Misty Copeland to perform in Ja
Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, will be in Jamaica for a three-day period August 28-30.
Copeland will be accompanied by Desmond Richardson, the first African-American principal male dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, as part of a 25-member dance delegation to the island. The visit is facilitated by the United States Embassy, in collaboration with Plie for the Arts Foundation, as part of the embassy's thrust to further strengthen and enhance US support of the arts in Jamaica.
Through this partnership, Plie for the Arts Foundation will engage approximately 200 dancers from varying dance groups across several high schools and vulnerable communities across the island. Additionally, the programme will have the US dance professionals conducting workshop sessions, master classes and a seminar over the three-day period. These workshops will present varying dance styles and techniques in ballet, jazz, Horton and modern contemporary.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in San Pedro, California, Copeland began her ballet studies at the late age of 13. At age 15, she won first place in the Music Centre Spotlight Awards. She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive on full scholarships, and was declared ABT's National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000.
Copeland joined ABT's Studio Company in September 2000, and the American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001. In August 2007, she became the company's second African-American female soloist the first in two decades. In June 2015, she was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African-American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history.
In 2008, Copeland was honoured with the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts a two-year fellowship awarded to young artists who exhibit extraordinary talent, providing them additional resources in order to attain their full potential. Performing a variety of classical and contemporary roles, one of Misty's most important roles was performing the title role in Firebird, in 2012 with new choreography by the much sought after choreographer, Alexei Ratmansky.
In December 2014, she performed the lead role of Clara in American Ballet Theatre's production of The Nutcracker, also choreographed by Ratmansky. Copeland made history in the fall of 2014 as the first black woman to perform the lead role of Odette/Odile in American Ballet Theatre's Swan Lake, during the company's inaugural tour to Australia. She reprised the role during ABT's Metropolitan Opera House spring season in June 2015, as well as debuted as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet.
Copeland's passion is giving back. She has worked with many charitable organisations, and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed her to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
She is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Life in Motion, co-written with award-winning journalist and author Charisse Jones, published in March 2014. She also has a picture book, titled Firebird done in collaboration with award-winning illustrator and author Christopher Myers, and published in September 2014. In 2014, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford for her contributions to classical ballet and helping to diversify the art form.