Michaela DePrince: African ballerina rises to top, inspires young girls
DePrince said she walked shoeless for miles to reach a refugee camp after word came that the orphanage would be bombed. Elaine DePrince, who adopted Michaela and two other girls, Mia and Mariel, from the orphanage, said she met the girls in Ghana in 1999. Michaela was 4.
DePrince said the war and her time in the orphanage affected her for years.
Her adoption took place as Sierra Leone suffered a decade-long war that ended in 2002.
DePrince said her father, a trader, was shot dead by rebels and her mother starved to death. It is unclear if she has family left in Sierra Leone.
But DePrince said she does eventually want to return to her birthplace to open a school for dance and the arts.
“I hope to inspire a lot of young children,” DePrince said, “no matter what people tell you, you should focus on your goals and you should do what you want to do, especially if you want to be a ballet dancer.”
DePrince counts many African American ballet dancers among her role models: “They all have conquered something in the dance world because they were black and they have slowly broken down barriers.”