Misty Copeland (b. Sept.10, 1982), first African American female soloist for American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Never studied ballet or gymnastics formally until teenage years. Her natural presence and skill came to the attention of her drill team coach. First introduced to ballet classes at local Boys & Girls Club. In 1997, Copeland won Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Award as best dancer. She became member of Studio Company in 2000, member of corps de ballet in 2001, and soloist in 2007.