Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, has long defied conventional notions of what a ballet dancer looks like. She detailed the challenges she overcame in her 2014 autobiography, Life in Motion (Touchstone), subtitled An Unlikely Ballerina, which has sold 56,000 print copies per Nielsen BookScan.
Now, in Ballerina Body (Grand Central Life & Style, Mar. 2017), her first health and fitness title, she offers meal plans, workout routines, and a message regarding unrealistic beauty standards. Karen Murgolo, v-p, editorial director at Life & Style, says that Copeland, who has a more robust physique than the typical ballet dancer, “wants to tell every girl and woman that their body is great for them.”
Copeland isn’t the only professional bringing ballet to the masses this spring. Mary Helen Bowers, who trained Natalie Portman for her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan, highlights her Ballet Beautiful method in Ballet for Life (Rizzoli, Mar. 2017). The book includes exercises, posture lessons, and wellness tips, accompanied by 150 photographs. Rizzoli senior editor Caitlin Leffel says that the book is one readers might keep on their coffee tables, “but it also informs them of how to achieve a ballet-like physique.” Model Alexa Chung, a devotee of Bowers’s method, contributes the foreword.