The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Race in America: Giving Voice with Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland discusses her new book and trailblazing career on Friday, November 5 (Video: The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Misty Copeland is one of the country’s most recognized ballerinas and the American Ballet Theatre’s first female Black principal dancer. Washington Post senior critic-at-large Robin Givhan speaks with Copeland about her trailblazing career and new book, “Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy.”

Click here for transcript

Highlights

“We don’t have a documentation of our history. Most people when they hear ‘ballet’ they don’t think of a Black ballerina… because our stories aren’t told and they’re not documented.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“To go from dancing in an incredible contemporary company to then mixing in hip-hop and contemporary and modern dance and what she’s done to bring it to commercial spaces, the work she’s done with Beyonce… is so incredibly impressive, and it was ballet as her base that allowed her to get there.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I just feel like it’s my duty and my responsibility to get to this place and then prepare the next generation to be able to step into this position and go even further… That’s how we continue and we grow: you mentor, your nurture and you step away and let them fly.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Misty Copeland

Provided by representatives with Misty Copeland.

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. Misty is an avid philanthropist and is an ambassador of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which is also an alum, and MindLeaps, an arts education program based in Rwanda that helps young people get off the streets and into an academic setting to help enhance their lives. Misty is the bestselling author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Life In Motion; an award-winning children’s picture book titled Firebird; a New York Times bestselling lifestyle book titled Ballerina Body; and the New York Times bestselling children’s picture book, Bunheads. Her newest book is Black Ballerinas: My Journey To Our Legacy.

Loading...