Today, American Ballet Theatre announced that longtime company soloists Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera have been promoted to principal dancer. San Francisco Ballet star Maria Kochetkova and Royal Danish Ballet principal Alban Lendorf will also join ABT next season as principals (though they will remain principals with their respective companies), and Boston Ballet principal Jeffrey Cirio joins as a soloist. Corps de ballet members Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Luciana Paris, Arron Scott and Cassandra Trenary have been promoted to soloist.
American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland is not the first African American woman to dance the iconic role of Odette/Odile. And some warn, rightly so, that the rich history of black ballerinas (Lauren Anderson, Debra Austin, Anne Benna Sims, Nora Kimball and Virginia Johnson, to name just a few) has gotten lost in all the publicity hype surrounding Copeland. Others complain that her PR campaign is an overly aggressive attempt to achieve principal status.
It’s been a whirlwind year for American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland. In addition to publishing her book, starring in a viral Under Amour ad campaign and being appointed a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (oh, and gracing our June/July cover), she can now add television star and executive producer to the list. Last week, Oxygen Media announced that a new reality series, “The Misty Copeland Project,” is in the works.