(From left) ABT’s Erica Lall; NYCB’s India Bradley; Washington Ballet’s Nardia Boodoo; NYCB’s Rachel Hutsell (all photos by Rachel Neville)

Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet’s relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland’s persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. “The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad,” Copeland says. “The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves.”


Misty Copeland (photo by Jayme Thornton)Fortunately, there are trailblazers in every generation. Young black dancers rising through the ranks of top international companies are living proof that ballet can accept those who have what it takes to succeed, no matter what color their skin is. —Nicole Loeffler-Gladsone

Click a name to read more about each dancer:

Nardia Boodoo

Rachael Jones

Erica Lall

Precious Adams

Alexandra Terry

Amanda Morgan

Miranda Silveira

Rachel Hutsell

India Bradley

Jasmine Perry

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