Misty Copeland: Let’s Dance
L.A. Dance Project’s Annual Gala honours groundbreaking American ballet dancer Misty Copeland.
Dance can be one of the most thrilling forms of visual creativity. Whether it’s the athletic prowess of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, the imagination of Fred Astaire using a hat rack in a lengthy routine, or the elegance of Astaire’s partner Ginger Rogers — who, it was noted, “did everything Fred did, but backwards and in high heels” — dance has always had the power to engage, amaze and entertain.
This was the vibe in November this year at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles as the L.A. Dance Project (LADP) held its 2023 Gala. Presented by Van Cleef & Arpels, it honoured the internationally renowned American ballet dancer Misty Copeland, the subject of the widely acclaimed short film Flower, which debuted earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival. Copeland was introduced by award-winning actress, choreographer and director Debbie Allen.
Copeland, considered a prodigy even though she didn’t start in ballet until the age of 13, has risen to the top of her profession and has achieved almost everything possible in the world of dance. In 2015, she was promoted to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman so honoured in its 75-year history. Copeland has toured as a featured dancer for Prince, starred on Broadway, and appeared on the reality television shows A Day in the Life and So You Think You Can Dance.
In 2015, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, appearing on its cover.
The LADP 2023 Gala also presented the international debut of a piece from LADP Artistic Director Benjamin Millepied, celebrating his return to the stage in a performance that was set to music by Jeff Buckley.
The L.A. Dance Project plays an important role in the world of dance, expanding the boundaries of this form of creativity as an art and redefining how humans interact and relate to movement in our modern world. Through collaborative partnerships with traditional and emerging artists, performance work, commissions, residences and community programming, the LADP’s mission is to inspire, create, educate and change perspectives through the accessible and transformative power of dance, not just in Los Angeles, but throughout the world.
“Following our 10th anniversary last year, we’re grateful to build upon that milestone and continue our work to provide a platform that exposes and builds opportunities for the Los Angeles dance community and the wider world,” said Lucinda Lent, executive director of the L.A. Dance Project. “It’s an honour this year to celebrate Misty Copeland and her work to break barriers and transform dance and ballet both here in America and abroad. She shares in our ambition to make the performing arts more accessible.”
The annual gala is the single most important fundraising event of the year for LADP, supporting all aspects of its operations to ensure its programming is accessible to the public. For thousands of years across hundreds of different cultures, dance has been one of the most powerful forms of human expression, and the L.A. Dance Project is playing its role in making sure dance not only survives but also thrives.