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Misty Copeland      

First African American Female Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre; Author

Misty Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015. She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird, to name a few.

Copeland has been featured in several publications, including the cover of Time Magazine for the Time 100, as well as the covers of ESSENCE, Self, ELLE South Africa, Oxygen and Women’s Health. She has also appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes," CBS "Sunday Morning," ABC's "Good Morning America," NBC's "The Today Show" and "Little Big Shots," celebrating extraordinary young people.

She made her first awards season guest performances in 2019 with Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards and at the 2020 Grammy Awards alongside Camilla Cabella, Common, Ben Platt, and dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, as well as the televised Prince Grammy Tribute performing with award-winning recording artist H.E.R. Copeland made her Broadway debut in On The Town in 2015 and her major motion picture debut in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in 2018. She is also featured in an episode of "MasterClass," the online series.

Copeland started her production company, Life In Motion Productions, focused on bringing representative stories of artists past, present, and future, and normalizing the arts experience. Her first independently produced project, Flower, premiered at the Tribeca Festival in 2023 and is a silent arts activism film using dance to help raise awareness about intergenerational equity.

Copeland is an avid philanthropist and is an ambassador of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which she is also an alum. In 2022, Copeland launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, with its first signature program BE BOLD, which aims to bring greater diversity, equity, and inclusion to dance, especially ballet. In 2023, she launched the women’s line of Greatness Wins, an athletic wear business she co-founded with Derek Jeter and Chris Riccobono.

Copeland is the New York Times bestselling author of "Life In Motion," "Ballerina Body," "Black Ballerinas," and a picture book titled "Bunheads." She is also author of the award-winning children's picture book, "Firebird." Copeland's book, "The Wind At My Back," in tribute to her late mentor and friend, pioneering ballerina Raven Wilkinson, published November 2022.

In 2021, Copeland was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor and in 2023, she received the Trailblazer Icon Award at The Grio Awards, was named to The Root 100 list, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York University. In 2024, she received the Innovator Award from the African American Film Critics Association. Prior honors include Glamour’s Women of the Year, Black Girls Rock! Awards, and Time 100 Most Influential People.


Misty Copeland reflects on the ‘generational trauma’ felt by Black ballet dancers
Misty Copeland has grown used to having the spotlight on her at center stage. In 2015, Copeland sprang into the highest echelons of dance when she became the first African American woman to be a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, one of the most prestigious and well-renowned dance companies in the world.
Misty Copeland, Calvin Royal III and the rarity of a black couple ...
Almost four years have passed since American Ballet Theatre promoted Misty Copeland to its top ranks, making her its first African American female principal ...
Misty Copeland Biopic 'Life in Motion' Finds Its Director (Exclusive ...
New Line's Misty Copeland biopic 'Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina' has found its director in Nzingha Stewart.
How Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland Shattered Barriers | Time
When Misty Copeland first joined the American Ballet Theater, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, at age 17, she couldn't help but feel ...

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