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(Herman Verwey/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)


War orphan Michaela DePrince promoted to soloist at Dutch National Ballet

January 6, 2017

Dancer Michaela DePrince, a 21-year-old war orphan from Sierra Leone who was once called a “devil’s child” because of a skin condition that causes depigmentation, was promoted to soloist at the Dutch National Ballet last week.

DePrince, who was adopted into a family in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, after the death of her parents, studied at the American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem as the youngest dancer in the company’s history. DePrince’s promotion with the Dutch National Ballet came after a recent run as Swanhilda in Coppelia.

DePrince, who has spoken openly about her desire to encourage other black ballerinas, performed at the Women in the World 2015 Summit and posed nude in Times Square for a photobook earlier this year. This summer, she will return to Philadelphia to teach at the Rock school. Below, watch the breathtaking performance she gave on the Women in the World stage in New York City.

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