Ballet dancer Michaela DePrince practices at the Dance Theater of Harlem on 152nd street in Harlem, New York City.
After she was featured in the ballet documentary, First Position, Michaela DePrince 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.
Michaela DePrince was born in war-torn Sierra Leone on January 6, 1995 where she was named Named Mabinty Bangura. Her adoptive parents were told that her father was shot by rebels when she was three years old, and that her mother starved to death soon after. Frequently malnourished, mistreated, and derided as a "devil's child" because of vitiligo, a skin condition causing depigmentation, she fled to a refugee camp after her orphanage was bombed. 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.
Photo © Stefan Falke