This week, the American Ballet Theatre announced the promotion of Stella Abrera and Misty Copeland to the rank of Principal Dancer. This is awesome news, as many have noted and celebrated, because Copeland becomes the first black woman in the company's 75-year history to hold the role.
But wait, there's more! The promotion is doubly historic because Ms. Abrera is the ABT's first Filipino American dancer to ascend to the rank of principal, the highest position for a dancer in a ballet company.
Fil-Am ballerina Stella Abrera promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre
Abrera, who hails from Pasadena, California, began studying dance at age 5 and joined the American Ballet Theatre as a member of its corps de ballet in 1996. She was named a soloist in 2001. This week, she will be performing the title role in ABT's production of Cinderella at the Metropolitan Opera.
Here's more about her background, from the ABT's press release:
Stella Abrera of South Pasadena, California, began her studies with Philip and Charles Fuller and Cynthia Young at Le Studio in Pasadena and with Lorna Diamond and Patricia Hoffman at the West Coast Ballet Theatre in San Diego. She also studied the Royal Academy of Dancing method at the Halliday Dance Centre in Sydney, Australia. Abrera joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 1996 and was appointed a Soloist in 2001. Her repertoire with ABT includes Calliope in Apollo, Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, the Fairy Godmother in Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Mercedes and the Driad Queen in Don Quixote, Helena in The Dream, Giselle, Myrta and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Manon in Lady of the Camellias, Lescaut's Mistress in Manon, His Friend's Wife in The Moor's Pavane, Clara, the Princess in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker, Emilia in Othello, the Older Sister in Pillar of Fire, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, the Lilac Fairy and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, the pas de trois in Swan Lake, leading roles in Airs, Bach Partita, Baker's Dozen, Ballet Imperial, Birthday Offering, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, C. to C. (Close to Chuck), Fancy Free, In the Upper Room, The Leaves Are Fading, Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, Les Sylphides, Symphonic Variations, Symphonie Concertante, Symphony #9, Symphony in C, Thirteen Diversions, Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison, Without Words. Abrera created the Spanish Dance in Ratmansky's The Nutcracker, the Fairy Violente (Temperament) in Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty and leading roles in Pretty Good Year and Seven Sonatas. Abrera received the Gold Medal at the Royal Academy of Dancing's Adeline Genée Awards in London in 1995. She has performed as a guest artist across the United States and Europe, as well as with The Australian Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet and Ballet Philippines.
Abrera is also the founder of a charitable fund, Steps Forward for the Philippines, dedicated to serving the educational and creative needs of the children affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
More here: California-raised Misty Copeland promoted to principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre
More here: Parents Of Newly Appointed ABT Principal Stella Abrera Recall Ballerina’s Beginnings At Pasadena Dance Theatre