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How Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland Shattered Barriers

September 21, 2018 2:00 PM
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When Misty Copeland first joined the American Ballet Theater, one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, at age 17, she couldn’t help but feel like an outsider. “We don’t know in history that black women, from the beginning of time in ballet, have been told to lighten their skin, and to shade their nose in a certain way to look white,” Copeland told an audience at a WeWork office in New York City on Sept. 17. “A big part of my youth at American Ballet Theater was hearing those words.”

Copeland, however, more than proved that she belonged. In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. That same year, she was named to the TIME 100, TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people. Since then, Copeland has ...

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