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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less
via Fox 5 / YouTube

Back in February, northern Virginia was experiencing freezing temperatures, so FOX 5 DC's Bob Barnard took to the streets to get the low down. His report opens with him having fun with some Leesburg locals and trying his hand at scraping ice off their parked cars.

But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

Barnard stopped everything he was doing to pick the dog up off the freezing road to keep it safe. "Forget the people we talked to earlier, I want to get to know this dog," he told his fellow reporters back in the warm newsroom.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less