From a Manila slum emerges an unlikely ballerina

Associated Press
In this photo taken Dec. 4, 2012, Filipino slum dweller Jessa Balote holds her hair outside her cramped home at a place called Aroma in Tondo, Manila, Philippines. Balote, who used to tag along with her family as they collect garbage at a nearby dumpsite, is a scholar at Ballet Manila's dance program. As an apprentice, she makes around 7,000 pesos ($170) a month, sometimes double that, from stipend and performance fees. (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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