From a Manila slum emerges an unlikely ballerina

Associated Press
In this photo taken Nov. 25, 2012, Filipino slum dwellers Jessa Balote, center, and Jamil Montebon, top, practice with other students during a class at Ballet Manila at the Philippine capital. Aside from well-off students, the school picks scholars among kids living in slum areas of Manila and enroll them at their dance scholarship program where they are given a monthly stipend. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The ghetto called Aroma reeks of putrefying trash collected by its residents for recycling. Half-naked children with grimy faces play on muddy dirt roads lined by crumbling shanties of tarpaulin walls, cracked tin roofs and communal toilets.

From this Manila slum of garbage collectors emerged an unlikely Cinderella: ballerina Jessa Balote who at the age of 10 was plucked out of her grubby life by a ballet school to prepare her for a life on stage.

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