June 30 – Anniversary of a Ballet First

Posted on June 30, 2016


In May, 2015, Misty Copeland was certainly one of the most famous ballerinas in the United States. She had been interviewed on TV, she had appeared on the cover of non-ballet magazines like Time, and she had starred in an online ad that had been viewed more than 8,000,000 times! She had lines of fans waiting for autographs after her performances, and she had danced in some of ballet's biggest roles, on some of its biggest stages.

And yet she still hadn't been promoted to “principal dancer.”

Finally, on this date in 2015, she became the first African-American woman to be named a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater.


(Black dancers have broken through “the color barrier” and been named principal dancers in other prestigious ballet companies in the U.S. before this date. But the list of those who have done so is very, very short. And the ABT is one of the top three companies in the U.S.)


Misty Copeland didn't start dancing ballet until age 13. She was immediately, however, considered a prodigy – and her ballet teachers even fought her mother for custody of the teen! At age 15, she was already an award-winning dancer checking out the professional offers that were coming her way.

In addition to dancing, dancing, dancing, Copeland has become a public speaker and an author. She has already narrated a documentary about her challenges as a ballet dancer. She has performed on Broadway, toured as a featured dance for Prince, and appeared as herself on TV shows. She has endorsements for products, and she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Well done, Misty!!!


You might want to check out the book Firebird, by Misty Copeland.
Her other book is Life in Motion.









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