4 People Changing the Face of Ballet

And we're in complete awe of them...

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It originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. Since then, ballet has long suffered from diversity issues, but these faces are helping to change all of that. 

Misty Copeland

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This world renowned ballerina began her training at age 13 and quickly rose up the ranks to become the first African-American female soloist in more than 20 years in the American Ballet Theatre. She is also the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in their 75-year history.

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Yuan Yuan Tan

In the late 1990s she became the youngest principal in the company’s history and the first Chinese dancer to be promoted to that level. She's played every major female role from Giselle to Juliet, making her a marquee name for the San Francisco Ballet Company.

Sergei Polunin

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He famously walked out of the Royal National Ballet at age 22, turning his back on a profession he felt had too many restrictions, but after performing to Hozier's Take Me To Church (it’s had over 12 million views since) earlier this year, questions are being asked whether the 'bad boy of ballet' will return. Here's hoping... 

Alessandra Ferri

At the age of 52, Alessandra is smashing the average retirement age of 35. The Italian prima ballerina assoluta danced with the Royal Ballet (1980–1984), American Ballet Theatre (1985–2007) and La Scala Theatre Ballet (1992–2007), before temporarily retiring on 10 August 2007, aged 44. In 2013 she returned, taking the lead in Woolf Works; a three-act ballet from Wayne McGregor based on the writings of Virginia Woolf.

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