Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Michaela DePrince, ballerina who will be focus of Madonna-directed film, has Fayetteville ties

Madonna is to direct a film based on the life of balleria Michaela DePrince, who lived part of the time in Georgia.

According to The Guardian, the MGM  film will be based on the book, “Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina.”

DePrince was born in Sierra Leone. She lost both parents during the civil war and she was left at an orphanage by an uncle. 

She and Elaine DePrince, who with her husband adopted Michaela DePrince and her best friend-now-sister, Mia, from the orphanage, wrote the book.  

Mia DePrince teaches voice and piano in Fayetteville and is also a songwriter, said their mother.

“It’s very exciting to have a book turned into a film” said Elaine DePrince.

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Elaine DePrince said the film will focus on Michaela DePrince’s career as a ballerina but also her family life.

Michaela DePrince has gone from heartbreak to dancing on the world’s stage.

When she was a child in the orphanage, DePrince found a magazine with a photo of a ballerina “on her tippy toes.” DePrince, who was born Mabinty Bangura, later learned that ballerina was Magali Messac.  The two eventually met.

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“Finding the magazine was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said DePrince in a previous interview. “It inspired me to be something, to live for something. It gave me life again.” 

Michaela DePrince teaches aspiring ballerinas at Reigning Victory Dance Studio in Fayetteville. CONTRIBUTED BY SEAN MCNEIL
Photo: Sean McNeil/

DePrince, 23, was featured in the ballet documentary, “First Position”, and debuted professionally as a guest principal at the Joburg Ballet in South Africa,  She performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and later  joined the Dutch National Junior Company as a second-year member and apprentice to the main company. She is now a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet.

"It's been a real rollercoaster for me," said DePrince said in an earlier interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The key is hardwork, no matter what your color.” 

She wants young women to push forward in the field. She draws inspiration from them as well.