For the first time in the history of the American Ballet Theater, an African-American woman has been named as the principal dancer.
Misty Copeland, who is 32 years old, has always been outspoken about her desire to be the first black woman to be named a principal dancer.
“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,” she wrote in her 2014 memoir. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them,” BBC wrote on their website.
She also made Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential people this year and was featured on one of the five covers of the issue.
Watch Time Magazine‘s interview with Misty Copeland:
Misty says in the video there have been a slew of African-American woman who have pushed her in the times when she thought she could not do it. Women like Raven Wilkinson, one of the first African-American ballerinas to dance in a major ballet company.
Copeland was a late starter in the ballet world, beginning at the age of 13.
Just months after her first class, she was considered a prodigy, and joined the American Ballet Theater at 17.
Over the past year, whenever Ms. Copeland, 32, danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances became events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. After she starred in Swan Lake with Ballet Theater last week—becoming the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met—the crowd of autograph-seekers was so large that it had to be moved away from the cramped area outside the stage door, reported The New York Times.
As wonderful as this news is, it still makes me wonder how far have we have really come with breaking down racial barriers if it still taking so long for moments like these to happen.