Misty Copeland in Disney's "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms"

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Acclaimed ballet star Misty Copeland appears in Disney's new feature 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.'

She's a principal dancer for American Ballet Theater (ABT) who has performed on Broadway. Now, she's going back to the future in the new Disney movie.

Copeland says her life has come full circle with its release. The film is based on the original story that inspired what is arguably the world's most famous ballet.

"The first ballet I ever performed in was 'The Nutcracker' when I was 13-years-old," Copeland said.

This was a crucial first step for the world-class artist she would become, but finding ballet had an even greater meaning for her as a human being.

"It was probably the first moment in my life that I wasn't terrified," she said.

Copeland was a shy, introverted child traumatized by poverty.

"Saw things I shouldn't have seen," she said. "And moving around a lot, not having food on the dinner table or a home. You know, roof over our heads. It made me build up so much anxiety and fear in me."

She found refuge as a dancer.

"For whatever reason, I'd step onto the stage as that first time dancing as Clara in 'The Nutcracker,' and it was like, 'Oh, I'm comfortable now,'" Copeland said.

Mackenzie Foy plays Clara in the new movie, while Copeland has a small role as the ballet princess, but one that still carries a lot of importance.

'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' is now playing in theaters.

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