Misty Copeland Becomes the ABT’s First Black Female Principal Dancer
May we just say, Brava?
Huzzah! Misty Copeland, the astonishingly talented ballerina who willed what she wants in a commercial-gone-viral for Under Armour, has just been named the first ever African-American woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater. This is big news. Huge. Here, five things you need to know about the dance world darling.
SHE DIDN’T START DANCING UNTIL SHE WAS 13
Unlike most professional ballerinas who are groomed from age three, Misty only stumbled upon ballet thanks to the Boys & Girls Club in her California hometown. There, she started out choreographing routines to Mariah Carey before beginning her formal ballet education.
BUT SHE KNOWS HOW TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME
After only three months of training, Misty started dancing en pointe--a skill that typically takes most dancers years to learn.
PRINCE IS HER MENTOR...
Yes, the Prince. He called her, told her she was extremely gifted and invited her to dance on top of a grand piano in his 2010 “Welcome 2 America” tour.
SHE ONCE GOT FLACK FOR BEING TOO CURVY AND ATHLETIC
When Misty joined ABT in 2001, she was the only black woman in a company of 80 dancers. “I had to accept that it was OK to look like a woman and be a ballerina,” she has said. “I have breasts and a butt, which is not the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s aesthetic of the feminine, soft ballerina.”
BUT NOW SHE’S A STAR
Earlier this year, Misty became the first African-American ABT soloist to dance the role of Odile/Odette in Swan Lake, which is basically the best gig a dancer could ever dream for. Oh, and she also wrote a memoir and was named one of Time Magazine’s "100 Most Influential People".