The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance will present a conversation with popular American Ballet Theater soloist Misty Copeland on February 16 at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh 50 (room 50 in McCosh Hall) on the Princeton University campus. The ballet superstar will discuss her professional career, her struggles as an African American in the ballet world, and her preparations to dance Swan Lake in American Ballet Theater’s spring season. Princeton’s Center for African American Studies and Princeton University Ballet are cosponsoring the conversation. The event, the third and final in the 2015 Masters of Dance Series, is free and open to the public, however tickets are required.
Copeland is a popular soloist with American Ballet Theater (ABT), the third African American soloist in the company’s history. She is often described as a ballet phenom, having taken her first class at the age of 13, an advanced age to begin training in this traditional art form, and within three months was dancing en pointe. Soon after she was cast as Clare in The Chocolate Nutcracker, the Debbie Allen-narrated African American version of The Nutcracker. She won first place in the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight awards in 1998 at the age of 15. Copeland received scholarships and invitations to train with a number of ballet programs including ABT’s Summer Intensive program where she was named National Coca Cola Scholar. From among 150 dancers in the 2000 summer program, Copeland was chosen as one of six to join ABT’s Studio Company. After touring China with ABT she was asked to join the company’s corps de ballet in 2001 and in 2007 was elevated to soloist. She has received a Princess Grace Award and the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts.
Copeland has danced roles in the works of Twyla Tharp, William Forsythe, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor and Alexei Ratmansky, among others. This spring she will dance the lead in ABT’s production of Swan Lake.
Copeland’s popularity and personal story have led to media coverage in People, Time, O, Dance Magazine, W, New York Times, CNN, BET, Fox News, and the Tavis Smiley Show.
The conversation with Copeland will be moderated by dance faculty member Tina Fehlandt. Fehlandt was an integral part of the Mark Morris Dance Group for 20 years, from its inception in 1980 to January 2000, appearing in over 50 works choreographed by Mark Morris. She has staged Morris’ work for dance companies and universities throughout the U.S. and internationally. She has been the subject of feature articles in Self Magazine, Dance Magazine, and Dance Teacher. In Ballet Review Fehlandt was hailed as “one of the most beautiful dancers anywhere.” She is also a well-known teacher of both ballet and modern dance, a choreographer whose work has been widely performed, and she has served as an artist-in-residence at a number of institutions. In addition Fehlandt was production coordinator for the Emmy Award-winning Dance in America series.
Following the conversation Copeland will sign copies of her recent memoir, Life in Motion.
Advance ticket reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets will be available starting February 13 and can be reserved through University Ticketing at 609-258-9220 and at the Frist Campus Center box office. There is a maximum of two tickets per person.