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Mira Nadon, the New York City Ballet's first Asian American female principal dancer, says it's a "new era"

Mira Nadon on the New York City Ballet's "new era"
Mira Nadon on being the New York City Ballet's first Asian American female principal dancer 01:51

New York City – Her artistry and grace took center stage this spring when 21-year-old Mira Nadon stepped into a pinnacle role at the New York City Ballet as the company's first-ever Asian American female principal dancer.

"It does feel like a kind of new era in the company," Nadon told CBS News, adding that "it's a big honor and something to grow into."

Nadon began taking ballet at the age of five. Her mother, Bipasa, who was born in India, took her to classes near their home in Montclair, California.
Now, Nadon said she is honored to be a part of the company's evolution.

"That's exciting for me to have some responsibility and feel like I can do something to help, like, the culture in our company," Nadon said. 

Nadon is among only five Asian American principal dancers in the company's 75-year history, which includes current dancers Chun Wai Chan and Anthony Huxley. 

"We live in this really diverse city of New York City, and we haven't always been the most diverse ballet company," said Jonathan Stafford, the company's artistic director. "And so what we've been really working hard on is increasing the diversity within our ranks at every level. And what we put on stage can be an inspiration for many, many young girls out there who see her and see something in her reflected back, see something in themselves, reflected back ... She's such a wonderful role model already, even at such a young age. And she represents an important milestone for us that we hope to continue to build on."

When asked about the delay in promoting an Asian American woman to a principal dancer role, Stafford responded: "I'm not happy that it's taken so long. But I'm really grateful that we've gotten to the point where we've crossed a milestone. And I think she will continue to inspire other generations of dancers."

Stafford believes bringing in a group of more diverse dancers has brought more talent to the stage, and Nadon agrees.

"To look up at the stage and see such a variety of faces is so special," Nadon said. "And also just makes the company more interesting and even more vibrant."

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