Stella Abrera this past summer became the first Filipina American to be named principle dancer by the American Ballet Theater.
While her appointment was applauded by diversity advocates, she herself recently told BuzzFeed she never really felt excluded from the ballet profession.
“It’s actually been a soul-searching time,” said Abrera, “because I’m sure there are people who have felt — Filipino people — who have felt excluded or have felt different.
“Just because I’ve never felt excluded or different, doesn’t mean that other people don’t. ABT is the place where I’ve actually felt the most accepted and at home.”
Abrera has been dancing since age 5 and got accepted into ABT at age 16. Five years later in 2001 she became a soloist for the group. But her rise to the top was full of potholes.
You can read about how she overcame her struggles, her trip to the Philippines and how her promotion to principle dancer came about in BuzzFeed.