5 pics that prove Misty Copeland deserves to be the first black female principal ballerina at ABT

2015-07-01 14:03

New York - Misty Copeland, the Missouri-born ballerina who's become a forceful voice for diversity in ballet, was named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday — the first African-American woman to reach that status in the company's 75-year history.

Copeland, 32, fought tears as she spoke about her promotion, which she said was a lifetime dream — but such a difficult one to attain that she never really thought it would happen.

"This is it," she said. "This has been my dream since I was 13, to be a principal dancer and reach these heights."

"But it hasn't been overnight," she added at a hastily arranged news conference — a rarity for a ballet promotion. "It's been 14 years of extremely hard work ... I'm just so extremely honoured to be an African-American and to be in this position."

And, Copeland said, she hoped her ascension to the very top ranks of ballet would inspire other young dancers of colour — "all the little girls" — to stick with their own dreams.

"So many young dancers of colour stop dancing at an early age because they just don't think there will be a career path for them," she said. "I hope that will change."

She spoke of her own doubts when she joined the ABT corps at age 19 and saw no one "who looked like me."

"I had moments of doubting myself and wanting to quit, because I didn't know if there would be a future for an African-American woman at that level, at the same time, it made me so hungry to push through."

The company announced the promotion six days after Copeland made her New York debut as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, one of the most important roles in a ballerina's repertoire.

The emotional performance ended with Copeland being feted onstage by trailblazing black ballerinas of earlier generations, and with a sea of fans cheering and taking cellphone videos.

Here are 5 pics that prove why Misty deserves her promotion as the principal dancer:


A photo posted by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on

One more #BK ?? @brooklynmack5 @thewashingtonballet

A photo posted by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on

Repost By @estelledarlings: "I'd rather stand tall #conqueror #trueromanceoutnow ??" (via #RapidRepost @AppsKottage)

A video posted by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe) on

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