5 black ballet dancers you need to fix your eyes on

Farida Dawkins February 05, 2018

Michaela DePrince

This Sierra-Leonean beauty was born Mabinty Bangura.  She was briefly raised as a Muslim however, became an orphan when the civil war in Sierra Leone started. When the orphanage she was living in was bombed, she escaped to a refugee camp.  After attending high school in the United States, she concurrently studied at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, she was granted a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet.  She often faced immense discrimination; being told that “America isn’t ready for a black ballerina.”  In 2011, she debuted in ‘Abdallah and the Gazelle of Basra’ making that her first European appearance.  After graduating in 2012 from the American Ballet Theatre, she joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem.  In 2013, DePrince relocated to Amsterdam and became a member of the Dutch National Ballet. In 2016, she was promoted to grand sujet, and then to soloist at the end of the year.


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