Nigerian Boy, 11, Earns Scholarship Offers After Video of Him Dancing in the Rain Goes Viral
The viral video caught the attention of many, including Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance
Anthony Mmesoma Madu, an 11-year-old boy from Nigeria, is getting the opportunity of a lifetime.
After a video of the young boy dancing outside in the rain went viral, he has now earned himself multiple scholarship opportunities — including to one of America’s most distinguished ballet schools.
The video — which features Madu showing off his impressive ballet skills as he dances around barefoot in the pouring rain — caught the attention of many, including Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance in New York.
"A friend who lives in the UK sent me the video," Harvey told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Within a day, I was trying to find him."
Harvey eventually managed to track down Madu and his dance school teacher, Daniel Ajala Owoseni, and helped extend an offer for a full scholarship so that Madu could attend the ABT virtual Young Dancer Summer Workshop, a three-week intensive program, according to the outlet.
Arrangements were also reportedly made for Owoseni to be included in the school's National Training Curriculum, a two-week course that helps instructors brush up on their skills.
The group doesn’t have a dedicated dance space, and Owoseni has been teaching ballet to the aspiring dancers for free.
Speaking on his student's talents, Owoseni told the outlet: "Anthony is a very committed student. Right from day one, he has always been very time conscious. We are trying to change stereotypes around ballet dance. Boys can actually do ballet."
He added, "Male ballet dancing is here to stay and it is not only supposed to be for females."
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Learning his video had gone viral made the young dancer "very, very happy," he told the BBC, adding that he hopes his dancing will challenge the stereotypes that male ballet dancers still face.
"When people see ballet they think it is only for girls," he said. "How I want them to see me is when I am dancing, they know that there is a male ballet dancer."
He added: "The feeling that comes over me is as if I am dreaming."
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The viral video even caught the attention of Viola Davis, who shared it in a post on Twitter.
"Reminds me of the beauty of my people," she wrote. "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!!!"
Madu has yet to officially accept any scholarship offers, though ABT is working on getting him internet access so that he can use a laptop donated by supporters, the Enquirer reported.
“A child who shows this much dedication, you just have to help,” Harvey told the outlet. “If there is anything the world has taught us, it’s that we have to inspire all sorts of people and that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Providing opportunities for Daniel and Anthony is the right thing to do.”