‘World of Dance’ features guest judge Misty Copeland

July 4, 2017 GMT

Iconic ballerina Misty Copeland, the first African-American woman to be named a principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT), will be a guest judge on the July 18 and July 25 episodes of NBC’s new high-rated competition series “World of Dance.”

The network recently announced that Copeland will be joining Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough at the judges’ table for round three of the competition, “The Cut,” where the competitors face the deepest and most intense cut of the season. More than half of the acts will be sent home, and only the top two acts from each division will move on to the Division Final.

Thus far, Les Twins, Fik-Shun (Upper Division), Swing Latino, Jabbawockeez (Team Division), The Lab and Diana Pombo (Junior Division) have all made strong statements in the competition.

“When judging the best of the best, we knew we needed an all-star guest judge with passion and credibility to mentor these incredible dancers,” judge/executive producer Jennifer Lopez said in a statement. “Misty Copeland is at the top of her game and we are so honored that she was able to lend her expertise and experience to the ‘World of Dance’ stage.”

Now an inspiration for young Black dancers across the country, Misty Copeland joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2000, joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 2001 and in 2007 became the company’s second African-American female soloist and the first in two decades.

In 2015, Copeland was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first African-American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. That same year, she made her Broadway debut, co-starring in the critically acclaimed musical “On the Town,” which was also performed in Philadelphia at the 2015 Marian Anderson Award Gala Concert honoring Wynton Marsalis.