LAGOS – When Anthony Mmesoma Madu was videoed practising ballet barefoot within the drizzling rain in Nigeria earlier this yr, the 11-year-old thought the footage can be used for a typical movie examine session.
As a substitute, the cellphone video of him performing the pirouette with out sneakers on the erratically moist concrete was seen by a a lot larger viewers. The video has garnered greater than 20 million views on social media together with by Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo, who has received Grammy and Tony awards.
Madu’s observe dance session was so spectacular that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater within the U.S. It additionally confirmed his neighborhood that something is feasible.
“I feel very, very surprised, very, very happy,” Madu mentioned after his fellow college students at Leap of Dance Academy staged a efficiency on a dust avenue in Lagos, Nigeria, whereas tossing mud into the air in celebration.
“I thank God that he made the video to go viral,” he mentioned.
Davis shared Madu’s video along with her 1.four million followers on Twitter. She wrote within the caption “Reminds me of the beauty of my people. We create, soar, can imagine, have unleashed passion, and love…. despite the brutal obstacles that have been put in front of us! Our people can fly!!!”
Erivo determined to sponsor Madu’s coaching and helped deliver the video to the eye of the American Ballet Theater, mentioned Laura Miller, a spokeswoman for the dance firm.
“When I got that call that I won a scholarship to the U.S in the year 2021, I was very, very happy, I was like, ‘What? Is this what God can do?’” Madu recalled. Ballet, he added, “is tough to study however in the event you put your effort, you possibly can study it.”
Madu is just too younger to bodily journey and examine in New York. The minimal age to be a pupil within the metropolis and dwell in a dorm is 15, however he’s been provided a summer time scholarship, with the potential of him persevering with this fall underneath dialogue, Miller mentioned.
Miller mentioned the American Ballet Theater is at present engaged on a schedule for Madu that works with the six-hour time distinction. The corporate can also be speaking to him about participating in weekend applications.
The video was the concept of Madu’s coach, Daniel Ajala, a self-trained ballet dancer. He’s additionally the founding father of Leap of Dance Academy, which he began in 2017.
Ajala steered the concept as a approach for Madu to assessment his method. He’s been a robust advocate in supporting his college students to observe their desires, regardless of their circumstances.
“I wanted to be able to give an opportunity to every child by making my program free so that they would be no excuse that any child could give that it was the reason they couldn’t pursue their love for dance,” he mentioned.
Ajala mentioned his dance faculty has acquired donations, which can be used to create an ordinary dance academy with housing.
“Some of our students have to walk one hour or there about to the academy so we wanted to have like a comfortable space for them to be able stay while they can’t go home.”
Landrum reported from Los Angeles.
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