By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that New York City’s American Ballet Theatre (ABT) recently promoted dancer Misty Copeland to principal, making her the first Black principal in the company’s 75-year history. But that wasn’t the only important promotion that was made.
Stella Abrera became the first Filipina-American to ascend to the rank of principal. (Two promotions, two history-makers this round for the ABT, if you’re keeping track.) She was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when she was four years old. Beginning in Pasadena, Abrera also studied ballet in San Diego and Sydney, Australia. She joined ABT in 1996, and became a soloist in 2001. Abrera’s various roles have included the titular role in “Cinderella,” Emilia in “Othello,” and Clara and The Snow Queen in different versions of “The Nutcracker.”
Ballet is an art form notorious for having little diversity. I hope Abrera’s promotion (and Copeland’s) opens the door for more non-white dancers.