LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — When Anthony Mmesoma Madu was videoed training ballet barefoot within the drizzling rain in Nigeria earlier this yr, the 11-year-old thought the footage could be used for a standard movie research session.
As an alternative, the cellphone video of him performing the pirouette with out sneakers on the erratically moist concrete was seen by a a lot greater 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 group that something is feasible.
“I feel very, very surprised, very, very happy,” Madu stated after his fellow college students at Leap of Dance Academy staged a efficiency on a mud avenue in Lagos, Nigeria, whereas tossing mud into the air in celebration.
“I thank God that he made the video to go viral,” he stated.
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 convey the video to the eye of the American Ballet Theater, stated 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 hard to learn but if you put your effort, you can learn it.”
Madu is simply too younger to bodily journey and research in New York. The minimal age to be a scholar within the metropolis and reside in a dorm is 15, however he’s been supplied a summer season scholarship, with the potential for him persevering with this fall below dialogue, Miller stated.
Miller stated the American Ballet Theater is at the moment engaged on a schedule for Madu that works with the six-hour time distinction. The corporate can 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 prompt the concept as a method for Madu to evaluate his method. He’s been a powerful advocate in supporting his college students to observe their goals, 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 stated.
Ajala stated his dance college has obtained donations, which will probably be used to create a typical 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.