During the American Ballet’s company meeting on Tuesday, June 30th Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer. Despite their 75-year long history and their well-known international roster of stars, the company has never had a black principal ballerina. Ms. Copeland has been apart of the company for 14 years, and has served as a soloist for 8. Her long-standing success with the company did put her on the verge of being promoted in 2012, however fell through due to injury.
Nevertheless, her fame goes beyond ballet. In the past she covered Time Magazine, was featured on 60 minutes, and presented a Tony Award. She also possess a half a million followers on Instagram, has over 8 million views on her Under Armour ad, and has been extremely vocal on the lack of African-Americans in ballet.
The New York Times shared:
“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,” published last year. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”
Well, she hasn’t! Copeland has not only established herself outside traditional dance circles with her books, advertisements and public appearances but is also inspirational to young black girls who hope to one day become a successful ballerina.
In her own words, she’s said:
“My body is very different from most of the dancers I dance with. My hair is different than most I dance with. But I didn’t let that stop me. Black girls rock and can be ballerinas.”