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Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

“A BALLERINA’S TALE” My rating: B (Opening Oct. 30 at the Tivoli)

85 minutes | No MPAA rating

“A Ballerina’s Tale” is several things.

First, of course, it is about the career of Misty Copeland, principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, who has defied dance convention both racially (she’s African American) and physiognomically (she’s curvy, not celery-stalk emaciated) to rise to the top of her art.

But while Nelson George’s documentary touches upon the highlights of Copeland’s career trajectory, it is in no way a conventional biography. In fact, the film deals with Copeland’s personality and her private life in only the most rudimentary fashion. (There’s not a hint of negativity anywhere in this portrait.)

What we get here is lots of footage of Copeland rehearsing and dancing and walking around NYC, balanced with lots of talking heads discussing her impact on the ballet world.

In addition, the film takes a look back at the handful of black ballerinas — among them Raven Wilkinson, who has become something of a mentor and role model for Copeland — who paved the way over the last century.

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