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The Muse

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In 2009, Copeland got an early-morning phone call. I was asked if Prince could have my cell number, she says. I was literally still waking up. What? Prince who?’  The pop star, as gifted at mentoring female virtuosity as making music, was looking for a ballerina for his video of Crimson and Clover,and he invited Copeland to fly to L.A. the next day. It was really just, Be you, feel the music, just move,’  she says of the shoot. I’m not used to that type of freedom. After every take, I’d ask him what he wanted, but he said, Keep doing what you’re doing.’  Last summer, Copeland performed with Prince in Nice, France, and appeared on selected dates of his Welcome 2 America tour. I think he sees someone who’s free and spiritual, she says, and he’s expressed that he doesn’t see that in a lot of classical dancers. (His appreciation extended to ABT in February, when he donated $250,000.)

As for Copeland’s day job, when the ABT season begins this month, she will have a principal part in Alexei Ratmansky’s new ballet, and will also reprise a signature pas de deux in Giselle. Ballet remains the primary focus for Copeland as well as Prince. He has never said, Don’t look so much like a ballerina.’ What’s No. 1 for him is that I am a ballerina.


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