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At Cadogan Hall

Michaela DePrince stuns crowd with rousing dance performance at the Women in the World Summit

By Cynthia Allum on October 8, 2015

Twenty-year-old ballerina Michaela DePrince was on point Thursday when she stunned the crowd at Cadogan Hall with her moving opening performance. A war orphan from Sierra Leone, DePrince used to be referred to as a “devil child” because she was highly intelligent and born with a skin condition that causes depigmentation. She endured a horrifying childhood by clutching onto a photo, torn from a magazine, of French ballerina Magali Messa. After she was adopted, DePrince joined The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and ascended the ranks of ballet with her heart-rending talent. With stints at the American Ballet Theatre, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Dutch National Ballet under her belt, she now reigns as a globally renowned dancer. “I dance to bring joy to the audience,” she told Women in the World. “I never let them see my pain, but only my excitement.” See her excitement for yourself in her performance from our New York summit and the slideshow below.


When she isn’t lifting and leaping, Michaela DePrince stays grounded