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Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The American Ballet Theatre has named Misty Copeland its principal dancer - the first time a black ballerina has held the prestigious role.

Ms Copeland, 32, made her debut this month, starring in Swan Lake in New York, one of the most coveted roles in ballet.

In recent years, Ms Copeland has found fame outside of the ballet world.
She has appeared in commercials and TV shows and wrote a best-selling memoir.

"We haven't had a ballet dancer who has broken through to popular culture like this since Mikhail Baryshnikov," said Wendy Perron, an author and former editor of Dance Magazine.

The moment of her promotion was captured on video and shared on Instagram. "Misty, take a bow," said Kevin McKenzie, the company's artistic director, as Ms Copeland fought back tears.

The dancer has also appeared in a Diet Dr Pepper commercial and danced with Prince on his 2010 tour.
And she has been unusually outspoken about her desire to become the first black woman to be named a principal dancer at the American Ballet.

"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."

"It's incredible to be a brown swan," she said of her current role in Swan Lake.
Her performance is already credited with bringing a new diverse audience to ballet.

"In the racially under-represented world of ballet, Misty has already had an historic impact," said Damian Woetzel, a former principal dancer for New York City Ballet. "Now, as a groundbreaking principal dancer, she will continue to inspire."

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