Vintage NYC Magazine celebrates Black History Month with dancer and film star Michaela DePrince
An orphan from Sierra Leone during the civil war, she fled to a refugee camp after her orphanage was bombed. As a child, she faced mistreatment and malnourishment because of depigmentation due to a skin disease called vitiligo. In 1999, at age four, she and another girl, Mia, were adopted by Elaine and Charles DePrince from New Jersey, and taken to the United States.
Inspired by a picture she found and kept while in Sierra Leone, DePrince trained as a ballet dancer in the U.S, performing at the Youth America Grand Prix among other competitions. Michaela was one of the stars of the 2011 documentary film First Position, which follows six young dancers vying for a place in an elite ballet company or school, and performed on the TV show Dancing with the Stars.
In 2012, she graduated from the American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York, and joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Her professional debut performance was in the role of Gulnare in Mzansi Productions and the South African Ballet Theatre's premiere of Le Corsaire on 19 July 2012.
In July 2013, she joined the junior company of the Dutch National Ballet, based in Amsterdam. In 2014 she joined the Dutch National Ballet as an éleve.
@michaeladeprince is a bright young star, overcoming poverty and discrimination to follow her dream of becoming a dancer.
Photography by: @jadeyphoto
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