Misty Copeland, ballet's top dancer, returns to Costa Mesa

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Ah, to be talented, in demand and a pioneer. To be asked to interview President Barack Obama and invited to grace magazine covers. This is the life of Misty Copeland, 34, ballerina, role model, newlywed and (coming soon) dancewear designer.

How popular is she? Tickets for her performances sell briskly. Mattel created a Misty Copeland Barbie, and Seiko sells her branded limited-edition watch. Next up: a starring role in a new Disney movie, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”

Most of all, the ballet superstar is the first African American female principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre. All this might seem to add up to a charmed life for Copeland, but her rise from poverty to red carpet was incredibly hard-fought.

The girl who grew up in San Pedro had to break barriers as a black ballerina when there were almost no footsteps to follow in. Naiveté helped in…

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