George Nelson's A Ballerina's Tale tells the inspirational story of Misty Copeland's triumph in the face of adversity.

By Christina Dugan
September 08, 2015 10:00 PM
Jim Spellman/WireImage

Things weren’t always easy for Misty Copeland.

A Ballerina’s Tale, a new film directed by George Nelson, tells the emotional and inspirational story of the iconic ballerina – her struggle to succeed and her rise to triumph.

Copeland, who was named the first black female principal ballerina in the American ballet in June, knew the difficulties that lay ahead of her at a young age.

“I was the only black woman in a company of 80 plus dancers for a decade. I felt like I didn’t belong,” Copeland, 32, said at the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation’s 2015 PowHerful Summit in New York City last July. “I heard I wasn’t right for the company. I wasn’t right for ballet. My skin was too dark. I was too muscular. My bust was too big.”

Growing up in the face of adversity, the ballerina didn’t let that stop her.

“It wasn’t something that I ever thought about,” Copeland said. “When I was in the studio, I was focused and so in love and I finally had something that was mine and it gave me a voice. So, the color of my skin never crossed my mind. It was never brought to my attention.”

In the documentary, Nelson gives viewers and even closer glimpse of what that struggle meant to Copeland.

“I’m a black dancer,” Copeland says in the trailer. “That’s who I am. It’s so much a part of my story.”

Admitting that the classical ballet would never accept her for who she is, Copeland has found her purpose.

“Through movement, I found my calling. Through ballet, I found my voice,” she said.

A Ballerina’s Tale hits theaters and VOD on Oct. 14

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