A professional stage debut is an important event in the life of any ballerina, but Michaela DePrince's recent tour of South Africa also marked the end of an extraordinary journey from a war orphan to a teen ballerina.
She was born in Sierra Leone in 1995, during the civil war. She grew up in an orphanage, where she was just a number. "They named us from one to 27," she recalls. "One was the favourite child of the orphanage and 27 was the least favourite."
Michaela was number 27 because she suffers from vitiligo, a condition in which parts of skin lose pigmentation. To the "Aunties" who ran the orphanage, it was evidence of the evil spirit. They told her every day how she wasn't going to get adopted because nobody would want a devil's child. Michaela formed a close friendship with Mia, child number 26, who was disliked by the Aunties because she was left-handed.
Their lives changed abruptly when they both were adopted by Elaine and Charles DePrince, an American couple from New Jersey. Their new mother quickly noticed Michaela's fascination with ballet and enrolled her in the Rock School of Dance in Philadelphia, driving from New Jersey every day.
At the beginning Michaela remained a shy girl, painfully embarrassed about her vitiligo. One day, she asked one of her ballet teachers if she thought her skin condition might hold back her career. The teacher asked her what she was talking about. She hadn't even noticed the white marks on her skin. She had just been watching her steps. That was a significant moment for her.
Now she is seventeen and has just completed a tour with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She knows things in ballet are not easy, but she has high hopes for the future. “In fact, I´m living a dream come true every single day”, she says.
I.- Answer questions 1-4 according to the information given in the text. USE YOUR OWN WORDS. DO NOT COPY FROM THE TEXT
1. Why did the “Aunties” think Michaela was a devil’s child?
They thought Michaela was a devil‟s child because the girl had vitiligo, a condition that affected her skin. (p. 3)
2. Why did Michaela’s new mother enroll her in ballet lessons?
3. What worried Michaela when she started dancing?
4. How does Michaela feel about her life now?
II.- Are these statements True or False? Justify your answers based on information from the text, rewriting the original sentences in your own words or quoting properly.
1. Michaela and Mia disliked each other in the orphanage.
2. Her ballet teacher was concerned about Michaela’s vitiligo.
III.- Find the words or expressions in the text that mean
1. remembers, brings back to the mind: recalls (p. 2, line 3)2. dramatically, unexpectedly, suddenly: abruptly (p. 4, line 1)3. observed, realized, perceived: noticed (p. 4, line 3)4. important, meaningful, appreciable: significant (p. 5, line 5)