It’s hard to believe that we’re still marking when black people accomplish “firsts”—that is, the first time a black person does this or that—but Misty Copeland’s trailblazing path in the ballet world is just one of the more recent “firsts” to learn about, watch and applaud.
Last year Copeland became the first African-American ballerina to become a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre—one of the nation’s top competitive ballet companies. A new PBS documentary airing Feb. 8 at 10 p.m. EST will shed light on Copeland’s historic career and how she’s using her background and culture to unravel conventions in American ballet.
“A Ballerina’s Tale is an intimate look at this groundbreaking artist as she shatters barriers and transcends her art,” a press statement from the film’s production company reads.
A 30-second trailer is out, and it’s really good.
“When people think ballet, they think of Swan Lake, but they don’t usually think of a black ‘white swan,’ ” a woman in the trailer says as the film cuts to clips of Copeland tying up her ballet shoes.
Another, longer clip sheds light on how Copeland had to undergo surgery because of a injury she incurred as a result of being a ballerina.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.