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This ballerina just made history. You don't have to like ballet to appreciate why she did.

From a young age, Misty Copeland met her fair share of people who told her she didn't have the "right legs" or "right skin color" for ballet. If they could only see her now.

If you've never heard of Misty Copeland, here's your chance to brush up.

Misty is an extremely talented ballerina.


Look at that angle! Look at that kick!

When Misty was just a teenager, she was winning national ballet contests and the Los Angeles Times called her a "ballet prodigy." This kind of success was unexpected, given Misty's age when she began training — 13, which is much later than most professional ballerinas start.

She's also black, in an industry that has historically been overwhelmingly white.

Misty joined the American Ballet Theatre as a dancer in 2000, and at the time was the only black woman dancing for them. In 2007, she became a soloist for ABT — making her only the third black soloist ever in ABT's history (and the first in about 20 years).

This year, Misty became the first black ballerina to play a lead role in the American Ballet Theatre's history.


That's her, right in front of the Metropolitan Opera House!

Yes, she's talented and brilliant at what she does, so this is great news. But also, given the lack of racial diversity in ballet, this is also a pretty big deal.

Watch Misty talk about why making history this way matters to her.