From Civil War to Ballet Shoes | Michela De Prince

Michela De Prince had a hugely challenging upbringing more than most of us will ever experience. She grew up in Sierra Leone during a civil war which saw her biological Father shot and killed Mother starve to death soon after that. Initially, Michela’s uncle took her in but eventually abandoned her to an orphanage where she was mistreated and labelled Devil’s child because of a skin condition she suffered.

At this orphanage she found hope in a good friend by the same name and the image of a ballerina who looked to her like the happiest person in the world, this would become a desire of her heart and an eventual reality.


In 1999 both her and her only friend were adopted by a Jewish couple from New Jersey and taken to the united states where she managed to communicate her desire to dance to the new family.

Despite all the troubles and tribulations, she faced during her time in Sierra Leone and America; she pursued a career in ballet overcoming racial discrimination, health issues and the death of her adopted brother to establish herself as one of the first black American principal ballerinas and one of the best in the world.