Magazine article Variety

Misty Copeland

Magazine article Variety

Misty Copeland

Article excerpt

"I took my first ballet class on a basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club," says Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theatre's first African-American principal dancer.

So it's a full-circle moment now that Copeland, as one of Variety's Power of Women honorées, has chosen to highlight Project Plie, the diversity initiative for which ABT has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Project Plie aims to create an infrastructure of training and support for underrepresented communities in the classical ballet world. As part of the program, Boys & Girls Clubs around the U.S. host activities and master classes led by teachers certified in the ABT training curriculum.

Copeland, the Kansas City native whose entree into ballet was enabled by the encouragement and training of a local teacher, knows the importance of mentorship, especially for aspiring dancers of color who might not see a place for themselves in a classical ballet world that is still mostly white. …

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