Misty Copeland portrait photographPhoto by Masterclass

Misty Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015. She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird, to name a few.

She has performed alongside cultural icons such as Prince for his Welcome 2 America tour; Taylor Swift at the American Music Awards; Camilla Cabello, Common, Ben Platt, and dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy at the Grammy Awards; as well as the televised Prince Grammy Tribute performing with award-winning recording artist H.E.R. Copeland made her Broadway debut in On The Town in 2015 and her major motion picture debut in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms in 2018.

Copeland is an avid philanthropist and in 2022, she launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, with its first signature program BE BOLD, which aims to bring greater diversity, equity and inclusion to dance, especially ballet. She is an ambassador and alum of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and MindLeaps, a Rwanda-based arts program that helps young people get off the streets and into an academic setting to help enhance their lives.

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Copeland’s production company, Life In Motion Productions, is focused on offering representative stories of artists - past, present, and future - and normalizing the arts experience for everyone. Her first independently produced project, Flower, is a silent arts activism film using dance to help raise awareness about intergenerational equity. 

She is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Life In Motion, Ballerina Body, Black Ballerinas, The Wind At My Back, and picture books titled Bunheads and Firebird.

In 2021, Copeland was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor and in 2023, she received the Trailblazer Icon Award at The Grio Awards, was named to The Root 100 list, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York University. In 2024, she received the Innovator Award from the African American Film Critics Association. Prior honors include Glamour’s Women of the Year, Black Girls Rock! Awards, and Time 100 Most Influential People.