Real-life Mowgli girl found living in wilderness wins place at ballet school
A real-life Mowgli girl who was found living feral in the wilderness has won a place at a prestigious ballet school.
Karina Chikitova, 11, made headlines around the world in 2014 when she was found after spending 12 days in a Siberian forest infested with wolves and bears.
She had followed her father into the dangerous forest, but he did not realise she had trailed him.
The then-four-year-old slept on a bed of long grass and ate wild berries to stay alive, after getting lost alongside her dog, Naida.
The pooch left to find help and Karina was rescued after nearly two weeks in the wild.
Her rescuer Artyom Borisov said: “She was sitting deep in deep grass, completely silent. I didn’t actually notice her. She saw me and stretched her arms forward.
“I picked her up, she was so tiny, so light, like fluff. She didn’t have shoes on. Her face, legs and arms were bitten to blood (by mosquitos). She was dead scared.
“Straight away she asked for water and food and burst into tears. To be honest I could hardly hold back tears, too."
Later Karina said at the time: “It was Naida who rescued me. I was really, really scared. But when we were going to sleep I hugged her, and together we were warm.”
A statue was soon afterwards erected honouring her and her pooch in the regional capital of Yakutsk – the world’s coldest city.
Since then, a popular children’s book has been written about Karina and two years ago she won a Mini Miss beauty pageant in her region, with a film about her also in production.
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Now she has been accepted for advanced ballet training as she takes a step towards her dream of one day dancing at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
“This is the start of a new chapter in Karina’s life,” said her proud guardian Albina Cherepanova, 61.
She was selected to continue her studies at the Yakut Ballet School – the world's northernmost professional ballet school.
Albina added: “It means the next major step on her way to becoming a ballerina.
“This was an amazing achievement, and a tough call, too. Nearly half of Karina’s class were not chosen to continue their studies.”
She will now undergo intense ballet training while also studying for her general education.
“I am very pleased Karina’s hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Albina.
“Now she will go through years filled with long days of rigorous training and performances, and a lot more personal teaching.
“This is a very strong school, known in Russia and abroad.
“Karina is nearly 12 and is growing up incredibly fast. She is half a head or more taller than her classmates.
“She has a wonderful personality, very inquisitive, happy and down-to-earth.”
She only sees her family during winter and summer breaks from her boarding school.
Her mother lives in remote Olyokminsk district, some 350 miles away, and Karina wants to help her open a cafe and run her own business.
Albina said: “She is wise beyond her years. With dreams too. She dreams about dancing at the Bolshoi Theatre.
“I hope we can travel to Moscow once her winter exams are over. I would love to show her Red Square, and of course visit the Bolshoi. Karina would really like to watch The Nutcracker.”
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