Today we have Misty Copeland, in the 1950s there was Janet Collins. Janet Collins was and still is the first Black Prima Ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She garnered the title over 60 years ago and it still holds today! Talk about legacy! She was the first Black artist to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House, as she performed there four years before Marian Anderson graced the stage with her voice. She performed lead roles is “Aida,” “Carmen,” the Dance of the Hours in “La Gioconda,” and the Bacchanale in “Samson and Delilah.” At one point, she was told she would have to paint her face and skin white in order to dance. Janet refused and worked even harder to be the exception to the rule that ballerina’s had to be white at the time.
Check out the video below to learn a bit more about her story and efforts to tell it to the masses!
Her artistry forever changed the world of dance. Today, The Reign XY salute’s her.