For immediate release | April 30, 2020

American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer and Author Misty Copeland to Open First-Ever ALA Virtual Event on June 24, 2020

CHICAGO—American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer and Author Misty Copeland first made history in 2007 as the second African American to be promoted to the rank of "soloist" in two decades at the company. In 2015, Copeland made history for the second time, when she became the first African American female principal "dancer" in the American Ballet Theatre's 75-year history. Copeland began her ballet studies at the age of 13, considerably late to begin the art form, but was immediately considered a bright star. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in four years—a feat unheard of for any classical dancer. The Opening Session will take place on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 10:00am – 11:00am.

Bunheads, available Fall 2020, is the first in a series of children’s picture books inspired by Copeland’s early dance experience. She tells the story of a young Misty, discovering her love for dance through the comic ballet, Coppélia. On her first day of class, Misty is absolutely captivated by the narrative of the ballet’s story and entranced by the dance. Nervous, yet excited, she decides to audition for one of the lead roles. As she prepares for the audition and eventually the performance, she learns to lean on her newfound friends for inspiration, as well as her own can-do spirit to dance her very best. Featuring themes of teamwork, friendship, dedication, and hard work, children everywhere will be inspired to reach for their dreams through Copeland’s pictorial interpretation.

Copeland is the bestselling author of Life in Motion, Ballerina Body, and Firebird. She is the recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Arts and was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. She was named to the "Time 100", Time magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people and was one of Glamour magazine's "Women of the Year." Copeland has taken a special interest in mentoring dancers of color and diversifying ballet. She's responded to letters from young people around the world, including aspiring dancers, and remains an active supporter of the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Copeland’s appearance at the event is sponsored by Penguin Young Readers.

American Library Association (ALA) will host ALA Virtual - Community Through Connection, an online event that will offer educational programming, special author events, and social networking on June 24-26, 2020. ALA looks forward to this unique opportunity for members and library supporters to stay connected as we move forward to empower our profession and support our communities.

The event format, specific content, and additional details will be announced soon on the new ALAVirtualEvent.ORG website. The library community is encouraged to join us online as we learn, grow, and most importantly, lean on our fellow librarians and library workers as we adapt and evolve in these changing times. Registration will open on Monday, May 11, 2020, Noon (Central).

Ways to stay in touch and get updates include following our hashtag #alavirtual20 and social media: Instagram, ALA Twitter, and ALA Facebook.

Related Links

2020 ALA Virtual Event


Donna Hunter

Conference Marketing Specialist

American Library Association / Conference Services