Today, Misty Copeland has been named American Ballet Theatre’s first black female principal dancer in the company’s 75 year history!
Copeland, 32, first joined the American Ballet Theatre back in 2001 and by August 2007 she was appointed as a soloist. As a soloist with the company, she performed as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet and Clara in The Nutcracker.
Since then she has been very vocal about her strong desire to be named a principal dancer with the company. In her memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, she stated, “My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company, that if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”
Copeland’s popularity has continued to grow more and more as the year has gone by. This spring, Copeland made her debut as Odetta/Odile in Swan Lake and received countless positive reviews for her performance. She was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015 and was featured on the magazine’s April 2015 issue.
Misty’s story has been all about perseverance. It is really amazing to see someone so determined and finally gotten their chance to achieve all they’ve set out to do. This is really something that can motivate others, especially young girls, and spread a message that you really can do anything you set your mind to and never give up on your dreams. Way to go, Misty!