CONGRATULATIONS MISTY! You thoroughly earned and deserved this honor and now it's yours FOREVER. Let any and all clueless/jealous/envious/hateful naysayers chew on that! YES...
Misty Copeland Named First Black Principal Ballerina at American Ballet Theater
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Misty Copeland, whose openness about race in ballet helped to make her one of the most famous ballerinas in the United States, was promoted on Tuesday by American Ballet Theater, becoming the first African-American female principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history.
Her promotion — after more than 14 years with the company, nearly eight as a soloist — came as Ms. Copeland’s fame spread far beyond traditional dance circles.
She made the cover of Time magazine this year, was profiled by “60 Minutes” and presented a Tony Award on this year’s telecast. She has written a memoir and a children’s book, and has more than a half-million followers on Instagram. An online ad she made for Under Armour has been viewed more than 8 million times, and she is the subject of a documentary screened this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Over the past year, whenever Ms. Copeland, 32, danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances became events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera house, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. After she starred in “Swan Lake” with Ballet Theater last week — becoming the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met — the crowd of autograph seekers was so large that people had to be moved away from the cramped stage door area.
Ms. Copeland, who declined to be interviewed for this article, was unusually outspoken about her ambition of becoming the first black woman named a principal dancer by Ballet Theater, one of the nation’s most prestigious companies, which is known for its international roster of stars and for staging full-length classical story ballets.
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American Ballet Theatre promotes Misty Copeland to principal dancer, making her the first black woman to hold position
In a historic move, the American Ballet Theatre promoted Misty Copeland to principal dancer on Tuesday, making her the first African-American woman to rise to the position in the company’s 75-year history.
Copeland, 32, said the promotion came after 14 years of “extremely hard work” at the prestigious New York City-based ballet company.
“I’m just so honored, so extremely honored to be a principal dancer, to be an African-American and to be in this position,” she said before Tuesday night’s American Ballet performance of La Bayadère at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center.
Copeland’s elevation to principal dancer was announced by the company’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, during a morning rehearsal.
“Misty, take a bow,” said McKenzie, breaking the news to Copeland.
“I had moments of doubting myself, of wanting to quit, because I didn’t know there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,” Copeland said. “At the same time it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation.”
Copeland has been with the prestigious group for 14 years, eight as a soloist. She was promoted to principal dancer along with Stella Abrera.
Two other dancers joining the ballet company — Maria Kochetkova from the San Francisco Ballet and Alban Lendorf from the Royal Danish Ballet — were also named Tuesday as principal dancers.
“We were pretty much homeless and were living in a motel, trying to scrape up enough money to go to the corner store to get (a) Cup O' Noodles soup to eat,” Copeland said in an ABC News interview last year. “It was probably the worst time in my childhood when ballet found me.”
Copeland’s achievement brought to fruition a dream she feared she would never realize.
By now, New Yorkers are familiar with the phenomenon of Copeland — who eight years ago became the first African-American in two decades to dance as a soloist for the American Ballet Theatre. Since then, she’s been seen in an Under Armour commercial, made the cover of Time magazine and besides penning a best-selling memoir, she’s written a children’s book.
In the Under Armour ad she revealed that at the age of 13 she was rejected from a ballet academy and told, “You have the wrong body for ballet.”
“Dear candidate,” says her rejection letter, read by a young girl in the ad. “Thank you for your application to our ballet academy. Unfortunately, you have not been accepted. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length, and bust.”
“So many young dancers of color stop dancing at an early age because they just don’t think there will be a career path for them,” an emotional Copeland said Tuesday.
“All the little girls that can see themselves through me, it's giving them a brighter future,” she said. “It's been a long journey but it’s just the beginning.”
She made it abundantly clear that it was her dancing and not the color of her skin that got her to the top of the rarefied world of ballet.
James Keivom/New York Daily News
'I had moments of doubting myself, of wanting to quit, because I didn’t know there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,' Copeland said.
“Even with everything that’s happening, I go into ballet class every morning, I work my butt off eight hours a day because I know that I have to deliver,” she said. “I have to go out there and perform live every night and prove myself, maybe more so than other dancers.”
The historic announcement comes after Copeland starred in the American Ballet Theatre’s performance last week of “Swan Lake” — achieving another milestone as the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met.
Tuesday’s promotion triggered an avalanche of congratulatory posts on Copeland’s Twitter account, @mistyonpointe.
“Celebrating @mistyonpointe — a muse for so many and a reminder to dance towards our dreams,” the Oprah Winfrey Network tweeted.
Tony Award-winning Broadway superstar Audra McDonald, who is African-American, tweeted, “Congrats @mistyonpointe on making history!!!”
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