NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Misty Copeland was named principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday — the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.
The Missouri-born dancer has become a forceful voice for diversity in ballet and a rare celebrity in the dancing field, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports.
The company announced the promotion six days after Copeland made her New York debut in the role of Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake,” one of the most important roles in a ballerina’s repertoire.
The emotional performance ended with Copeland being greeted onstage by trailblazing black ballerinas of earlier generations.
“I’m just so honored, so extremely honored to be a principal dancer, to be an African-American, and in this position,” Copeland said in a press briefing Tuesday.
Copeland, 32, has become increasingly famous over the past several years, achieving a pop culture status that’s extremely rare for a ballet dancer.
“I just started dancing when I was 13 years old at the Boys & Girls club, which is not a typical path of someone who wants to make it into an elite ballet company,” Copeland said.