Misty Copeland has been breaking ballerina barriers everywhere she goes.
She became the only African-American soloist in the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. She joined the theatre at the age of 16 and has only progressed from there.
When asked about her dream roles only a year ago, she said they would likely include Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle and Odette in Swan Lake.
Well, in the spring, one of those dreams is coming true for Misty Copeland!
She will make her American debut in Swan Lake with the Washington Ballet in April, the company announced Wednesday.
Misty Copeland will make her American debut in “Swan Lake” with the Washington Ballet in April with Washington Ballet’s Brooklyn Mack as her partner and love interest, Prince Siegfried. Mack is also African American, and the two will effectively shatter the all-white stereotype of “Swan Lake,” the most traditional of ballets.
Misty Copeland will dance the leading role of Odette/Odile at the Kennedy Center, with the Washington Ballet’s Brooklyn Mack as her partner and love interest, Prince Siegfried, who also happens to be African-American.
This is some serious barrier-breaking. The roles of Odette and Seigfried are traditionally danced by white principals, but not anymore!
“I’ve been a fan of Misty’s for years,” Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre said in an interview Wednesday.
“There’s a freshness and newness that she brings to what she’s doing, and with the attention that she’s receiving now, it’s an exciting moment. To give her the opportunity to dance her first Swan Lake in the U.S. this spring, and to pair her with Brooklyn Mack, questions some notions about who should be dancing principal roles in classical ballet."
Webre continued, “Having two African Americans dancing together seems to provide a fresh take on this classic, while challenging traditional notions of what a ballerina and principal male dancer should look like in the classical canon.”
Misty Copeland is also over the moon about her new role.
“It certainly goes against traditional casting. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to show that African American ballerinas can also conform to the traditional vision for a swan as feminine and sylph-like while also being artistically and physically powerful.”
What an exciting time for Misty Copeland! What do you think about her historical new role?