Misty Copeland puts a 21st-century twist on history's famous ballet works.

Ballerina Misty Copeland is no stranger to making history on the stage.


All images by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory from the NYC Dance Project, used with permission.


Just last summer, she became the first black woman to become a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. It was a proud and empowering moment for people everywhere (and about time!).

Now, she's re-creating history for the camera.


Copeland re-creating Degas' "The Star."

In the upcoming March 2016 issue of Harper's Bazaar, she's helped re-create some of the world's most iconic ballet paintings and sculptures by famous artist Edgar Degas.

The spread comes in advance of a new exhibition opening up at New York's Museum of Modern Art that highlight Degas' work called "Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty."

The photos are beautiful and impressively spot-on. But they also come with a deeper meaning: The faces of ballet are changing.

Copeland as Degas' "Dancer."

Degas' focus on dancers helped him create some of the most popular images in 19th-century art. Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, the project's photographers and founders of the NYC Dance Project, wanted to bring them into the 21st century.

"It wasn’t so much us trying to reproduce Degas' paintings as it was to bring Misty into them, and to bring the ballet community up-to-date," Ken told Upworthy.

"We’re seeing all body types, all types of people: black, white, Asian, you name it. We’re seeing everything. It's time that gets reflected."


Copeland as "Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green)."

Photographing Misty as if she were in a Degas painting shows the world that ballet doesn't have a specific race or ethnicity.

You don't need me to tell you that the industry has been overwhelmingly white throughout history.

Just picture a traditional ballerina in your head, and you'll recognize that truth. Even though the times have changed, though, it's still been difficult to find images of dancers that represent the variety of shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds they actually come in.

That's one of the reasons Ken and Deborah started the NYC Dance Project: to show and celebrate the dancers of today.

"A few years ago, our younger daughter wanted to have her room redecorated and wanted to have her favorite dancers hanging up, and we had a hard time finding photographs of them," Deborah recalled over the phone. "There wasn’t that much of the current stars out there. Ken was like, 'Let’s just photograph them ourselves.'"

With that, the NYC Dance Project was born. A study of dance and movement in photographic form, their work has gained quite a following in just a few years, with a book expected to drop this fall.

"I definitely feel like I can see myself in that sculpture — she just seems content but also reserved," Copeland said about re-creating Degas' "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen."


One of the keys to their success may be where they photograph most of their subjects: in their living room in Brooklyn. It creates a more comfortable and intimate atmosphere, though Deborah noted, "sometimes we are literally moving our cats out of the photo."

Together, they're part of a larger push to move diversity in dance forward. Because not only does a broader mix of people help to show more girls and boys that they do have a place in the industry — combating the phenomenon that you can't be what you can't see — it's financially smart too.

More diverse dance companies create bigger, more diverse audiences. And you know what that means? Cha-ching.

Like Ken and Deborah, Copeland knows that the ballet world has a long way to go, but that this is a good start.

She's shattering the glass ceiling, pointe shoes and all, but she knows it's not just about her.

Real talk on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert"/YouTube.

There's so much talent and untapped potential out there. Someday we'll get to a place where people of all races and ethnicities see opportunities to succeed in the world of ballet and in many other stereotyped professions.

In the meantime, it's encouraging to see those leading the way into the future on the stage, behind the camera, with a paintbrush, or with their words.

Check out this behind-the-scenes look at how they channeled Edgar Degas' work for Harper's Bazaar. They nailed it.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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