American Ballet's Misty Copeland Embraces What Being a "Black Ballerina" is All About

By Ian Holubiak on Nov 30, 2015 09:19 PM EST
American Ballet's Misty Copeland Embraces What Being a 'Black Ballerina' is All About Ballet dancer Misty Copeland attends Glamour's 25th Anniversary Women Of The Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo : Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Having been named the American Ballet Theatre's first black female principal dancer, Misty Copeland embraces being called a "black ballerina." As she explains, it's central to her identity as a leading figure in dance.

She was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of the year and recently starred in a restaging of Othello at the Metropolitan Opera.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Copeland said:

"[I embrace the title] because it's so rare and because it's an issue and because it's been my path and my struggle. I'm not going to deny or pretend that that's not who I am. And I think that just because I'm now in this position as a principal dancer doesn't mean all of a sudden I'm going to drop the fact that I've had all of these obstacles and so many are continuing to have it. Just because I'm here doesn't mean racism goes away in the ballet world."

Copeland undoubtedly has overcome adversity--and not specific being a black ballet dancer. Throughout her career, she has been told that she did not have a body that lent itself to ballet. Like we've stated before, with a full bust and curvy waistline, Copeland is the perfect spokeswoman for achieving your dreams even when they seem impossible.

Copeland was the focus of a documentary entitled A Ballerina's Tale, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. Directed by Nelson George, the documentary hones in on Copeland and her Euro-centric perspective when it comes to dance.

Race, body image -- Copeland is a force in the ballet world and continues to inspire scores of artists of all stripes.

Check her out below and see why she is proud to call herself a "black ballerina."

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