Ballet dancer

11-year-old ballet dancer receives US scholarship after posting video of him dancing in the rain in Nigeria | London Evening Standard


An 11-year-old boy whose dancing skills have stunned people around the world has been awarded a scholarship to study ballet at a prestigious academy in the United States.

Video of Anthony Mmesoma Madu dancing in the rain in Lagos, Nigeria has spread across the internet as social media users praised the 11-year-old for breaking negative stereotypes around male dancers.

Anthony’s graceful movements have also been seen by American Ballet Theater in New York.

The theater offered Anthony a Ballet Beyond Borders scholarship and arranged internet access for the 11-year-old to participate in virtual training sessions this summer.

Anthony shared his excitement at the news that he will soon be training in the United States with the Washington Post.

Anthony Madu performs a classical dance routine outside his mother’s shop on Okelola Street in Ajangbadi, Lagos / AFP via Getty Images

“When my friends see me dancing, they’re like ‘what is this boy doing, is he doing a foreign dance?’ ” he said.

“Now I’ve won a grand prize to go to the States…I’ll be on the plane and that’s what I expect, and the ballet did that for me.”

Anthony’s video has been shared by over a million people, including Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis.

It has also led to a flood of donations to the Leap of Dance Academy in Nigeria where Anthony currently trains.

Anthony is one of 12 dancers in the Leap of Dance Academy / AFP via Getty Images

Founder Daniel Ajala Owoseni said he would use the funds to promote ballet in Nigeria.

“I saw the need to bring an art form that shows discipline, dedication and commitment,” he told The Washington Post.

“Students who are able to learn all of this can transfer (them) to other areas of their lives.”

Anthony previously told BBC News he felt like he was dreaming when he danced.

“Where I live there are no male ballet dancers like me,” the 11-year-old said. “When people see ballet they think it’s just for girls, they don’t know it’s not just for girls.

“What I want them to see is when I’m dancing they know there’s a male ballet dancer.

“The feeling that comes over me is like I’m dreaming.”