Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in San Pedro, California, Misty Copeland began her ballet studies at the age of 13 at the San Pedro Dance Center. At the age of fifteen she won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She then began her studies at the Lauridsen Ballet Center. Copeland has studied at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive on full scholarship and was declared ABT’s National Coca-Cola Scholar in 2000. She has danced Kitri in Don Quixote and the Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara in The Nutcracker. Copeland was a recipient of a 2008 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts.
Copeland joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000, then joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001 and was appointed a Soloist in August 2007. Her roles with the Company include Gamzatti, a Shade and the Lead D’Jampe in La Bayadère, Milkmaid in The Bright Stream, Autumn in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Blossom in James Kudelkas’s Cinderella, Swanilda and he Mazurka Lady in Coppélia, Gulnare and an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, Mercedes, Driad Queen, the lead gypsy and a flower girl in Don Quixote, Duo Concertant, the Masks in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII, the Firebird in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, Flower Girl and Lead Can-Can in Gaîté Parisienne, the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, Columbine and one of The Nutcracker’s Sisters, Spanish Dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, a Gypsy in Petrouchka, the Lead Polovtsian Girl in the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, the Saracen Dancer in Raymonda, a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Florine, the Fairy of Valor in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette-Odile, the pas de trios, a cygnet and the Hungarian Princess in Swan Lake, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.
She danced leading roles in Birthday Offering and Bach Partita, C. to C. (Close to Chuck), Dumbarton, Glow – Stop, One of Three and With a Chance of Rain.
And also and roles in Airs, Amazed in Burning Dreams, Baker’s Dozen, Ballo della Regina, Black Tuesday, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Brief Fling, Company B, Désir, Gong, Hereafter, In the Upper Room, Overgrown Path, Pretty Good Year, Private Light, Raymonda Divertissements, Sechs Tänze, Sinatra Suite, Sinfonietta, Thirteen Diversions, Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison and workwithinwork.