For anyone who may be wavering on the whole "Are dancers really athletes?" question...
Prepare to be schooled.
Sportswear purveyor Under Armour has a new commercial starring superstar ballerina Misty Copeland that dispels any lingering notion that dance isn't a sport and aims to impress that women are right up there with men among the best athletes in the world.
As a young girl's voice reads what's supposed to be a rejection notice from a dance academy, Misty—a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre and a recurring judge this season on So You Think You Can Dance—has a moment of reflection as the camera zooms in on her impressive musculature from different angles.
And then the 31-year-old, clad in a cropped Under Armour (well, obviously) workout top and Pure Stretch Cheeky underpants, bursts into movement, pirouetting and leaping like a badass, her muscles flexing and propelling her to new heights.
"Dear Candidate, thank you for your application to our ballet academy," the young narrator reads. "Unfortunately you have not been accepted. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered."
Like the girl (identified by the New York Times as 14-year-old Raiya Goodman) in the narrative, Misty didn't start dancing until the very late-for-dance age of 13.
Well, look what perseverence, training and some inherent badassery can do! The new ad is pushing Under Armour's female-centric site, I Will What I Want, which encourages all women to get moving.
"Misty is a ballerina, she's not a competitive athlete, but she brings a modern athleticism to a very traditional art form, and she pushes the boundaries on the status quo of the word ‘athlete,' " Leanne Fremar, executive creative director of Under Armour's women's division, told the Times.
"There are a lot of sports, activities, hobbies and passions that women are engaging in that are athletic and physical and should be celebrated, whether it's dance or soccer or kickboxing or spinning."
"A lot of people think of dance as a really sort of frivolous thing, that you just kind of get on the stage and twirl around," Copeland also told the paper, noting that she was never rejected in such a detailed fashion as this ad dramatizes, but that she has faced plenty of criticism and push-back over the course of her career. "But the commercial showing the physicality of what it takes to be a dancer, and to be a professional ballerina, and is giving us the respect that we are just as hardworking as any athlete."
Watch and feel free to leap for joy.