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.