Misty Copeland has made history by becoming the first black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre. The ABT has existed for 75 years, reported CNN.
After joining the ballet company in 2001, Misty became a soloist in 2007. Copeland never hid her longing to change history by earning her place as a principal dancer. She revealed her desire in her memoir.
“My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company,” penned Misty in Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”
Copeland drew young people to the theater with youthfully eager fans heading there to watch her when the American Ballet Theatre chose her as its first African-American dancer to take the lead role in “Swan Lake.”
Earning a place as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2015, Misty was praised by Olympic gold medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
“[Copeland] someone who followed her dreams and refused to give up. In that way, she is a model for all young girls,” mused Nadia. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have the passion like Misty, you can be the best at what you do.”
Those outside the ballet world came to know Misty as well. She authored a children’s book, as well as her memoir, and pirouetted into public awareness with her Under Armour advertisement.
And Under Armour was quick to express their delight.
“History is beautiful. Congrats @Mistyonpointe, on being named American Ballet Theatre Principal. #IWILLWHATIWANT”
Misty’s Under Armour ad has been viewed more than eight million times, and Copeland is also featured in a recent documentary, according to the New York Times.
During one performance in “Swan Lake,” the audience cheered so vigorously for Misty that the show had to halt. As she heard the crowd congratulating her when she exited from the theater afterwards, Copeland expressed her appreciation.
“Thank you so, so much for your support — it means so much to me to have you all here. It’s such a special day for me, and for so many people who have come before me. So thank you for being here on this amazing day.”
[Image Via Under Armour Women]