Ms Copeland, 32, made her debut this month, starring in Swan Lake in New York, one of the most coveted roles in ballet.
In recent years, Ms Copeland has found fame outside of the ballet world.
She has appeared in commercials and TV shows and wrote a best-selling memoir.
“We haven’t had a ballet dancer who has broken through to popular culture like this since Mikhail Baryshnikov,” said Wendy Perron, an author and former editor of Dance Magazine.
In March, Ms Copeland told the BBC that she thinks it is important to talk about being a black woman in the very white world of American ballet.
“It’s incredible to be a brown swan,” she said of her current role.
Ms Copeland’s starring role in Swan Lake is already credited with bringing a new diverse audience to ballet.
“In the racially under-represented world of ballet, Misty has already had an historic impact,” said Damian Woetzel, a former principal dancer for New York City Ballet. “Now, as a groundbreaking principal dancer, she will continue to inspire.”