Misty Copeland Gets Emotional Reflecting on Friendship with Prince: 'He Pushed Me Artistically'

Photo by Kevin Mazur/NPG Records 2010
"The more I performed with him, the more I learned about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do as a person," said Copeland during an appearance at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival.

Prima ballerina Misty Copeland exudes nothing but grace and elegance.

In all the strides she's made in her historical career, Copeland credits part of her confidence to her dear late friend, Prince

"When I met Prince for the first time, I just met this person that I looked at as a friend," she said holding back tears during an appearance at the 2016 ESSENCE Festival. "I had never seen him perform live so I approached this relationship as this really hilarious quiet guy that became my friend and then I stepped onto the stage with him and I was like, 'Ok, I get it now!' He was the first person who pushed me artistically to have this freedom to do what was inside of me, to deliver that and classical ballet doesn't really celebrate that." 

Misty Copeland Makes One Young Dancer's Dream Come True 

The first time Misty stepped on stage with Prince was at a 2009 performance in France and in that moment she tapped into something she syas she never knew she could. 

"I arrived and I had no idea what I was going to do and I said, 'Prince what am I doing?' and he said, 'Just go out there and dance and then when I come on the stage you can leave!' she said with a laugh. "I never experienced freedom like that to just go out there and create and it was something that I took back with me to ABT [American Ballet Theatre]. The more I performed with him, the more I learned about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do as a person and as an artist so I will forever credit and thank him for that."

ESSENCE will honor the musician with a special tribute on the closing night of the Festival

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