Successful Black Women: Misty Copeland Named American Ballet Theatre's First Black Principal Dancer

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Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is making history this week due to the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) naming her as it’s first black female principal dancer. We tip our heels in her honor and hope that she continues to break a leg on stage. Trust us this is no small feat because this is the first time such honors has been bestowed upon a black ballerina (2nd black dancer after Desmond Richardson) in the dance company’s entire 75 years of existence.





Successful Black Women: Misty Copeland Named American Ballet Theatre’s First Black Principal Dancer

Misty hails from Kansas City and mentioned that being a high level dancer is something she has always wanted. Copeland revealed,

“This is it. This has been my dream since I was 13, to be a principal dancer and reach these heights… But it hasn’t been overnight. It’s been 14 years of extremely hard work … I’m just so extremely honored to be an African-American and to be in this position.”

Successful Black Women Misty Copeland Named American Ballet Theatre's First Black Principal Dancer3

Copeland is shining as a luminous star at time where in the current social climate there are those who believe that members of the black community are lazy, uneducated, violent or lack proper training to accomplish great things. Such views are proved incorrect time after time by such talents as Misty; nevertheless, Copeland believes there is a much different reason as to why more black dancers do not reach the career heights that she has achieved. Misty explained,

“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. I hope that will change… I had moments of doubting myself and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know if there would be a future for an African-American woman at that level. At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through.”

Successful Black Women Misty Copeland Named American Ballet Theatre's First Black Principal Dancer4

Therefore, we implore all of you young dreamers out there and even those who think they have passed their prime to NOT GIVE UP. There may be times of doubt, times when that little voice in your head wants to tear  your joy out your heart and convince you to quit. Like Misty you may feel like you are just not seeing others who “look like you” on the journey to the top. Do not be dismayed ladies, as more of us make it up  the mountain of success it soon will not feel like such a lonely place. There is plenty of room up there for everyone, let’s help each other push towards the summit… it’s closer for us all than we might think.

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Congratulations Misty! You are a true inspiration for us all!