In Honor of Her Swan Lake Moment, a Misty Copeland #TBT

June 24, 2015

These days, it seems like there’s a Major Misty Copeland Moment every minute. But yesterday was huge even by Misty standards: The gorgeous American Ballet Theatre soloist made her New York debut as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

Unsurprisingly, it was EPIC.

It wasn’t Copeland’s first time in the role—she performed it with ABT on tour in Australia a few months back, and recently danced it in a special guest appearance with The Washington Ballet. But yesterday’s show marked a milestone both for Copeland and for the ballet world as a whole: a key performance of an iconic role by a dancer many hope will soon become ABT’s first black principal. And Copeland’s fans came out in droves to cheer her on.

Instagram and Twitter are crawling with photos and video from the show—behind-the-scenes shots, curtain call footage, images of Copeland receiving flowers from her extraordinary mentor Raven Wilkinson. Please spend your whole day getting lost in that #mistycopeland action. But because it’s Thursday, I thought we’d pay tribute to Misty’s milestone in a slightly different way: with a #TBT timeline showing just how far she’s come.

Here’s a 15-year-old Copeland in Kitri’s variation, already showing off so much personality and style:

Here she is three years later, dancing the Queen of the Dryads variation at ABT’s summer program in 2000, and boasting even stronger technique:

Here’s Copeland auditioning for ABT, looking rock-solid:

From the collection of Misty Copeland

Here she is on a 2012 ABT poster as the title role in The Firebird—one of her first big breaks:

And here’s Copeland (with ABT principal James Whiteside) bowing for an adoring crowd after her Swan Lake performance yesterday:

Gene Schiavone

Huge congratulations, Misty! We can’t wait to see the heights you’ll climb to next.