Misty Copeland Makes History By Being The First Black Principal Ballerina At American Ballet Theater (Details)
Congratulations is in order for Misty Copeland on being the first black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theater! The 32 year old was just named one of Time’s most influential people and this is the perfect example as to why! In the company’s 75 year history, Copeland is making her mark.
Copeland first joined ABT in 2000 before becoming a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001. She was appointed to soloist in August 2007, a position she held until her much-buzzed about promotion on Tuesday.
On being comfortable with her body with Elle.com:
“For me, it was a learning process of accepting that my body is my instrument, and I have to take care of it, and that it’s okay to be healthy and athletic,”—– “ABT supports that image, that you don’t have to be anorexic and real thin, but you do have to take that responsibility [to take care of it].
“As an adult, an athlete, and a performer, your body has to be in a certain form,” she continued. “But ABT is definitely setting that standard for a lot of the other elite international companies. You know, with the choreography that we’re doing that’s super athletic, our bodies are going to change and adapt. So they’re going to have to accept our athletic bodies if they want us to do that type of movement!”
On racial issues within an industry with very little diversity:
“I think that it’s harder for the ballet world to now exclude dancers of color as openly as they did in the past because of the focus that’s being put on the lack of diversity in classical ballet,” she said. “At least in my performances, the audience has become so diverse in a way that I don’t think ballet has ever experienced. It’s going to take a while before we see a real shift in the students and the dancers that are going into professional companies because it takes so many years of training, but I do think that there’s a new crop of dancers, of minority dancers that are entering into the ballet world. I probably won’t see them get opportunities in companies for another decade or so [because of training], but it’s exciting.”