Ballet dancer, 11, given US scholarship after hit video of him dancing in the rain in Nigeria
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An 11-year-old boy whose dancing skills stunned people around the world has been awarded a scholarship to study ballet at a prestigious academy in the US.
The video of Anthony Mmesoma Madu dancing in the rain in Lagos, Nigeria, spread across the internet as social media users praised the 11-year-old for breaking negative stereotypes around male dancers.
Anthony’s graceful moves were also seen by the American Ballet Theatre in New York.
The theatre has offered Anthony a scholarship from Ballet Beyond Borders and arranged internet access for the 11-year-old to experience virtual training sessions this summer.
Anthony shared his excitement at the news he would be soon training in the US with the Washington Post.
Anthony Madu performs a ballet dance routine in front of his mother’s shop in Okelola street in Ajangbadi, Lagos (AFP via Getty Images)
“When my friends see me dancing, they feel like, ‘what is this boy doing, is he doing a foreign dance?’ ” he said.
“Now I have won a grand prize to go to the US… I will be in the plane and this is what I am waiting for, and ballet has done it for me.”
Anthony’s video was shared by more than a million people, including the Oscar award-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 at the Leap of Dance Academy (AFP via Getty Images)
Founder Daniel Ajala Owoseni said he will use the funds to promote ballet in Nigeria.
“I saw the need to bring a form of art that shows discipline, dedication and commitment,” he told the Washington Post.
“Students who are able to learn all of these can … transfer (them) into other spheres of their lives.”
Nigerian 11-year-old becomes online hit with impressive ballet dancing
Anthony previously told BBC News he feels like he is dreaming when he dances.
“Where I live there are no male ballet dancers like me,” said the 11-year-old. “When people see ballet they think it is only for girls, they don’t know that it is not only for girls.
“How I want them to see me is that when I am dancing they know that there is a male ballet dancer.
“The feeling that comes over me is as if I am dreaming.”