Misty Copeland inspires the next generation of Memphis ballerinas

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Even if you don't follow the ballet odds are you've heard the name Misty Copeland this week.

She was named the first African American principal dancer at Ballet Theatre.

Dancers in the Mid-South said it was about time.

"I saw an interview with her a few years ago and thought, she's amazing! I love her!" said Ashley Hannah Davis.

She's a graduate of Ballet Memphis, a teacher and a huge fan.

She said younger girls need to see dancers who look like them on stage.

"They come back and say 'I saw you on stage!' That's was how I felt looking at Misty," Davis explained.

Ballet Memphis has always been a school that proudly represented the city's population on stage.

They have been active in their outreach program and offered scholarships to get kids from all corners of Memphis into their classes.

Something Copeland didn't have as she developed as a dancer.

"I had moments of doubt, and even wanted to quit. Because I had doubts there would be a future for an African American woman to make it to this level," Copeland told reporters.

Copeland was told she didn't have the body, the skill or the look to make it in ballet.

Luckily she proved those critics wrong.

Now she's doing advertisements for companies like Under Armor.

Davis said the more Misty's who make it, the more dancer's they'll inspire.

"It's difficult seeing that you are not like the other people in this room. It makes you stand out and work harder as well," David added.

Copeland will take center stage this fall for the world to see.

She said she's got some work to do.

"Every time you're going on the stage everyone's watching you. You can't hide behind the other swans anymore," she said.

While American Ballet Theatre works to better represent the nation of dancers on its stage, Davis suggested they take a page out of Ballet Memphis' book.

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