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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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