Imagine a ballet studio filled with 70 lucky students sitting in their places while excited and nervous chatter buzz in the air. Electric anticipation abounded as they eagerly awaited the arrival of their ballet hero, Misty Copeland. Giggles, little excited shrieks of joy, and a moment later, Mr. Adam sees her SUV pull up outside the front door. The room erupts with joy, but is quickly composed. Misty Copeland, the ballet idol herself, opens the front door of NMYB to find all of the dancers waiting for her, quietly. The entire room was holding their breath! Ms. Copeland opens the door and greets everyone with a simple, “Wow! Hello, friends!” Instantly, she is greeted in return with thunderous applause. That’s how NMYB’s magical visit with Misty Copeland began.
Artistic Director of NMYB, Mr. Adam James Holms, M.A., hosted the performance and conversation that evening. After a brief introduction and explanation, NMYB’s dancers had the honor of performing for Misty Copeland, Gilda Squire and our special dance teacher guests.
After being an enthusiastic audience for our dancers, Ms. Copeland said “Your technique is so strong and very clean! It’s surprising to know that NMYB has only been open for three years. I’m so impressed!” Gilda Squire, Ms. Copeland’s manager said of the dancers, “I just have to say the most impressive thing to me is that all of you look genuinely happy. It’s so wonderful to watch you perform, each with a smile on your faces. What an absolutely pleasure to watch. Thank you, dancers!”
During the question and answer segment of the evening, Mr. Adam chatted with Ms. Copeland and got answers to some of NMYB’s dancers’ most burning questions. Students asked everything! They wanted to know what time Ms. Copeland wakes up in the morning (“8AM”), how many hours does she dance each day (“12 hours, depending on the day”), what is her favorite vacation spot (“Greece”), and even her favorite pizza topping (“banana peppers”). They also asked hard hitting ballet questions like what is currently her favorite role to perform (Gamzati), does she like to wear arm puffs (“who doesn’t?”) and how old was she when she first began dancing (“13”).
Then they asked if Ms. Copeland felt that the color of her skin has held her career back in any way. Ms. Copeland’s response what that she felt as though she was sheltered from racism in the arts. “It’s more about being your best self, your best version of you, be the best at what you do and you’ll get the job.”
The favorite question of the evening was asked by Mr. Adam. The question was “If you could write your own comic book using only characters from ballets, who would be the hero, the villain, and the sidekick.” According to Ms. Copeland, if she were to write such a comic book, Odette would be the hero, Mother Ginger would be the villain, and Gamzati would be the sidekick.
Some of the sage advice she bestowed upon the dancers…“know your own body and what works best for your body. Do what makes you look and feel beautiful. It takes a lot of passion, hard work, and perseverance. There’s room for everyone on the stage and for everyone to have ballet in their lives.”
Misty Copeland is an inspiration and a guiding light to all dancers, especially the students of NMYB. She and Mr. Adam, (NMYB’s Artistic Director) first met when they attended the ABT Gala. Mr. Adam and Ms. Copeland chatted about how they feel a deep responsibility to ballet and to bring it into schools, communities and to places where ballet has never been. That it’s their mission to bring children into the ballet classroom and culture and meet them where they are and support them on their journey. Their common goals and vision for the future of ballet was the driving force behind Ms. Copeland’s recent visit.
Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet is a very diverse ballet studio, with students representing more than 16 different countries and ethnic backgrounds. NMYB is the ballet home for students from Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Southbury, Stamford, Trumbull, Westport, Weston, and Wilton. Each student and their families are celebrated for their diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet is a nurturing ballet home where everyone can come to celebrate the joy of classical ballet. NMYB is devoted to the success of each and every student regardless of their personal ballet goals. Recreational students learn alongside students with pre-professional goals and they all receive the same attention, the same training, and benefit from the same opportunities.
Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet is very grateful to Misty Copeland and Gilda Squire for an incredibly magical evening of ballet bliss. Thank you for making our dancers’ dreams come true.
NMYB is currently enrolling students in their summer ballet intensives and workshops. For additional information and to join the movement, visit summer workshops or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
ADAM HOLMS, M.A.
Mr. Holms teaches ballet because he simply must. It is with great joy that he begins his next adventure as Artistic Director for Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet