Thursday, December 4, 2014

book review: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

The basics: Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina is Misty Copeland's memoir about her surprising journey to the American Ballet Theater, where she is the first African-American soloist is twenty years (and only the third over all.)

My thoughts: Despite having no dancing ability, I am a big fan of dance. Arguably the most famous current ballet dancer, and I was eager to read her memoir. Her life story is an inspiring one, but if I read it in a novel I'd dismiss it as unbelievable and hokey. Copeland famously took her first ballet class when she was thirteen, which is really late in ballet years. She discovered ballet in an unlikely place: the Boys and Girls Club. I knew those details, but I didn't realize how many other improbabilities Copeland faced.

Life in Motion is inspiring, but it's also a very sad book. Copeland doesn't shy away from the lingering racism in ballet. She opens up about the complications, financially and otherwise, of her childhood. I knew her story was remarkable, but I didn't realize how many fortunate opportunities she had. While I thoroughly enjoyed Misty's journey, I was equally enchanted with her insight into her current life and what it means to be a professional ballet dancer.

The verdict: I quite enjoyed Life in Motion. Copeland's voice is strong, and her personal story is as fascinating as her unique insight into contemporary ballet. This book will appeal to fans of dance, but it will also appeal to readers drawn to social issues, diversity, and memoirs more generally.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 289 pages
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Life in Motion from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Misty Copeland's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I took ballet for four years to correct the turnout of my foot/leg/hip after a bone break that was never treated. Long story, but I was actually pretty good and I have loved ballet ever since. I think I would enjoy this book. I love that cover.

  2. I never considered picking this book up, but it sounds like an amazing read. I think I'm going to pick this up.


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