The American Ballet Theatre announced on Tuesday that Misty Copeland, famed ballerina who recently made her New York debut in “Swan Lake,” has been named principal dancer at the company. According to The Associated Press, Copeland is “the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.”
The Associated Press says that Copeland, 32, has risen to fame over the past few years, appearing on the cover of Time magazine earlier in 2015 as one of their most influential people, while also penning a children’s book and a memoir. Her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” which tells of the challenges she faced in achieving her dreams, has been optioned for a movie, according to The Associated Press.
Copeland has also been an influential force in diversifying the world of ballet. In an interview with The Associated Press, author and former editor of Dance Magazine Wendy Perron said that in Copeland’s performance of Swan Lake last week, a more diverse audience gathered to watch her dance, including a strong presence of “young black girls in their party dresses.” Perron said, “‘She singlehandedly made that a diverse audience.'”
Former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and director of the International Dance Festival Damian Woetzel told The Associated Press, “‘…As a groundbreaking principal dancer, she will continue to inspire and make possible much-needed changes for our field and for the arts in America.'”
Congratulations, Misty Copeland!