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Watch: The young ballet dancers reaching for the sky in Peru

Watch: The young ballet dancers reaching for the sky in Peru
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By Gregory WardSouleyman Messalti
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Former professional dancer Maria del Carmen Silva's ballet school is helping young girls leap over their challenges

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In Lima, Peru, a ballet school offers young girls hope and transforms their lives through dance. The school principal, Maria del Carmen Silva, is a former National Ballet of Peru dancer who provides classes to all children regardless of economic background or physical ability.

Those who can pay do so, but Maria offers free classes to girls who need help paying the fees

Ballet is a beacon of joy and fulfilment for Lara, Nicole, and Keith in their otherwise challenging lives. Living in the city's sprawling slums, they find solace and distraction in the art of dance.

Gangs often run these favela-like settlements, where crime is rife. Many girls come from impoverished communities that lack basic living facilities such as running water.

Maria is dedicated to improving the lives of the dancers, placing many under her wing despite the challenges. Described as a second mother by her students, Maria ensures that all girls, regardless of their circumstances, can learn how to dance ballet.

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