressed her excitement for portraying The Ballerina — a role that typically isn't played by a woman of colour.

"When people think of a ballerina, they don't think of me," Copeland said. "This is going to be something that lives on in this film — that people will look at this brown ballerina, and it won't be a brown ballerina. It'll just be, 'That's a ballerina. That's what a ballerina looks like.'"

Because of these differences, Copeland said, the remake will be more complex than the traditional narrative. "It's not as light and surface as the ballet story," she said. "It's kind of digging deeper into these characters. It's like another dimension."

Personally, I can't wait for this aspect of the movie. I vividly remember wanting to be a ballerina when I was little, spinning and jumping in the foyer of my house. But I never really thought it was possible because every ballerina I saw on TV or in movies looked nothing like me. It was a dream that I thought to be intangible simply because I didn't think it was for me. The fact that other young women of colour will be able to see Copeland gracefully twirl and caper is meaningful. Inclusivity matters, and somewhere, there's going to be a little girl who sees herself represented on screen. And maybe, just maybe, her dreams will feel attainable, too.

Watch Copeland dance her way to the big screen as The Ballerina in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms when it comes to theatres Nov. 2.

Image Source: Getty / Dia Dipasupil
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