Maybe the issue will boil down to economics. She seems to have a strong p.r. team and other support.
I'm sure some of it has to do with PR but people can't convince people uninterested in ballet that they are interested in it. Misty clearly is reaching an audience that has been untapped here previously. There were a lot more African American patrons in the seats on sat (when she had been scheduled to dance) than normally are seen at the MET. To their credit, they showed up anyway (and from the lobby talk they already knew). But I think to chalk that up to PR alone, or even primarily, is overly cynical (I'm not saying *you* were doing so).
An audience that has not seen themselves represented is doing so in Misty, and they are clearly very excited about it. I think that is all for the good.
This is not an argument for promotion, nor against it. Just an observation.
I admit to cynicism.
Opening up and then appealing to a new audience (a good thing) creates economic opportunity, as well.
When Nina, Irina, Natasha, Ivan, etc. perform in NY, a large group of audience members speak Russian. I hear a lot of Italian when Roberto performs. I am sure ads are placed in local community newspapers for various performances.
I hope the company does place ads in local community newspapers for these performances...I don't think one has to be cynical to think it's a good idea. And it need not be bad for ballet as art. Bad for ballet would be if incompetent and undeserving dancers were promoted, but whether one likes them or not I don't think "Nina, Irina, Natasha, Ivan" are what one would call incompetent and undeserving and neither, from what I have seen, is Copeland.
Of course people have different opinions about who should be getting a shot at which roles and when...and some would prefer not to see so many guest artists--and I agree that it would be sign of company strength if ABT could properly develop more talent from within the ranks--but there is nothing scandalous per se about the dancers you mention that I'm aware of. And if/when that is the case, then I don't think it's cynical for the company to 'capitalize' on their appeal to particular audiences. If there is a Russian language paper out there, it would be sort of silly not to advertize "Nina etc." on the grounds that it was somehow infra-dig.
I gather the concern is that the tail has started wagging the dog...or more so than usual...I'm not convinced. (Some attention to box office is par for the course, and not always a bad thing artistically.)
Re Copeland: this season, she wasn't well matched with Vasiliev in Bayadere, but I thought she danced and mimed the principal role of Gamzatti very well in other respects and I also have seen her dance a very good peasant pas de deux. By all accounts--including the accounts of those who hated the ballet--she was terrific in Firebird; unfortunately I did not get to see her in that myself. The company has not made her a principal just yet and it would be a shame if Acocella's pronouncements--presumably designed to provoke discussions like ours--were used as a stick with which to beat her.
For the rest, why shouldn't Copeland get some special attention as a rising African-American dancer at a company that has a very traditional repertory of nineteenth-century classics as well as full-length 20th-century crowd-pleasers--and no very deep history of featured African-American dancers despite some (mostly male) precedent? No cynicism required...even a touch of idealism may be called for...