Twirling, flying and soaring over mountains and valleys. Dancers - they're in so many of my paintings!
Dancers are always overcoming obstacles as they strive for perfection. Two great ballerinas especially come to mind, Native American Maria Tallchief and African American Misty Copeland. When they took their first steps at the barre, little did they know how profoundly they would change people's perceptions of who a ballerina is, where she comes from, and what she looks like.
Maria Tallchief was one of America’s leading ballerinas from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. She became the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet in 1947, and was the first American dancer invited to perform with the Paris Opera Ballet and to dance in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater. Along with her sister, Tallchief later went on to found the Chicago City Ballet.
Misty Copeland is the first African American ballet soloist in two decades with the American Ballet Theatre. Recently she danced the lead in Swan Lake with The Washington Ballet and has also performed with the musician, Prince. Copeland's new book, Life in Motion, An Unlikely Ballerina, chronicles her struggles and triumphs to achieve her goals. I highly recommend it!