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Misty Copeland: Honoring a Trailblazing Black Ballerina

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Misty Copeland: Honoring a Trailblazing Black Ballerina

In-Person and Online Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Friday, November 18, 2022 - 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0502
In-person Ticket Holders: Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
Online Ticket Holders: Zoom
Select your Registration
In Person Member
Online Member
In Person Non-Member
Online Non-Member

Please Note: In-person tickets are not available at this time. Please consider online ticket options if interested in attending this program.

Registration Advisory: This program has multiple ticket options depending on your choice to attend in person at the S. Dillon Ripley Center or as an online program using Zoom. Before you register, please refer to our in-person vs. online program procedural documentation to learn about our current terms and conditions.

Misty Copeland made history as the first African American principal ballerina at American Ballet Theatre. Her talent, passion, and perseverance enabled her to make strides no one had accomplished before. But as she will tell you, achievement never happens in a void.

Behind her, supporting her rise was her mentor, the late Raven Wilkinson. She had been virtually alone in her quest to breach the all-white ballet world when she fought to be taken seriously as a Black ballerina in the 1950s and ’60s. A trailblazer in the world of ballet decades before Copeland’s time, Wilkinson faced overt and casual racism, hostile crowds, and death threats for having the audacity to dance ballet.

In her new book, The Wind at My Back, Copeland tells the story of two unapologetically Black ballerinas, their friendship, and how they changed each other—and the dance world—forever. Copeland shares her own struggles with racism and exclusion in her pursuit of this dream career and honors the women like Raven Wilkinson who paved the way for her but whose contributions have gone unheralded.

She celebrates the connection she made with her mentor, the only teacher who could truly understand the obstacles she faced beyond the technical and artistic demands of a ballerina.

In conversation with Julie Kent, artistic director of The Washington Ballet, join Copeland as she discusses the importance of mentorship, of shared artistic heritage, and of respecting the past to ensure a stronger future.

For those who attend in person, pre-signed copies of The Wind at My Back (Grand Central Publishing) are available for purchase on-site.

General Information

Registration for in-person tickets will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, November 18.