Anthony Mmesoma Madu, an 11-year old boy from Nigeria whose video of him ballet dancing in the rain went viral on the Internet, has been handpicked by a prestigious dance school in New York City to receive a full scholarship.
Madu is one of 12 students mentored by Daniel Ajala Owoseni, a dance instructor and founder of the Leap of Dance Academy, a dance school in Lagos, Nigeria. Owoseni is teaching children for free and hopes to “change stereotypes around ballet dance.”
Most recently, Madu posted a video of himself showing off his ballet skills outside in the rain.
It eventually went viral and caught the attention of Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance.
Harvey then got in touch with Madu to offer him a full scholarship to attend the ABT virtual Young Dancer Summer Workshop. Harvey also offered Owoseni to be a part of ABT’s National Training Curriculum which helps instructors improve their skills more.
“A child who shows this much dedication, you just have to help. If there is anything the world has taught us, it’s… that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Providing opportunities for Daniel and Anthony is the right thing to do,” Harvey said.
Meanwhile, Madu hopes he can also inspire other young dancers, girls and boys alike, to try ballet dancing.
“The feeling that comes over me (when I dance) is as if I am dreaming,” Madu said. “When people see ballet they think it is only for girls. How I want them to see me is when I am dancing, they know that there is a male ballet dancer.”