“When I am dancing, I feel as if I am on top of the world,” Anthony Mmesoma Madu explained.
Elegantly spinning among a group of dancers clad in pink, the 11-year-old Anthony Mmesoma Madu stands out in black leggings, a white turtleneck and poise beyond his years.
His parents in Lagos, Nigeria’s teeming lagoon city, originally wanted him to become a priest. Instead, he has captivated millions with his amazing ballet, making himself heard to the United States.
Specifically, a video of him dancing barefoot in the rain on the concrete outside the Leap of Dance Academy - the studio where he trains- went viral last month on all social media platforms reaching millions of shares and likes.
More than 15 million people have watched his joyful leaps and pirouettes, undeterred by the rain and coarse surface.
The video went so viral that also caught the eye of the elite American Ballet Theatre, which offered him a scholarship and arranged internet access for virtual training this summer.
It has been arranged that next year, Anthony will train in the United States thanks to a scholarship from Ballet Beyond Borders.
“When my friends see me dancing, they feel like, what is this boy doing, is he doing a foreign dance?” he claimed. “Now I have won a grand prize to go to the U.S. ... I will be on the plane and this is what I am waiting for, and ballet has done it for me.”
The video also gave Ballet Beyond Borders a flood of donations, which are vital to the academy that teaches its students for free. The founder Daniel Ajala Owoseni said he will use the money and the fame to promote ballet and dance in Nigeria, a country where it is not yet widely practised or known, due to the other priorities that the country has to deal with.
“I saw the need to bring a form of art that shows discipline, dedication and commitment,” the boy pointed out. “Students who can learn all of these can ... transfer (them) into other spheres of their lives.”
The Urban Kapital team wishes him all the best, well done you Anthony!