Michaela DePrince was little more than a toddler when she saw her first ballerina — an image in a magazine page blown against the gate of the orphanage where she ended up during Sierra Leone's civil war. It showed an American ballet dancer posed on tip toe.If you saw the documentary First Position, you've seen Michaela DePrince. Here's the trailer, in case you're interested!
"All I remember is she looked really, really happy," Michaela told The Associated Press this week. She wished "to become this exact person."
From the misery of the orphanage "I saw hope in it. And I ripped the page out and I stuck it in my underwear because I didn't have any place to put it."
Now Michaela's the one inspiring young Africans: She escaped war and suffers a skin pigmentation disorder that had her labeled "the devil's child" at the orphanage. She's an African dancer in the world of ballet that sees few leading black females. She was adopted and raised to become a ballerina in the U.S. — a country where she believed everyone walked around on tippy toes.
I missed the film when it was in Fort Worth, darn it, so was interested to learn more about DePrince. This article talks about her adoption and how the dance community has sometimes reacted negatively to a black ballerina. Very interesting stuff.