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Misty Copeland has officially become the first African-American female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theater, according to the New York Times

Copeland, who recently made the cover of Time Magazine, has been candid about her ambition to become the first black principal dancer of the nation’s most prestigious ballet theater company.

Her openness about race in ballet has made her one of the most recognizable figures in dance. 

“My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company,” Copeland wrote in her memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, which was published last year. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”

After 14 years with the American Ballet Theater, Copeland’s dream has finally been realized. 

She addressed the crowd at Tuesday’s announcement with gratitude. “Thank you so, so much for your support — it means so much to me to have you all here,” she said. “It’s such a special day for me, and for so many people who have come before me. So thank you for being here on this amazing day.”

Watch a recent CBS 60 Minutes report on Copeland’s ballet journey below:

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