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South African 'Ghetto Ballet' Star Gets U.S. Scholarship

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From balancing on makeshift barres in her poverty-stricken township, to practicing plies at the Atlanta Ballet, South African ballerina Sibahle Tshibika's journey has been one of triumph over circumstance. Tshibika starred in the HBO documentary "Ghetto Ballet," which chronicled the lives of four ballet dancers from a poor neighborhood near Cape Town. Like her dancer friends, Tshibika saw ballet as a way to escape a life of poverty. Her dream seemed to end when she didn't get one of two coveted spots in a local dance school. A viewer watching the documentary from Atlanta wanted to give Tshibika another chance. "After watching it, I was so overwhelmed by the circumstances of the dancer, Sibahle, and the environment she was raised in," Rosemary Ringer told CNN. "She lived in the shanties, the poverty-stricken shanties, but she had a desire far beyond the reach of her environment. I felt compelled to e-mail Atlanta Ballet and expressed to them that if they could be so kind, would they please outreach to Sibahle and the producer and bring her to the United States." The Atlanta Ballet complied -- and awarded Tshibika a full scholarship. She will now perform with the dance company before finishing school in South Africa.
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