Making History: Misty Copeland Promoted To Principal Dancer At American Ballet Theatre

Misty Copeland - American Ballet Theatre

Photo: Copeland performs in Swan Lake – Queensland Performing Arts Centre/Darren Thomas

Making ballet history,Misty Copeland has been promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, along with Stella Abrera. Copeland is the first African-American woman to be named a principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater.

The influential ballerina appeared on the cover of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015. 

Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary have been promoted to Soloist effective August 1, 2015.   In addition, Maria Kochetkova, a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet and Alban Lendorf, a principal dancer with Royal Danish Ballet will join the Company as Principal Dancers and Jeffrey Cirio, a principal dancer with Boston Ballet, will join ABT as a Soloist, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Copeland was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California.  She began her ballet studies at the age of 13 at the San Pedro City Ballet and won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards.  She continued her studies at the Lauridsen Ballet Center.  Copeland 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.  Copeland joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000 and joined the main Company as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001.  She was appointed a Soloist in August 2007.  Her roles with the Company include Gamzatti in La Bayadère, Milkmaid in The Bright Stream, the Fairy Autumn in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Swanilda in Coppélia, Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Mercedes and the Driad Queen in Don Quixote, Duo Concertant, the title role in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, Flower Girl in Gaîté Parisienne, Zulma and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, Clara, the Princess in Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Bianca in Othello, the Cowgirl in Rodeo, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, Sinatra Suite, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, leading roles in Bach Partita, Birthday Offering and Thirteen Diversions and roles in Airs, Baker’s Dozen, Ballo della Regina, Black Tuesday, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Brief Fling, Company B, Gong, In the Upper Room, Les Sylphides, Raymonda Divertissements, Sechs Tänze, Sinfonietta and workwithinwork. Copeland created the Spanish Dance in Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, the Fairy Fleur de farine in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty and leading roles in C. to C. (Close to Chuck), Dumbarton, Glow – Stop, One of Three and With a Chance of Rain.  Copeland received the 2008 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts and was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2013.  In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She is the author of the best-selling memoir, Life in Motion and the children’s book Firebird.

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