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December 18th, 2014
10:28 PM ET

Ballerina Misty Copeland makes history

Audiences watching the American Ballet Theater’s ‘The Nutcracker’ this year are seeing something that has never happened before, an African-American ballerina is playing the role of Clara. Misty Copeland is a trailblazer and speaks to Randi Kaye about her struggles to find acceptance in the ballet world.

Thank you to STEPS on Broadway and the American Ballet Theatre for allowing us to film in their facilities.

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Filed under: Randi Kaye
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. sspencer62

    Oh CNN...first of all, Misty is playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy and NOT Clara. Clara is a role played by a 12 year old.

    Also, she is NOT the first African American to play this principle lead role. Lauren Anderson of the Houston Ballet is the FIRST African American prima ballerina in the US. She played this role in 1990. Anderson danced in principle roles for over 20 years. She retired in 2006 and now teaches.

    December 27, 2014 at 11:33 am |
    • espandsjm

      The American Ballet Theater and the Houston Ballet are not even close to being on the same level! The ABT performs at the Met in NYC!

      December 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
      • melissa320

        The Houston Ballet is the fourth largest company in the country and has been invited to perform on the world's largest stages, including Moscow's Bolshoi.

        Not everything outside of NYC is podunk.

        January 10, 2015 at 3:11 am |
  2. kws11

    So, wait... she's committed, works hard, overcomes life's obstacles, and she SUCCEEDED. AND SHE'S BLACK! See, that last part doesn't matter much if you ignore your political group leaders and do all those first parts. If there really WAS some big secret white conspiracy to thwart blacks, you don't think they could have stopped a little ballerina?

    December 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
  3. staplemeknot

    Great story. Misty Copeland is a beautiful strong dancer who serves as an even stronger role model to aspiring African American dancers.

    As someone who has trained in ballet from a very young age , I too was told so many negative things about my body, like I was too shot , my legs were too fat etc. It is nice to see certain ballet companies admire the beauty, talent , and skill of the dancer , and not discriminate them because of their color or body "flaws "

    http://www.staplemeknot.com

    December 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  4. king6462

    Congratulations to Misty Copeland. A great accomplishment.

    Far less kudos to the journalists at CNN. Being the first soloist of color in the past 20 year is fantastic, but it is not historic. ABT is celebrating its 75th birthday. Anne Benna Sims and Nora Kimble both preceded Copeland as soloists at ABT. Why the need for a sensationalistic headline? Miss Copeland deserves tons of coverage and congratualtions. She does not deserve shoddy journalism/

    December 20, 2014 at 7:11 am |
  5. ncmathsadist

    Wow! She is incredibly beautiful, athletic and graceful. She is a platonic ideal of the term 'lithe.' Stupendous!

    December 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  6. vitavee73

    Glad to see any and all positive stories about Misty Copeland. She is proof that our African-American girls can aspire to do well in the arts and move past obstacles with perseverance. I'd rather see her on TV than these obscene (fake) Reality TV shows.

    December 19, 2014 at 7:56 am |

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