Misty Copeland On Broadening 'Beauty' And Being Black In Ballet : Code Switch : NPR: For ballerina Misty Copeland, the role of the Firebird is a personally symbolic one. "It was one of the first really big principal roles I was ever given an opportunity to dance with American Ballet Theatre," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "It was a huge step for the African-American community."
And, she believes it's just one step in the larger direction that ballet is going. In her new children's book, Firebird, Copeland seeks to inspire other young African-American dancers. In a ballet company attempting to create an experience of uniformity, she says, "It's hard to be the one that stands out."
The book is dedicated to her mentor Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American ballerina to tour the country.