An 11-year-old boy from Nigeria named Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s life has changed — in a beautiful and surprising way — after a video of him dancing in the rain went viral on the internet. Madu, a ballet dancer in his own right who attends the Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos with 12 other young dancers, was featured in an Instagram video by the dance academy, and the video got nearly 85,000 likes — and quickly. Madu dances in the rain, showing off beautiful and impressive ballet moves. But the reason his life changed is not just because he’s internet-famous for a moment: it’s because of how dance instructors and titans across the world reacted to the promising young dancer.
Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance in New York saw the video and immediately attempted to locate the promising young dancer. After she found him, she offered a full scholarship so Madu could go to the ABT Young Dancer Summer Workshop. This year, of course, it has to be virtual, due to pandemic conditions. ABT also arranged for the head instructor and owner of the Leap of Dance Academy, Daniel Alaja Owoseni, to be able to attend a two-week training course for dance instructors.
View this post on Instagram
As a dance school in Africa, and Nigeria to be precise our academy stands to educate our audience that ballet is here to stay; "It's for both boys and girls'' said Anthony Mmmesoma Madu. (When ballet was created 400 years ago, it was created for men. Men were the first dancers. a @collagedance ) Special shoutout to all parents who have have allowed their boys to dance. Speaking from the Nigerian perspective most children are enrolled in school to have a white collar job but never to become a dancer. We hope supportive and inspirational mom like Anthony's mom has given us a reason for early child talent discovery. We are the Nigerian ballet school. A heartfelt thank you to our partners @blacksinballet @ingridsilva @jmentzos @fabiocmariano @m.s.t_dance_center @ruangaldino @travelingtutusinc @fernandomontan0 @thalemawilliamsstudiosusvi @grishkoworld @nikolayworld @bbcnews @graceekpu @balletnoire @abtschool @hurkmanslinda @katwildish #boys #blackboydancetoo #boyswillbeboys ##boyscan #blackboysrock #blackdancers #goboy #dancer #blacklivesmatter #qualityaboveall #nigerianballetschool #nigeria #leapofdanceacademy #vocationaltraining #boys #dancingintherain #viralvideo #vocationalballetschool #goon #bbc #bbcafrica #bbcnews #2020
Right now, Madu and Owoseni are working to get Madu internet access so that he can attend the virtual dance academy. While he doesn’t have internet, he did get a donated laptop by the many supporters of his work. As for his newfound, viral fame, 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.”