Thanks to our friends at City Arts & Lectures, Xyza Junior Reporter Sydney G. had the opportunity to hear from Misty Copeland, the first African-American Female Principal Dancer at the American Ballet! Great report, Sydney and we are thrilled she inspires you!
By Sydney Grodin
It was 7:00 p.m. on December 18, 2017 at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, California. I was sitting in the loge section of the theater. It was a sold out event. I was feeling nervous because I thought that I was going to interview Misty Copeland. What actually happened was that an interviewer, Laurene Powell Jobs, interviewed her, and I took notes.
Misty Copeland is a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater in New York City. She is important because she is the first African-American woman to be principal ballerina at ABT.
She started ballet at the Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro, California, when she was thirteen. She said, “I didn’t choose ballet, it chose me.” She went en pointe after just six months of ballet. Most ballerinas go en pointe after years of practice. She joined the corps de ballet at ABT when she was nineteen and became a principal dancer when she was twenty-nine years old.
At ABT, she performed in The Firebird ballet as the Firebird, which is a very important role. While she was rehearsing, her leg was hurting a lot. The day after opening night, her leg was hurting so much that she decided to go to a doctor. She learned that she had six stress fractures in her shin. She took a year off dancing to recover from her injury.
I learned that Misty Copeland had as many as fifteen roles per season. I am inspired by her to practice every day for my dance classes because she said that if she takes a day off, her body forgets the moves.
She is determined to be a role model for all of the girls who look like her and don’t believe that they can be ballerinas. The event that I went to benefitted the Gugulethu Ballet Project, which helps disadvantaged children in South Africa learn ballet.