From a Manila slum emerges an unlikely ballerina

Associated Press
In this photo taken Nov. 25, 2012, Filipino slum dweller Jamil Montebon, left, practices steps during a class at Ballet Manila in the Philippine capital. Montebon, a scholar at Ballet Manila's program, used to collect garbage and also worked at a junk shop. He now receives a monthly stipend, stays at their dormitory and is given meals. (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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