Ballerina Misty Copeland, principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, returned home to San Pedro to many honors, including the naming of 13th Street and Pacific Avenue as Misty Copeland Square. She also conducted a master class at the Warner Grand Theatre. Hundreds gathered to celebrate Misty Copeland’s homecoming, square unveiling in San Pedro.
Copeland, the 33-year-old dance superstar who became the American Ballet Theatre’s first black female principal dancer in June, returned to her hometown Monday for the unveiling of her very own intersection.
“I never imagined I would see so many of me so big,” the petite prima ballerina joked before a crowd of 500 onlookers in front of a towering mural of herself at the studio at 13th Street and Pacific Avenue, known officially as Misty Copeland Square.
The intersection is just a few blocks away from the Boys & Girls Club where Copeland first encountered ballet as a shy 13-year-old during a free class taught by San Pedro City Ballet Director Cindy Bradley.
“Growing up in the atmospheres that I grew up in, San Pedro was the only place I ever considered home,” Copeland said, tearing up. “There really hasn’t been a place that’s replaced that in my heart since I lived here and I’m so proud, and I never forget San Pedro.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino called Copeland “the perfect example of why America is great.”
“America loves their ballerina, San Pedro loves its ballerina,” Buscaino said. “From the age of 13, she navigated through the gauntlet of pitfalls in her personal life and career, evading poverty, tackling race and overcoming a potentially career-ending injury. Misty Copeland is being celebrated because we recognize the degree of difficulty life has dealt her.”
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