SAN PEDRO — The intersection adjacent to San Pedro City Ballet was dedicated Dec. 21 as Misty Copeland Square, honoring the American Ballet Theatre’s first black female principal dancer.
Copeland began training at San Pedro City Ballet when she was 13 years old.
City Councilman Joe Buscaino called Copeland “a role model to women and girls everywhere — to my daughter Gia, to all the dance students across the globe, to your hometown of San Pedro and to every American child.”
“Your hard work, dedication and resilience prove that you are the epitome of what makes America great,” Buscaino, who represents San Pedro, said during the ceremony at West 13th Street and South Pacific Avenue.
A mural of Copeland on the side of San Pedro City Ballet was unveiled in connection with the square dedication.
“This is insane,” Copeland told the crowd. “Growing up, San Pedro was the only place I considered home; it was the only place where I felt a real connection with the community.
“No matter what platform I’m speaking on, I always give credit to this incredible, small, warm community that made me the person that I am today.”
Following the ceremony, Copeland taught a master class to 50 students at San Pedro’s Warner Grand Theatre. Proceeds benefited the San Pedro City Ballet’s DancEd Steps Up outreach program, which provides a wide array of dance instruction to children in public schools that lack dance education.
Copeland joined the American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 2001. She became its second black female soloist in 2007 and was prompted to principal dancer in June.
It has been a remarkable year for Copeland. Since her promotion to principal dancer she has been featured on “60 Minutes,” appeared on the cover of Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people and been interviewed by Barbara Walters as one of the 10 most fascinating people of 2015
“It’s possible to come out of a small town and succeed,” Copeland said after the ceremony. “You just have to believe in yourself and have support.”