Misty Copeland to speak in upcoming McFadden Memorial Lecture 

0
269
Misty Copeland is this year's featured speaker of the 45th Annual McFadden Memorial Lecture, taking place at the Madam Walker Legacy Center March 20, 2024. (Photo provided/Indianapolis Public Library)
Misty Copeland is this year's featured speaker of the 45th Annual McFadden Memorial Lecture, taking place at the Madam Walker Legacy Center March 20, 2024. (Photo provided/Indianapolis Public Library)

The 45th Annual Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture series welcomes legendary ballet dancer Misty Copeland. 

Copeland, who made history as the first Black woman promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, is this year’s featured speaker for the McFadden Memorial Lecture, which brings authors from all walks of life to Indianapolis to speak to the community about their experiences, works and careers. Copeland’s lecture is March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Madam Walker Legacy Center.  

“It just really speaks to many of the children in Marion County. Here is somebody who discovered a passion, who acted on their passion and who has grown to really have a voice for so many people,” Shael Weidenbach, youth services area resource manager for IndyPL, told the Recorder.  

The lecture series was created to honor Marian McFadden, director of the Library Foundation from 1945-1956. The series is still made possible in part by an endowment gifted to the Library Foundation after McFadden’s passing, Weidenbach said. 

Copeland has not only broken boundaries as a Black woman in the dance industry, but she is also a New York Times bestselling author. Copeland has written and published several books, including her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” and children’s books “Firebird” and “Bunheads.” 

During the lecture, local author Ashley C. Ford will lead a moderated “fireside chat” discussion with Copeland.  

IndyPL gifted tickets to local organizations — including Brightlane Learning, Iibada Dance Company, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Meraki Dance Company — so students may have the opportunity to listen to Copeland and even ask a few questions, Weidenbach said. 

Traci Prescott, the fine arts coordinator with Indianapolis Public Schools, said she hopes the lecture will teach her students “there are no limitations on their opportunities.” 

“Right now, we are working to expose our students to as much music, art, dance, and theatre as possible prior to the reopening,” Prescott said in a statement. “Society has often told Black and brown girls that their bodies do not ‘fit’ the ballet mold, but Misty has smashed that barrier. We hope that seeing Misty and hearing her story through the gift of these tickets will open the minds of our students and show them that they, too, can do ballet and no door is closed to them.”  

The 45th Annual Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture is March 20, 2024, at 7 p.m. at the Madam Walker Legacy Center, 617 Indiana Ave. Following the lecture, Copeland will take part in a book signing. Tickets to the event are sold out, but IndyPL will livestream the lecture on its YouTube channel. For more information, visit indypl.org/mcfadden.  

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.