Catalyst is an event packed with excitement for everyone attending Phi Theta Kappa’s international convention, and one of the most exciting parts of attending is hearing from the keynote speakers.
Taking the Catalyst stage as a speaker this year is Misty Copeland!
Misty Copeland is a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. She made history as the first Black woman to achieve this distinction in the company’s 75-year legacy.
At 13, Misty began studying ballet. Despite starting her dancing career later than her peers, Misty was dancing en pointe within three months.
At 15, she won first place at the Music Center Spotlight Awards. She honed her skills at the San Francisco Ballet School and received a full scholarship to American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive course.
In 2000, Misty earned distinction as American Ballet Theatre’s National Coca-Cola Scholar and joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. In April 2001, Misty Copeland achieved a promotion to a member of the corps de ballet. Six years later in August 2007, she became the company’s second African American female soloist.
In 2012, Misty landed the most pivotal role in her career performing the title role of Firebird. This was one of her earliest major roles in American Ballet Theatre.
Later, she went on to perform as some of the most famous roles in ballet, including Clare in The Nutcracker. In 2014, she broke precedent as the first Black woman in history to perform the lead role in American Ballet Theatre’s production of Swan Lake. One year later, Misty Copeland made history as the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer.
In addition to dancing for American Ballet Theatre, she has performed with recording artists, like Taylor Swift, Camilla Cabello, and Common. In 2018, she also danced in Disney’s film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Her mesmerizing performances in iconic ballet roles and her unwavering commitment to the arts have solidified her as one of the most iconic ballerinas in history.
Misty is also a New York Time’s Bestselling Author. She has authored Life In Motion, Ballerina Body, Black Ballerinas, and The Wind at My Back. She has also written and worked with illustrators on picture books Bunheads and Firebird.
In addition to her successful career as a ballerina and author, Misty is an avid philanthropist. She is an ambassador of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which she is also an alum, and MindLeaps, an arts education program based in Rwanda that helps young people get off the streets and into an academic setting to help enhance their lives.
In 2022, she launched The Misty Copeland Foundation, striving to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the dance world.
Misty has been featured in several publications, including the cover of Time Magazine for the Time 100. In 2021, Misty was the recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor. In 2023, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from New York University.
Phi Theta Kappa cannot wait to welcome Misty Copeland as a guest speaker at Catalyst 2024.
Register to see Misty Copeland at Catalyst 2024.