Meet the First African American Woman Named Principal Dancer For American Ballet Theater

Photo from famousdc.com

Photo from famousdc.com

In it’s entire 75 year old history, the American Ballet Theater has never had an African American woman named Principal dancer, until now.

Misty Copeland was finally given this honorable title after making the cover of Time magazine, appearing on “60 Minutes,” and performing as lead role in a number of large productions.

Photo from nytimes.com

Photo from nytimes.com

As an article in Time Magazine pointed out, this situation made many people wonder why there had not been any African-American women in this position at the theater before.

Copeland knew that it would be a struggle to be successful, but she tried anyways. At a news conference at the Metropolitan Opera House, Copeland said:

“I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level. At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here — and I’m constantly saying that — it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position.”

To get a better understanding of Copeland’s experience in the competitive world of ballet, check out the video below. Even though it’s an advertisement, it gives viewers a small window to see from her perspective.

To learn more about Copeland’s background, journey, and plans for the future, check out her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.”

About the Author: Norah Kearneyunnamed

I am currently a senior at Webster University of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m working on my BA in English with a focus on creative writing. I plan to use my degree for writing, editing, teaching, or a bit of all three.

Read more from and about the author: Norah’s WiLab Profile