She began her ballet career in a Boys and Girls Club, in gym socks. Some said she'd never make it.

Misty Copeland proved them wrong and danced her way to her dreams.

Plenty of people know the Misty Copeland story by now, but in case you don't, here are the highlights:

She started ballet at the age of 13, much later than most career ballerinas.

Even then, she began at a local Boys & Girls Club, in a pair of gym socks. She was living in a motel with her mom and siblings when she and her talent were discovered.


She had a different build than ballet traditionalists were used to. Even though she worked day and night at honing her natural talent, she received an early rejection letter that told her she was all wrong for ballet.

GIF via Under Armour.

GIF via Under Armour.

Even recently, she wasn't certain she'd ever make it this far.

Misty joined American Ballet Theatre, "one of the great dance companies in the world," in 2001. She expressed fears in her 2014 memoir that in spite of her hard work and achievement, the possibility she may never be named a principal dancer left her feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. Misty has been acutely aware of the hope she represents for young dancers everywhere:

"My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company. That if I don't rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them."

But today, ABT announced their new promotions.

And Misty Copeland's name was among them — one of two soloists moved up to the principal position. And it's a day of celebration and happy tears for all of us who've been waiting with bated breath to see her succeed.

Seeing tradition for tradition's sake give way to a world where everyone with merit can succeed is a beautiful thing to behold, and who knew it would be a little girl in socks from the Boys & Girls Club to help make that happen.

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