Misty Copeland Announced First Black Female Principal Dancer
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 is a new day in history for the American Ballet Theater and, more importantly, Misty Copeland. She has been announced the first African-American female principal dancer in the 75 years of the American Ballet Theater, and she well deserves it.
Copeland has been gaining a lot of attention lately with her recent feature on the cover of Time Magazine, interview on 60 minutes, and her online advertisement for Under Armour (with over 8 million views).
Misty Copeland is aiming to become a new house-hold name.
She has openly expressed her opinions of race in ballet, making her the most talked about ballerina in dance, as of late. Copeland raises questions about why African-American females are still underrepresented at top ballet companies in the year 2015.
In her memoir, published last year, titled Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, she writes, “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.” Now that fear has become a dream come true after dancing for the American Ballet Theater for 14 years.
While Copeland has certainly been made recognizable by her acts of inspiration and out-spokenness about the obvious racial issues in ballet, she is most known, of course, for her incredible dancing abilities. Throughout the last year, whenever she danced a lead role, it became more than just a performance. It became an event, inviting huge, enthusiastic crowds, just to see her, at big name theaters like the Metropolitan Opera House, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Last week, she was the first African-American to star in “Swan Lake” at the Met with the Ballet Theater, ending the show with a huge crowd of adoring fans.
So, Copeland didn’t just work hard to be one of the best ballerina’s of today, and she didn’t just bring to light the prejudices that have been present in the dance world since the beginning, she earned her spot as principal at the American Ballet Theater by using both her incredible dance skills and passion for equality and justice to make ballet popular again, to make it a topic of discussion. She brought the heart and soul of ballet back to life and there is no better person for the most important leading role of Misty Copeland’s life other than her lovely self.