Having made history as the first Black Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has said that ballet is listening after George Floyd killing.
"As the world is changing, as it grows more diverse, if the ballet world doesn't evolve with it, then it's going to die," she said.
She says that after George Floyd's death and the focus on Black Lives Matter, for the first time in her 20-year career, people are starting to listen to her about the problem of diversity within the global ballet industry.
Misty became the first Black woman to become the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre in its 81-year history.
A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer.
"There's so many communities that are not going to support an art form that they feel does not want them to be a part of it," she says.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri Misty was raised in San Pedro, California, before beginning her ballet studies at the late age of thirteen. At fifteen, she won first place in the Music Centre Spotlight Awards.
She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Misty joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 2001, and in 2007 became the company’s second Black female Soloist and the first in two decades.
In 2015, Misty was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first Black woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history.