Misty Copeland becomes the first black dancer to lead a top US ballet group. On Tuesday, The American Ballet Theatre announced that Copeland had been promoted to female principal dancer, making her the first African-American lead in the company’s 75-year history.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in San Pedro, California, Copeland, 32, joined the company in April 2001. She was appointed a soloist in August 2007. Throughout her tenure, she has been very outspoken about her desire to become the first black woman to be named a principal dancer at the company.
“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,” she wrote in her memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”
Some of Copeland’s accomplishments include dancing atop a piano while on tour with Prince and appearing in a Diet Dr. Pepper ad in 2010. She also became the first ballet dancer to appear in an Under Armour ad in 2014, a spot that racked up more than four million views on YouTube within one week.
It’s safe to say that Copeland’s story is not just one for the history books, but an example for young girls from all backgrounds that if you work hard and never give up, you can make your dreams come true! Congrats to Copeland on her continued success!