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(Amsterdam News) — Nearly one month ago at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Misty Copeland, the first African-American soloist in the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), shared an evening in conversation with Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American dancer hired as a permanent member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1954. The conversation was moderated by writer and performer Brenda Dixon-Gottschild.  This meeting, Copeland notes, was an opportunity that she will cherish. She confesses, “I’m so happy to have Ms. Wilkinson as part of my life.” This truth about being the “first African-American soloist with the American Ballet Theatre” sits just fine with Copeland because she is proud to carry this charge. “I’m proud to represent Black ballet dancers; it motivates me, it pushes me to give more to young dancers who look up to.”

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