American Ballet Theatre names Misty Copeland first black principal dancer

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Ballerina Misty Copeland has been promoted to the highest rank of the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first African-American female principal dancer in the company's 75-year history.

Misty Copeland, 32, joined American Ballet Theatre in 2001 and has been a soloist with the prestigious dance company since 2007.

The Kansas City-born dancer follows in the footsteps of Desmond Richardson, a black male dancer who was made principal with the American Ballet Theatre in 1997.
 
Copeland is the author of a best-selling memoir, "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina" and the subject of a documentary film, "A Ballerina's Tale," which was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. She has been a supporter of diversity in ballet and has been open about her goal to be madea principal dancer.

In her best-selling memoir, Copeland recounted her difficult early life and her struggle to become a leading ballerina in a world dominated by white dancers.

She was among several dancers given new roles at a meeting the company held on Tuesday.

"It's weird for minorities," she wrote.

"Even just to buy tickets to the ballet. We feel like it's not a part of our lives and we're not a part of that world."
 
Copeland has also appeared on the cover of Time magazine this year. Earlier this month she took on the lead role in the American Ballet Theatre production of "Swan Lake."

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