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Ballet girl battles for dream after Games fame
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When 12-year-old Li Yue sings along to a Chinese pop song, jumping back and forth with her right leg, few people would associate her with the heartbreaking earthquake that sacrificed one of her legs and claimed more than 10 of her family members in southwestern China a year ago.

She is now studying in her fifth year at a Beijing primary school and lives with her divorced mother in a rented apartment 200 meters from her school. They moved to Beijing one month after the earthquake for extended rehabilitation for Li's amputated leg, arranged by the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

Not an average Beijing school child, Li Yue has to strive for her ballet dream with just one leg under public attention as the Paralympic performance she participated in brought her fame, spotlight as well as weariness.

Li has to study harder at school to catch up on lessons she has missed. She is frequently engaged in social activities and media exposure after class, yet still practices dancing everyday and attends rehabilitation training every weekend.

Li Yue became known at home and abroad as the "Ballet Girl" after she performed a "hand ballet" in a wheelchair at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games last September.

The young amputee, wearing a red ballet shoe on her right foot, took center stage that night. Without impassioned leaps and stunning pirouettes, she moved the audience with her amazing performance and endless ballet dream.

Before the earthquake last May, Li Yue was a promising ballet student who dreamed of becoming a ballerina as she studied at Qushan Primary School of Beichuan county, southwest China's Sichuan province.

But the devastating May 12 earthquake that left over 80,000 people dead or missing destroyed her homeland and her ballet dream. Li Yue had to have her left leg amputated by rescuers in a bid to be removed from the rubble after being trapped for 77 hours under the collapsed school building.

The fragile girl drank almost a bottle of vinegar before the amputation surgery, and survived the agony with bravery and perseverance. She was the only survivor of her class.

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