Misty Copeland Named American Ballet Theatre's First Black Female Principal Dancer

By Ian Holubiak on Jun 30, 2015 03:18 PM EDT
Misty Copeland Becomes American Ballet Theatre's First Black Female Principal Dancer Misty Copeland attends the American Ballet Theatre 2014 Opening Night Spring Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo : Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

In light of the LGBT community's victory in the Supreme Court and the banning of the confederate flag from several large retailers comes another sign of progress in the United States. Misty Copeland, a dancing phenom, has risen to the highest ranks of the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first African-American female principal dancer in all its 75-year history.

The news came Tuesday following a slew of promotions at one of the country's top, yet-unnamed ballet companies. Along with Copeland, Stella Abrera was also promoted to the rank of principal dancer.

Having joined the company in April 2001 and having been promoted to soloist in August 2007, Copeland has endured a palpable adversity felt within the ballet community. Dancers and critics alike have contested her body type and skin color and labeled them a disadvantage in the grand scope of her career.

However, maintaining a stoic balance of discipline and determination, it could be felt early on that Copeland would find a way to attain her self-proclaimed goal of being the company's very first black woman to be a principal dancer.

She writes in her memoir Life in Motion, as per CNN:

"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."

Drawing large crowds and reigniting a sense of wonder within the conventional parameters of the ballet world, Misty has found herself dancing in leading roles with the public vocalizing their appreciation and admiration for her journey to this point--and beyond.

One of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2015, we congratulate Ms. Copeland on a most deserved appointment and hope this is just the beginning of a slew of many more accolades to come.

Keep up with her below, for the time being.

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TagsMisty Copeland, Stella Abrera, American Ballet Theatre

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