Prodigy Misty Copeland on Beginning Ballet at Age 13

American Ballet Theatre dancer recalls family 'barely scraping by' when she was a child.
5:18 | 11/05/13

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Transcript for Prodigy Misty Copeland on Beginning Ballet at Age 13
I don't think people outside of LA understand how big a deal that is that you know most belly dancers started the -- -- And used it that yes you -- a you know. And anyways too old to you are the -- it's I think the reason it's so not you know it's not typical is that. You have to start shaking your your body and your muscles from an early age so that when -- you see this level -- -- Me is Africa listen it's not something you're thinking about pitcher -- -- to evolve as an artist typing this on base and if you start to me. -- in the body has already gone through puberty and started to change it's harder to give it -- them all but it definitely was a special case and considered -- prodigy and happen to have a body that just moved it in a way a ballerina and needed to move -- bit about. Little bit more about the circumstances of your -- I mean you know I've read a number of articles to talk about how harrowing it was in many ways and how many challenges you -- What were some of the darkest moments for you growing up. You know I think when I was a child I didn't have anything to compared -- I don't know that I find it any of those moments of stark. I know that ballet was felt light that came into my life that I always -- safe to -- but. It. Made me who I am. -- as well also struggles and coming from a single parent home. You know just not always having money just barely squeaking by but for me that's only -- -- wasn't -- I felt sorry for myself. But having -- come into my life it just. It's changed me it's it's helped me to become the woman that I am today without that I have no idea where I would PER who I would. Be without it you're writing this memoir what lessons do you draw from childhood. The hardships the universities and overcoming them -- I mean I think -- I wouldn't change anything. And I think at this point it's important for me to tell my story in my place. And what I've learned from all of those experiences. I think that -- people know coming haven't read over the course of my career. Have never really been my words and I'm just. It's been hard to go back -- be -- that some of you know the situation that I was put in as a child and you know the custody battle with -- my teachers and my mom. But. I think it's just made me. -- this very strong resilient woman. And I just learned to kind of embrace everything that makes me different. And to share those experiences with someone who can definitely -- and other so many people that will relate to my story so many levels. What do you tell those children who are the subject of custody -- whose. Who's grown -- who loved them who care for them who think they're doing the best for their future are fighting in the courts and like cats and dogs. How do you where do you. Put your head. But say it's not your fault. Didn't. I think that's that's really important president -- to understand that. None of it's your fault and that you know I was a child then hand has no control over decisions being made. -- -- -- -- Forget me and I can tell you getting emotional just thinking about it. Yeah I -- know what -- set -- -- come from meridian. Some. Its its hard I think that you know when my mom had five other children to. To deal with end -- -- life was surviving it had nothing to do it. Extracurricular activities or. You know getting -- to a ballet class you know -- surviving. So for -- need to become kind of the focal plane of my family and this career that. None of us you anything about. It was really hard for her -- except that. And to put that as a priority. When that you know. None of her children -- ever more -- priority than any other so that was just really difficult for my whole family to adjust to you. But then realizing how. Especially case -- lives and how gifted and wise we -- we -- make sacrifices. What lessons do you have for people in your memoirs about. Following your dreams. And even when they seem kind of outside some preposterous -- him. I just I truly believe that it that it's all possible. I mean that anything is possible. If you. If you really believe and surround yourself with people who believe in you. It's OK to have to have mentors and to have people -- energy to support you I think that's so important. No one can do -- on around.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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