Rockettes Pick for Dancer of the Week: American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland

Who: Misty Copeland

Her dance:

Why we chose her: It’s safe to say that Misty Copeland, 32, is easily becoming one of ballet’s most iconic dancers in the United States—for the first time in a generation, a dancer has graced the cover of Time magazine and was chosen as one of the magazine’s “100 most influential people.” And now, Misty can add another title to her resumé: Principal Dancer.

Misty has become the first African-American woman to be named a principal, a dancer at the highest rank within a professional dance company, in the American Ballet Theatre‘s 75-year history.

Photo Credit: Christina Lessa |

Photo Credit: Christina Lessa |

“I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,” Misty said at a news conference on Tuesday at the Metropolitan Opera House. “At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here—and I’m constantly saying that—it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position.”

Fun fact: Born in Kansas City, Mo. and raised in San Pedro, Calif., Misty began ballet training at the age of 13. She joined the American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001 and was appointed a soloist in August 2007. Misty made her debut in the starring role of Odette/Odile in the company’s production of “Swan Lake”—the first African-American dancer to do so.

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