26 Black Female Choreographers And Dancers You Should Know

26 Black Female Choreographers And Dancers You Should Know

Last week Misty Copeland made history when she became the first African American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre Company.

It is a big reason to celebrate the dance world, and also a great time to call attention to the other black female choreographers and dancers who are dominating the industry. Some of these women are icons that paved the way for Copeland's career and others are colleagues who are adding to the present and future of dance.

Check out our 26 black women from hip-hop to ballet that have inspired us through movement.

1. Rhapsody James
If you haven't heard of Rhapsody James, then you've got to get with it! She has choreographed dance routines for the best of the best, including TLC (with whom she's pictured below), Beyonce, Trey Songs, and more.

2. Kyndall Harris
She's only 12, but Kyndall Harris is making a big splash on the dance scene. Most recently she performed at the BET Music Awards alongside Ciara for the Janet Jackson tribute, and has landed a spot on Janet's upcoming tour.

3. Jasmine Harper
Former dance contestant on season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance, Harper gave us life while performing on the show in different styles and genres of dance. Harper was recently featured in an ad for Degree Deodorant.

4. Debbie Allen
The legendary choreographer and director came on the scence in '80s with movies like "Fame," which told the story of a NYC performing arts school. She has danced on Broadway and has received a Tony Nomination and three Emmys.

5. Ashley Murphy
Murphy began dancing at age 3! She is now a dancer for the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has performed internationally.

6. Ebony WIlliams
Always en pointe, you may recognize Williams from Beyonce's iconic "Single Ladies" video. She has also worked with a huge number of celebrities including Ciara and Rihanna.

7. Mya
Although Mya may be known as a singer, she's a triple threat who can dance and act. She showed off her extensive dance background when she was a contestant on season 9 of "Dancing with The Stars."

8. Raven Wilkinson
Wilkinson has been described as a pioneer creating a place for black female ballerinas, first touring the country in the 1950s. Misty Copeland called Wilkinson her mentor.

9. Lauren Anderson
Anderson has had a thirty-year career as a ballerina. She performed with the Houston Ballet in her home state from 1983 to 2006, and now teaches at a ballet academy.

10. Princess Mhoon Cooper
This dance queen of the nation's capitol has choreographed performances for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She teaches at the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute in DC.

11. Hope Boykin
This choreographer and dancer captured the attention of audiences with her powerhouse performances for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater -- particularly her role in the production of Odetta.

12. Fatima Robinson
Robinson has choreographed for Cee-Lo Green, and more.

13. Jamaica Craft
You could say that she's perfected her "craft." She first started as a dancer for MC Hammer, and has been choreographer and creative director for several celebrities including Usher and Justin Beiber.

14. Luam
Luam teaches in New York City, and has choreographed for Janelle Monae, Diddy, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, and more.

15. Judith Jamison
Jamison is another legend of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She's been a trailblazer since 1965, and show no signs of stopping!

16. Candace Brown
Brown has choreographed for shows such as "X-Factor" and "Dancing with the Stars." Check out some of her sick moves in this video from her Instagram!

17. Alicia Mack Graf
Graf is stunning on the stage, and her biggest fan might be Malia Obama. She was once part of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and later became the lead dancer for Alvin Ailey.

18. Akua Noni Parker
Parker is also a member of Alvin Ailey and has been in the company since 2008.

19. Demetia Hopkins-Green
Hopkins-Greene joined the famed Alvin Ailey in 2010, and was marked by Dance Magazine as one of the top 25 dancers to watch in 2014.

20. Ingrid Silva
Silva grew up in Brazil, and arrived in America in 2007 to join the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She commented on race and dance in an interview saying, "it's for everyone."

21. Michaela DePrince

Born in Sierra Leone, DePrince has boldly taken a stance on race and the dance industry. In an interview The Guardian she stated, "There are practically no black dancers in ballet, so I need to speak out." She currently dances in the Dutch National Ballet's main company abroad.

22. Dara Holmes
Holmes has been dancing since childhood, and despite being in a severe car accident at age 12, she has risen up the ranks of classical ballet to perform for the Joffrey Ballet Company in Chicago.

23. Alison Stroming
Stroming is originally from Brazil, and is now a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

24. Katlyn Addison
Addison is Demi-Soloist with Ballet West, a company based in Salt Lake City. She has been dancing and doing choreography with the company for four years and was featured on their tour of the Nutcracker.

25. Aesha Ash
Ash spent eight years as a dancer in the New York City Ballet and is now a freelance guest artist for the Alonzo King Lines Ballet.

26. Laurieann Gibson
This boom-kack superstar has worked with all your faves, including Lady Gaga and Diddy. She is most memorable for her time as the no-nonsense choreographer on the MTV reality show Making the Band.

CORRECTIONS: An earlier version of this story misstated that Alicia Graf Mack left Alvin Ailey for the Dance Theater of Harlem; rather, her time with the latter preceded her move to the former. The article also misidentified Princess Mhoon Cooper using a photo of dancer Dominique Atwood.

Before You Go

Misty Copeland

Ballet Dancers Changing the Landscape