Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty Copeland began her ballet studies at the late age of 13 on the basketball court of her local Boys & Girls Club, wearing not leotards and a tutu, but rather simple gym clothing. Just two years later, she won first place in the prestigious Music Center Spotlight Awards.
She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. Misty joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001, and in August 2007 became the company’s second African American female Soloist and the first in two decades. In August 2015, Misty was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history, and she made her Broadway debut in the role of “Ivy Smith/Miss Turnstiles” with the critically acclaimed show, On The Town.
Misty’s passion is giving back. She has worked with many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. Misty was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in June 2013. In 2014, President Obama appointed Misty to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. And in 2015, she traveled to Rwanda with MindLeaps to help launch its girls program and to establish The Misty Copeland Scholarship.