Misty Copeland Named First Black Principal Dancer in American Ballet Theater’s History

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Misty Copeland attends the American Ballet Theatre 2014 Opening Night Spring Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)

You might remember Misty Copeland from her Time Magazine cover. If not, perhaps you’ve seen her inspiring and intense I Will What I Want Under Armour ads and video.

She also has half a million Instagram followers.

And the public is about to see her a lot more: as a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater — the first African-American woman to hold this rank in the theater’s 75-year history.

This isn’t a surprise to Copeland, 32, however. Last year the ballerina published a memoir called Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina which the New York Times called “Wrenching and revelatory.” A surprising moment in the dancing world occurred when Copeland outwardly said in her book that “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 … if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”

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