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Misty Copeland: First Black Woman Named Principal Dancer By American Ballet Theater

Tue, June 30, 2015 2:32pm EDT by 1 Comment
misty copeland promoted principal dancer

It’s about time, right? After more than 14 years with American Ballet Theater, Misty Copeland has finally been promoted to principal dancer — and the famed ballet machine has never been more on pointe.

Misty Copeland, 32, is making history. On June 30, she received a promotion from American Ballet Theater, earning her place as the first African-American female principal dancer in the dance company’s 75-year run. After years of engaging in candid discussions about race in ballet, the Missouri native has made a critical impact, becoming one of the most famous ballerinas in the country. Looks like hard work pays off!

Misty’s advancement with the renowned ballet troupe was awarded just as her notoriety began transcending far past the conventional dance world. A few examples? She’s written a best-selling memoir and children’s book, graced the cover of Time Magazine this year, starred in a TirBeCa Film Festival documentary, been the subject of a “60 Minutes” special, presented at this year’s Tony Awards, appeared in an Under Armour ad (that has over 8 million YouTube views) — and boasts over 500k Instagram followers.

While principal dancer might seem like just another title on an already impressive resume, Misty’s latest job will surely be her most celebrated by far. Dancing in starring roles over the past year, the 32-year-old’s performances have attracted the largest crowds ABT has ever seen — naturally.

From young ballerina-wannabes to curious adults, a very eclectic and diverse fan base was ever-present at Miss Copeland’s shows. Misty enthusiasts are undoubtedly ecstatic over her impending roles as a leading lady, a feat she once worried was unachievable.

“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,” she wrote in her memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina released in 2014. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”

As if the word fail has ever been a part of Misty’s vocab.

HollywoodLifers — what do YOU think of Misty’s American Ballet Theater promotion to principal dancer? Let us know!

— Evan Real