The VIPP Report: Misty Copeland named first black female dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theatre


Special report contributed by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Louisville

Misty Copeland is having a great week in the eyes of the arts community.  Copeland made her New York debut in the lead role of “Swan Lake”, which is one of the most important roles in a ballerina’s repertoire.  Today, she woke up to some even bigger news.  She had received a promotion.  The Missouri-born dancer was named the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre.  Copeland is the first black woman to achieve that status in the company’s 75-year history.

A principal dancer explained to me is the highest rank within a professional dance company.  They are likely the star of the company.

Over the last several years, the 32 year old has become a strong voice for diversity in dance.  She even penned a best-selling memoir, , “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.”

Throughout the day, she has received congratulatory messages from entertainers and other artists in the industry from Taye Diggs, Star Jones to the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Copeland joined the company in 2001 and was appointed in a soloist spot in August 2007.

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The VIPP Report: The Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour makes a stop in Louisville with pitching star Mo’ne Davis

Courtesy: Muhammad Ali Center

Courtesy: Muhammad Ali Center

Special report contributed by Sherlene Shaklin, WHAS11 Television, ABC Louisville

Today, the Muhammad Ali Center received some very special guests.  The Anderson Monarchs arrived in Louisville and wanted to take a tour of the facility.  The Monarchs also feature youth pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis.  In the photo you see her standing next to the Ali Center’s President Donald Lassere.  The young Monarchs will be getting a first-hand look at the places where the major civil rights events of the 20th century took place as part of their Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour.  They will meet people who were involved in the Movement, as well as African American ballplayers who played during this era. They’ll also play games against local youth teams in every city and get a chance to make new friends from all around the country.

This summer, as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the Negro Leagues, and the Civil Rights Movement, their  13 year-old Anderson Monarchs is embarking on a 23-day, 21-city journey – barnstorming their way across America – down through the Deep South, up through the Mid-West, and back east to New York City and, ultimately, back home to Philadelphia – over 4000 miles in all. They are doing this on an authentic Flxible Clipper touring bus.

I just spoke to the coach, and he tells me that the team will play tonight against another local youth team in Skyview Park in Louisville at 7:00 p.m.

The purpose of the tour is to have the youth meet surviving players from the Negro Leagues, visit historic sites – such as Jackie Robinson’s grave site in Brooklyn, Wrigley Field, the Field of Dreams in Iowa, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum, the three remaining stadiums in the country which Negro League teams called home, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

For additional information on the Civil Rights Barnstorming Tour visit their website at:

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