Feature: Ingrid Silva

Ingrid Silva

Ingrid Silva began her formal ballet training at the age of 8 at Dançando Para Não Dançar, the Deborah Colker school and Escola de Dança Maria Olenewa. She has also apprenticed with Company Grupo Corpo in Brazil. After entering the Univercidade da Cidade College, she decided to follow her passion and traveled to New York in 2007. That summer, she attended the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive Program, and afterwards joined the school’s Professional Training Program. She became a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble in 2008. Ms. Silva has also performed with Armitage Gone! Dance performing GAGA-Gaku at the Joyce Theater in 2011.

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Feature: Michaela DePrince

Michaela DePrince

Michaela DePrince was born in war-torn Sierra Leone during the decade long civil war that took place there.  After rebels killed her father, and her mother died, her uncle left her at an orphanage.  There she was taunted and abused by the women who cared for the children because she had a skin condition called vitiligo, which made her appear spotted.  While there Michaela found a magazine stuck to the orphanage gate.  On its cover was a photograph of a beautiful ballerina en pointe.  Once she saw this, Michaela became determined to be just like that ballerina.

Soon after the discovery of the ballerina, Michaela was adopted by an American family that encouraged her to pursue her passion for ballet.  There she became the eighth of their eleven children, nine of whom were adopted. While attending the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre, Michaela worked hard to develop her skills so that she could overcome stereotypes of conventional beauty and racial barriers in the world of ballet.

After she was featured in the ballet documentary, First Position, Michaela debuted professionally as a guest principal at the Joburg Ballet in South Africa.  Afterwards she danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem professional company for one year before joining the Dutch National Junior Company as a second-year member and apprentice to the main company.  Despite the fact that she misses her family in the United States, Michaela will be returning to the Dutch National Ballet’s main company for the 2014-2015 ballet season.

Besides dancing, Michaela loves reaching out to disadvantaged young people, with whom she shares her message of hard work, perseverance, hope, and striving for a dream.  In 2013 Michaela collaborated with her mother to write her memoirs, which will be released in the fall of 2014 in the United States of America and other countries worldwide.

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Feature: Ebony Williams

Ebony2

Ebony Williams comes from Boston, Massachusetts, where she trained with the Boston Ballet from age eight through high school. She also attended the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts. She is a May 2005 graduate of the Boston Conservatory with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Williams has been a dancer for Cedarlake Contemporary Ballet, a ten year old company that has risen to the top in the eyes of the dance world, for eight seasons. The Company along with Ebony were featured in the movie Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in 2009. She has performed works by such choreographers as Jacopo Godani, Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Schecter, Donald Byrd, Luis Fuente and many more.

Being a versatile dancer has given her the opportunity to also work in the commercial world with artists such as Rihanna, Fergie, Ciara (Love, Sex, Magic, featuring Justin Timberlake) and Beyonce. As one of the dancers in the 2009 MTV video of the year “Single Ladies,” Williams also performed with Beyonce on her promo tour, the American Music Awards, the Today Show and Saturday Night Live and last in Beyonce’s ( Countdown video).

You can also see her on television shows such as 30 Rock, America’s got talent and SNL! If you want to read more on Ebony Williams she is also featured on the covers of Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit and nominated as top 25 dancers to watch in Pointe Magazine.

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Feature: Ashley Murphy

Ashley Murphy

Ashley Murphy began her dance training at age 3. She was enrolled in the pre-professional division at Carol Anglin Dance Center from 1993-2002, where she became a member of Louisiana Dance Theatre, an Honor Company of Regional Dance America. She has also performed for Shreveport Opera and Moscow State Ballet as well as in the premiere of William Joyce’s The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs. She represented LDT in the Regional Dance America performance at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi and attended summer programs at New York’s Joffrey Ballet School and The Ailey School. In 2002, Ms. Murphy went on to train and perform with Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Dancing Through Barriers® Ensemble. The following year, she was accepted into the DTH Company and toured with them throughout the United States and to foreign countries that included Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Greece. Ms. Murphy has also taught for the DTH Pre-Professional Residency at the Kennedy Center. White House special, appearing on BET’s 106 & Park and the game show Jeopardy, and representing the U.S. in a cultural exchange program in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2011, she was chosen for a new work by Christopher L. Huggins that was commissioned for Dancers Responding to AIDS

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