Teaching the Dance of Life

The girl was 11, a child of the streets of Fortaleza, Brazil, whose future seemed as bleak as the slums in which she lived. Then Carla Nisiane Anacleto da Costa saw a ballet performance by students from a dance school called EDISCA, a troupe that included other impoverished girls from her street. EDISCA (the letters stand for the Spanish name of the School of Dance and Social Integration for Children and Adolescents) was not your average ballet company, and this was no Swan Lake. It portrayed Fortaleza's poorest kids begging at traffic lights and living on the street. "That really affected...

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