One of the truest, most authentic ways of revealing our deepest selves is through our creativity. Michaela DePrince, a Sierra-Leonean-American ballerina who defied all odds to make her dream of dance a reality, is just one example of how artistic expression can celebrate the soul.
Watching Micaela DePrince perform is such a treat – she exudes joy, strength and passion in a way that is utterly unique. Orphaned at age three in the midst of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war, Michaela was called the ‘devil’s child’ by orphanage workers and ostracized for her vitiligo, a skin condition that caused unpigmented spots on her chest and neck. It was at the orphanage that she found a discarded ballet magazine and so discovered her life’s great passion: ballet.
Michaela and her sister were eventually adopted by an American couple and they moved with them to the US, where Michaela began ballet lessons. After performing in the Youth America Grand Prix, her outstanding talent resulted in her winning a prestigious scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School for Ballet. In 2011, she was one of the students depicted in the documentary film First Position, about a group of young dancers vying for a place in an elite ballet company. She also performed in the America reality series Dancing with the Stars. In 2012, at 17, Michaela became the youngest dancer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. The following year she joined the Dutch National Ballet, beginning in the junior company—she’s since been promoted to the rank of grand sujet for the 2016-17 season.
It’s fitting that in 2016, Michaela was named as an Ambassador for War Child Netherlands.
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