Lonely Planet Writer

Misty Copeland becomes first African American principal of American Ballet Theatre

It was a historic day in the ballet world on Saturday, as Misty Copeland officially took up her role of principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT); she will be the national ballet’s first African American female principal.

American Ballet Theatre welcomes first African American principal dancer.
American Ballet Theatre welcomes first African American principal dancer. Image by PROzaimoku_woodpile / CC BY 2.0

In a speech at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Maryland, Copeland spoke about the difficulty African American dancers face in the world of classical ballet. ‘It’s a European art form, and you’re used to seeing white people doing it… so putting some ‘other’ in that, it messes up the aesthetic,’ Copeland said. She also spoke about the lack of accessibility for certain communities. Copeland was raised by a single mother in a California motel, and was only formally introduced to ballet at the age of 13. Read more: citypaper.com