Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
7:30 PM EST, Virtual Zoom Webinar
Co-sponsored in association with the Office of Multicultural Advancement and media sponsor WAER.
Copeland began her ballet studies at 13, and at 15 won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on a full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. She joined the ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000 and the ABT as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001.
In August 2007, Copeland became the company’s second African American soloist and the first in two decades. She was promoted to principal dancer in August 2015, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. She made her Broadway debut in the role of “Ivy Smith/Miss Turnstiles” with the critically acclaimed show “On the Town.”
She has performed in a variety of classical and contemporary roles with ABT, including the title role in “Firebird,” Clara in “The Nutcracker,” Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” and Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty.”
She holds a number of honors and endorsements, but has found her passion in giving back. She was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2013, and was appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition by President Obama in 2014. She has been a Turnaround Arts Ambassador since 2016, representing the Gregory Jocko Jackson School in Brooklyn.
Copeland received an honorary degree from the University of Hartford in 2014 for her contributions to classical ballet and for helping to diversify the art form.
Moderated by Shanel Bailey ’19
Shanel Bailey is a 2019 Musical Theatre Grad, OTHC Scholar, and Gilman Scholar, who just after graduating joined the cast of The Book of Mormon on Broadway as an onstage-swing and Nabulungi understudy! Most recently, she made her TV debut guest-starring in an episode of The Equalizer on CBS starring Queen Latifah.
Series events typically take place on campus, but – following public health guidance due to the COVID-19 pandemic – this spring’s lectures will all be virtual, viewable via Zoom. Audience members will be able to submit questions for consideration as part of the experience, time permitting. Connection information will be provided closer to each event.