(CNN) – “I’m just so honored, so extremely honored to be a principal dancer; to be an African American and to be in this position.” Misty Copeland, the 32-year-old Tour de Force ballerina is making history after being promoted to principal dancer with the storied American Ballet Theatre.
Copeland is the first African American woman to achieve this top ranking honor in the prestigious dance company’s 75-year-history. “I had moments of doubting myself and wanting to quit because I didn’t know there would be a future for an African American woman to make it to this level,” said Copeland.
She is a 14-year veteran of ABT, and she broke ground when she was appointed soloist in 2007 as the first African American ballerina to star in Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Copeland started her career at the unconventional late age of 13 at a boys and girls club, while living in a motel room with her single mom and siblings. She told CNN’s Randi Kaye, ballet changed her life; “It became this escape for me.”
Her immense talent and athleticism, vaulting her to success in spite of the critics. And serving as an inspiration to those who don’t fit the mold of ‘traditional’ ballet culture. “So many young dancers of colors stop dancing at an early age because they just don’t think there will be a career path for them,” said Copeland.
The ever-so-poised Copeland, fighting back tears as she reflected on achieving her lifetime dream; “My dream has been ABT since I was 13 and to be a principal dancer is reaching those heights. I’m just excited to do more and to continue to grow as an artist and hopefully see more brown dancers come into the company in my lifetime.”