Misty Copeland-American Ballet Theater Soloist
Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty took her first ballet class at 13, an advanced age to begin this traditional art form. Training at the San Pedro Dance Center, Misty was en pointe within three months. Soon after she starred as Clare in The Chocolate Nutcracker, the Debbie Allen narrated African American version of The Nutcracker.
At age 15, Misty won first place in the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight awards prompting the Los Angeles Times to name her as the Best Young Dancer in the Greater Los Angeles Area. After winning Spotlight, Misty accepted a full scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet’s summer intensive program. Subsequently, Misty began training at The Lauridsen Ballet Center in Southern California.
Misty was once again offered a full scholarship in 2000 to attend American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program and was also declared ABT’s National Coca Cola Scholar. At the completion of the Summer Intensive, among 150 dancers, Misty was one of six girls chosen to join American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. Additionally, Misty was asked to accompany the main company on their China tour. In 2001 Misty joined ABT’s Corps De Ballet.
In 2002 Misty was selected by ABT’s director, Kevin McKenzie, to compete for the Princess Grace Award. In 2007, Mr. McKenzie again chose Misty to compete for the Erik Bruhn Prize. He promoted Misty that same year to the rank of Soloist with American Ballet Theater, and she became the first African American female to earn the position of Soloist.
In 2008, Misty was honored with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts. This two year fellowship is awarded to young artists who exhibit extraordinary talent, providing them additional resources in order to attain their full potential.
Her roles with American Ballet Theater include: Gulnare-Le Corsaire, Flower Girl-Don Quixote, The Peasant Pas de Deux-Giselle, Lead Harlot-Romeo and Juliet, Fairy of Valor-The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Trois and a Cygnet-Swan Lake, The Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Sinatra Suite-Twyla Tharpe, workwithinwork-William Forsythe, Overgrown Path-Jiri Kylian, Gong-Mark Morris, Company B and Airs-Paul Taylor. Misty’s performances with American Ballet Theater are sponsored by her mentor, friend and fan, Susan Fales-Hill.
Misty has also been featured in numerous publications and television programs including: People Magazine, Time Magazine, O Magazine, W Magazine, Dance Magazine, New York Times, BET and Fox News. As further evidence of her broad appeal, Misty was handpicked by Prince to star in his “Crimson and Clover” video and was a special guest artist at his concerts in Nice, France in July 2010 and in Madison Square Garden and the IZOD Center in December 2010. Her endorsements past and present include BlackBerry Bold, Proactiv, Payless, Capezio and Sansha.
What advice do you give to aspiring dancers? “I would say to really enjoy every moment you have to dance. This art form is so special and just being a part of it is pretty amazing. ”
Outside of dance, what kind of hobbies/activities do you enjoy? “I enjoy cooking, experimenting with new recipes and sharing with anyone who will eat it.”