|Danceworks proudly presents
A unique opportunity to take class with
Masterclass 10.30am-12pm on Tuesday 7th July
Very limited places, early booking recommended
|Photo © Jordan Matter.||
Michaela has an extraordinary life story. She was born in Sierra Leone in 1995 where she was orphaned during the civil war. Sent to an orphanage – “They named us from one to 27,” she recalls. “One was the favourite child of the orphanage and 27 was the least favourite.” DePrince was number 27, because she suffers from vitiligo, a condition in which patches of skin lose pigmentation; apparently evidence of the evil spirit within the three-year-old.
Adopted by an American family and inspired by a picture of a ballerina she saw while in Sierra Leone, DePrince trained as a ballet dancer in the U.S, performing at the Youth America Grand Prix among other competitions. She pursued a professional career despite encountering instances of racial discrimination. DePrince 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 also performed on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. Following her dream hasn’t been easy, but Michaela says. “I want to inspire other girls who wish to pursue ballet.”
She also credits her parents’ support for giving her the courage to go after her goal. For her performance at YAGP in 2007, her mother created a tutu from an old wedding gown (just one of the many costumes she’s made), and it remains Michaela’s favorite piece. “She hand-stitched 1,000 tiny crystals onto it! I felt like a princess,” she says.
“I take what’s in my past and put it in my body,” she says. “My life is proof that no matter what situation you’re in, as long as you have a supportive family, you can achieve anything.”
Michaela joined the Dutch national Ballet Junior Company in 2013 and as an Élève with the Company in 2014.