Dance education

Misty Copeland launches foundation to promote diversity in dance education

Misty Copeland is embarking on her next big adventure. The accomplished dancer launched The Misty Copeland Foundationa new non-profit organization.

“The Misty Copeland Foundation aims to support community opportunities to explore dance, especially programs that engage young girls and boys of color; advancing the art form of ballet through greater diversity, equity and inclusion; and pursue social justice through artistic activism,” she revealed to Ebony.

Returning to her roots, Copeland has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Using my own personal experiences with Boys & Girls Clubs, starting in a free ballet class, I created our first program, which is called ‘Be Bold,'” Copeland shared at a VIP party. event organized by Breitling at their Midtown Manhattan flagship store. Copeland is part of the Swiss luxury watch brand’s “Spotlight Squad”, which focuses on women who strive to change the world. “It’s an after-school dance program that’s offered at five different boys and girls clubs in the Bronx, [N.Y.].”

Emphasizing that the program is far more important than finding the next prodigy, “Ballet provides leadership development,” Copeland said. “It’s about giving these kids the opportunity to be part of a discipline, to be surrounded by live music, to use their bodies, to start building the tools to be able to be leaders in their communities. “

Share with Ebony the importance of creating the Misty Copeland Foundation, the prima ballerina said: “After more than 20 years as a professional dancer, striving not only to climb the ballet ladder, but also to create more access and opportunities for black and brown people, I felt that beyond being a stage presence and representation, starting a foundation could be the real impactful community work needed to see systemic change.

Copeland, who made history as the first African-American principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, has paid tribute to a world-renowned superstar for helping launch her illustrious career.

“Around the age of seven or eight, Mariah Carey came into the picture for me,” Copeland revealed. “Being able to see someone that I could see myself through, this depiction of being a biracial woman who is beautiful, talented and successful, I think that’s what drew me to it. And that’s her music which made me want to start choreographing.

Copeland has also written a new book on the coffee table. “More than changing the history of black dancers, my book, black ballet flats, tells the stories of black ballerinas whose stories have not been told seriously,” she said. Ebony. “It’s a celebration of women of color who have impacted me and the world of ballet. Knowing our history is powerful, and that’s what I want black people to know we have: the power and the legacy in ballet.

Running a nonprofit and writing books aren’t the only new ventures keeping Copeland on her toes. She and her husband Olu Evans are the proud parents of their first child, six-month-old Jackson. “I love him so much,” she exclaimed with a proud smile.

To learn more about the Misty Copeland Foundation, visit mistycopelandfoundation.org.