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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Win! Wen! Ukuwina!

Jonathan Ball Publishers are giving away four copies of the younger-reader edition of Michaela DePrince’s highly moving memoir, Hope in a Ballet Shoe. Beautifully and gently illustrated by Ella Okstad, the book is available in English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. Visit our Facebook page to enter.

Ballerina DreamsBallerina Dreams

“One windy day, a magazine blew down the road. I reached out and caught it. A pretty picture of a woman was on the front cover of the magazine. She wore a short pink dress that stuck out around her in a circle. She looked very happy.”

At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true. She has been dancing ever since, and after a spell as a principal dancer in New York, now dances for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

My Ballerina DroomMy Ballerina Droom

“Ek loer deur die verhooggordyn en sien die entoesiastiese gehoor. Hulle wag vir die ballerina om te verskyn. Die musiek begin. My hart klop vinnig van al die opwinding en dan vlieg ek op die verhoog. Die ballerina is ek!”

Michaela DePrince was ’n driejarige oorlogwesie in Sierra Leone toe sy op ’n dag ’n windverwaaide tydskrif optel met die foto van ’n glimlaggende ballerina op die voorblad. Daardie dag het haar obsessie met ballet begin. Sy het haarself daar en dan voorgeneem sy sou eendag ook so gelukkig soos die vrou op die foto wees.

Sy is kort daarna deur ’n Amerikaanse gesin aangeneem. Sy het egter nooit die foto van die ballerina vergeet nie. Toe haar nuwe ma bewus word van haar belangstelling in ballet het sy begin klasse neem.

Sedertdien het sy nog nooit ophou dans nie en vandag is sy ’n hoogs suksesvolle ballerina. ’n Storie wat enige jong meisie (of seun) sal inspireer om groot te droom.

* Die boek is die geïllustreerde kinderboekuitgawe van DePrince se roerende memoir, Hope in a Ballet Shoe. Die kleurvolle illustrasies is deur Ella Okstad.

Iphupho lomdansi we-BhaleyiIphupho lomdansi we-Bhaleyi

“Ngelinye ilanga elinomoya, iphepha likamagazini lapheshulwa ngumoya lehlisa umgwaqo phambi kwesango. Ngelula isandla ngalithatha. Isithombe esihle sowesifazane sasisoqwembeni lomagazini. Wayegqoke ilokwana elifishanyana elibukhwebezane elalivulekile lenza isiyingi esimzungezile. Wayebukeka ejabule kakhulu.”

Eneminyaka amithathu, uMichaela DePrince wathola isithombe somdansi we-bhaleyi esasizoguqula ukuphila kwakhe unomphelo. Ngaleyonkathi wayehlala endaweni ezintandaneni e-Sierra Leone, kodwa maduzane watholwa umndeni othile wayiswa eMelika.

Nakuba ekuqaleni wayengazi ukuthi i-bhaleyi iyini akasikhohlwanga isithombe somdansi we-bhaleyi ake wasibona. Wayefisa ukujabula njengalomdansi. Lapho umama owamtholayo ebona ukuzimisela kwakhe nge-bhaleyi, waqalisa ukumyisa ezifundweni ze-bhaleyi. Selokhu adansa kusuka lapho kuze kube manje.

UMichaela waqokwa njengomdansi osemqoka omncane kunabo bonke ku-Dance Theatre yase-Harlem. Manje udansa ne-Dutch National Ballet, inkampani ephezulu ye-bhaleyi yasemandulo.

UMichaela waba ngumlingisi oyinhloko ku-First Position, idokhumentari eyawina umklomelo. Usebonakale kaningi kuthelevishini kuhlanganise i-Dancing with the Stars ne-BBC News.
Ngo-2015, uhlelo lwethelevishini yase-Hollandi lwenza ukuthi uMichaela abonane okokuqala no-Magali Messac, umdansi we-bhaleyi owayesesithombeni.

AmaPhupha oMdanisi weBhaleyi

AmaPhupho oMdanisi weBhaleyi

“Ngenye imini eyayigqutha, kwawela imagazini endleleni phambi kwegeyithi. Ndayichola. Le magazini yayineqweqwe elinomfanekiso womama omhle. Wayenxibe ilokhwe epinki emfutshane. Wayekhangeleka onwabile.”

UMichaela DePrince wathi xa eneminyaka emithathu wachola ifoto yomdanisi webhaleyi. Loo foto yabutshintsha ubomi bakhe. Ngelo xesha wayehlala kwikhaya labantwana abangenabazali eSierra Leone. Kodwa wakhawuleza wathathwa lusapho oluthile lwamenza umntwana walo, lwaza waya kuhlala naye eMelika.

Nangona uMichaela wayeqale ngokungayazi ukuba yintoni ibhaleyi, zange ayilibale ifoto yomdanisi webhaleyi awayeyibone ebuncinaneni bakhe. Wayefuna ukonwaba njengaloo mdanisi. Umama wakhe wamsa kwizifundo zebhaleyi esakuqaphela indlela ayithanda ngayo. Yaba kukuqala kwakhe ukudanisa oko.

UMichaela wachongwa njengoyena mdanisi mncinane kwiDance Theatre of Harlem yaye ngoku udanisa neDutch National Ballet, eyona nkampani iphambili kwibhaleyi.

UMichaela uye wangumdanisi ophambili kwidotyhumentari eyaziwayo, iFirst Position. Ukhe wavela kwiTV amatyeli ngamatyeli, kuquka kwiDancing with the Stars, Good Morning America nakwiBBC News. Ngo-2014, iThe Times yamfaka kwi‘Top 25 Under 20’ uMichaela yaza iElle UK yamfaka kwi‘30 Under 30’.

Ngo-2015, inkqubo yeTV yesiDatshi iye yalungiselela ukuba uMichaela adibane okokuqala noMegali Messac, laa mdanisi webhaleyi wayembone efotweni.

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