The American Ballet Theater today named ballerina Misty Copeland as principal dancer. Copeland, 32 years old, is the first African-American dancer to be made a principle in ABT's 75 year history.
“She has a beautiful feeling for contemporary work,” said Susan Jaffe, a former principal at Ballet Theatre, was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. “She’s got such an extraordinary facility.”
My daughter and husband both texted me the exciting news of her promotion today, evidencing that we are indeed a dance family. And as a parent of an aspiring dancer, here are three reasons I'm thrilled Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theater.
1. Misty Copeland embodies perseverance.
Misty Copeland's promotion to principal dancer is evidence for my daughter that she shouldn't listen to the naysayers. Misty refused to take no for an answer.
In this Under Armour ad, she dances as a young woman reads from the many rejection letters that Copeland received.
When my daughter texted me the news, I sent her a photo of Misty and said, "Misty didn't let anything stop her from making her dreams a reality. I hope you don't, either." She responded that she would not. That's awesome.
“I was never, you know, the popular one, the pretty one,” Misty Copeland said. “These big long feet and skinny legs and skinny limbs were all these things that I thought were negative things in how we view beauty in our society, and then when I was introduced to the ballet world, all of those qualities were beauty for a ballerina.”
2. Misty Copeland is breaking racial barriers.
My daughter loves dance. Loves. It. But to say that it has not the most diverse art form is an understatement. Today's announcement is a first for a black ballerina.
I'm thrilled that my daughter can see this history being made.
"My body is very different from most of the dancers I dance with. My hair is different than most I dance with. But I didn't let that stop me. Black girls rock and can be ballerinas," Misty said. What a great message.
3. Misty Copeland is amazing on stage and off.
My tween and I got to see Misty Copeland dance with American Ballet Theater in Chicago this fall. We were wowed. But we've also been wowed by both her autobiography and her children's book. And her television appearance, on So You Think You Can Dance, as a presenter at the Tony Awards and more.
Dance can be all encompassing, but I love that Misty shows that you can have multiple interests, and be good at many, many things.
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