Misty Copeland Poster & John Malveaux
John Malveaux &
Los Angeles County District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
Misty Copeland and the ABT danced FIREBIRD at the Los Angeles Music Center in a special fundraiser honoring Rita Moreno on July 7, 2016. While watching from a front row seat with full view of the orchestra pit, I noticed contrabassoon player Anthony Parnther as the only African American in the orchestra. Anthony is also the conductor of the Southeast Symphony, oldest African American founded symphony in the nation. Misty does not dance during the initial minutes of the production. When Misty enters, the audience response is combustible. The ABT Corps de Ballet included at least one and possibly two or three African Americans. While watching Misty dance, I recalled what Toscanni said to Marian Anderson, “A voice (talent) like yours is heard (seen) once in a hundred years.” During the curtain call, Misty was targeted with thunderous applause multiple times.
Through special arrangement, I briefly chatted with Misty immediately following the performance while she was still in costume and make up. Her radiant beauty and intellect seamlessly merge with her historic ballet accomplishments. Certainly there is more for Misty to accomplish in ballet and beyond. Please see photo taken at Music Center standing next to billboard of Misty and photo with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas before start of performance.