Pia Catton, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW YORK (The Wall Street Journal) — Promotions usually mean higher pay, maybe a fancy title. But forMisty Copeland, it means breaking a color barrier in the elite world of ballet.
Ms. Copeland is a soloist, a notch just below principal dancer, with American Ballet Theatre. If promoted to principal, she will be the first African-American woman to reach the top rank at the 75-year-old company—and one of the few to achieve that status within classical ballet in the U.S.
Speculation about Ms. Copeland, whose pop-culture profile has soared in the last year, is mounting. New principals are typically announced at the end of the company’s run at the Metropolitan Opera House—coming this season on July 4. And Ballet Theatre’s top ranks thinned this year with the retirement of three female principals, leaving just six.
Ms. Copeland, at age 32, is dancing principal roles. Last week, she made her debut as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.” On Wednesday, she will dance the lead role in “Swan Lake” for the first time with Ballet Theatre at the Met. In 2012, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky selected her as one of three rotating leads in “Firebird.”
But her rapidly growing popularity is fueling promotion chatter beyond ballet circles.