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Watch: This California ballerina takes ‘dancing in the street’ to a whole new level

Video produced by Abhi Singh.

Many of 18-year-old Miko Fogarty’s friends in Orinda, Calif. will be entering college in the fall. But not Miko. She is on her way to the U.K. to pursue a career as a professional ballerina for the prestigious Birmingham Royal Ballet. It’s the latest leg in an artistic journey that began 13 years ago when as a kindergartner she fell in love with classical dance. She spent years studying with prominent Bay Area ballet teachers and trained at the San Francisco Ballet school for a year.

Like famed American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, Fogarty is of mixed race — her father is English, her mother Japanese. Also like Copeland, she was not born with a so-called classic “ballerina body.” In June, Copeland became the first-ever black principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater, but ballet remains mostly white.

“Being half-Japanese and half-European, I’ve had to work really hard and I’ve had to realize…how to show off what is good for me,” Fogarty said.

Fogarty was featured at age 12 in the award-winning ballet documentary “First Position.” Since then, she has become a social media sensation with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram and 7 million views on YouTube. Fogarty was also recently photographed for the popular Instagram site Ballerina Project.

Local Beat is an ongoing series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation. 

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