​Misty Copeland, a tour de force, breaks ballet barrier

NEW YORK - A promotion made public Tuesday has launched Misty Copeland into ballet history. The 32-year-old was named the American Ballet Theater's principal dancer, making her the first African-American female to hold that position in the company's 75-year history.

"I had moments of doubting myself and wanting to quit because I didn't know if there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level," said Copeland Tuesday.

"At the same time it made me so hungry to push through to carry the next generation so it's not me up here and I'm constantly saying that it's everyone that came before me that got me to this position and all the little girls who can see themselves through me it's giving them a brighter future."

Misty Copeland

Copeland was the subject of a "60 Minutes" report that aired in May.

She will tell you she's never more alive than when she is onstage on her toes, her athleticism and grace on full display. She can leap through the air; she can spin on a dime; she can make you believe she's a swan by a lake.

"Something happens when you feel that energy and excitement from the audience," Copeland told "60 Minutes." "You jump higher than you ever have and it's just this really magical thing that happens in those moments."

She performs to sell-out crowds on grand stages across the country. But it was a commercial for Under Armour that introduced her to a new audience. About 6.5 million people see live ballet every year -- almost eight million viewed the commercial online.

A different audience found her when she danced with pop star Prince. She also made the cover of TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

We were at the stage door after a performance in Orange County, California. She was mobbed like a rock star, with fans asking for her autographs.

Misty Copeland lives in New York City. She feels most at home on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, where American Ballet Theater performs.