Written By: Allie Eliza



This is interesting.

I started working on this page, some while ago and last evening Misty turns up as a judge on Season 11′s So You Think You Can Dance.

Although her technique isn’t perfect, I loved the dancer Amir Sanders who stated, when asked, “What she wanted to do?” ,she  responded, “I want to be like Misty.” I don’t know why Nigel cut her audition so short and I also have no idea why she was sent to choreography rather than straight through.

Perhaps they know more, but don’t want to allude.

I know that if I were to impress a judge and after auditioning they constructively criticized some specific areas of enhancement, my behind would be back in that studio “48/7″! I would work on it all, so that by the time the ’rounds’ start, I would be even better.

Taking into consideration that it’s America’s FAVORITE dancer, rather than America’s best dancer.

Have a look at Amir’s audition.

On to Misty…



5’2″, muscular, and the first African American in 20 years to be a soloist in New York’sAmerican Ballet Theatre!



Titles-for-Allie-Eliza-pages_MistyCopelandFor all you die hard readers, a belle wrote an article about the lack of African Americans involved in the arts–whether it’s buying a ticket or being on the stage.

Well, check this out here. We are so excited to see a woman of color getting her dance on.

Misty Copeland is evidence that anything is possible. She is the first African American in 20 years to be a soloist in New York’sAmerican Ballet Theatre. She also performed with Prince on one of his tours, so you know she’s bad!

We are so proud of Copeland and urge you all to continue to support the arts. Hopefully, we will see many more dancers of color making such inspiring moves on the stage.

Go here to find out more info on the fab Misty Copeland, ArtBLT’ers.

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Mack_BW5  alicia-graf-mack_Alvin Ailey6  AGMAck5


With her waterfall of black curls only slightly subdued in a pony tail and her nearly 6-foot frame flowing effortlessly from attitude to arabesque, Alicia Graf Mack, one of Alvin Ailey’s most celebrated dancers, barely sounds winded during opening night preparations on Tuesday afternoon. “I just always remember that this is my dream job,” said Graf Mack, taking a break from rehearsing in a quiet studio space tucked away backstage at the Kennedy Center.

A Maryland native, Graf Mack’s cheering section during Ailey’s annual run in Washington, now in its 30th year, is always the loudest at curtain call, but she remembers one fan in particular. That would be Malia Obama. After taking in Graf Mack’s performance one year, the first daughter joked that she could no longer use her own height as an excuse not to be flexible. It’s in those seemingly small moments where Graf Mack’s influence can be measured.



Balance-Howard Schatz

3 Inspiring Health Tips from Alvin Ailey’s Alicia Graf Mack

A dancer, a debilitating condition and a few vital health tips for all of us.




When Alicia Graf Mack leaps through the air onstage, her awe-inspiring lightness is proof that the human body can do remarkable things. But behind the scenes, Mack, 34, has spent the past 15 years struggling with physical limitations: She suffers from a type of arthritic disease that was so painful, it could have ended her career. Today, as a lead dancer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she shares the lessons that helped her get back in step. 


Stay Positive, No Matter What

In 1999, I was rehearsing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem for a show at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., when my knee swelled to the size of a melon. I wasn’t in a great deal of pain, so I strapped on my pointe shoes and continued to practice. The next day, I went to a doctor to get the excess fluid drained and returned to rehearsal; then, a couple of weeks later, my knee blew up again. This recurred three more times and I developed excruciating pain in many of my joints. Not only was I unable to dance—I could barely walk. An MRI showed a cartilage tear, so I had surgery, but that didn’t resolve the issue. I went to at least 15 doctors, who tested me for everything from Lyme disease to cancer and found nothing. But I never gave up hope that someone would solve the puzzle. In the end, it was my cousin, a rheumatologist in California, who discovered that I carried a gene associated with a rheumatic disease known as spondyloarthritis. It’s a condition that would never have shown up in routine blood work. 

Listen to Your Body

I had to go through a second knee surgery and foot reconstruction to repair the damage I’d done from dancing through the pain. After a few years’ recovery, I had the opportunity to audition for and join Ailey in 2005. I thought my life was finally back on track, but in reality I was working against myself. I was pushing my body too hard. Many of my symptoms returned, and I even developed inflammation of the eyes, which made it difficult to see under the bright lights of the stage. I was forced to quit dancing again for several years. Now that I’m back, I’m more tuned in to what my body is telling me and sometimes that means giving it a rest. 

Believe in the Power of Diet

To keep my pain in check, I was on some pretty strong meds. One was so potent that it made my hair fall out in clumps! I wanted to stop taking such heavy drugs, so I consulted an alternative medicine healer. He tested me for food allergies and discovered that I was sensitive to gluten and dairy products, both of which can cause inflammation. Giving them up wasn’t easy—I love pizza!—but within two months, I could feel less stiffness and achiness in my joints. I’d never felt so comfortable in my body. These days I stick to good whole foods like legumes, quinoa and lots of fruits and vegetables. I truly believe that overhauling my diet helped me become well enough to return to Ailey. I have flare-ups occasionally, but I’m still dancing—which makes every day feel like a gift.