Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s parents always envisioned their son becoming a priest when he grew up, but the 11-year-old is already well on his way to accomplishing a different dream.
The boy from Lagos, Nigeria, knows he was born to stand out. And he shines his brightest when he’s dancing. Anthony was blessed with a talent that’s helping change attitudes — and inspiring millions.
The boy is one of 12 students at the Leap of Dance Academy, which offers free ballet lessons to children who otherwise couldn’t afford them. Daniel Ajala Owoseni founded the school to spread appreciation for ballet in Nigeria, but Anthony is also breaking gender stereotypes as dancer.
“When I am dancing, I feel as if I am on top of the world,” he told Reuters.
Back in June, a video of Anthony dancing barefoot in the rain went viral, touching millions. Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis was among the many to sing his praises.
Anthony’s graceful moves also caught the attention of Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of New York’s ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance. She was so impressed she offered him a full scholarship for a three-week virtual summer dance workshop taught by the American Ballet Theater! The company ensured he will have internet access as well.
What’s more, Anthony also received a scholarship from Ballet Beyond Borders, which will send him to train in the U.S. next year. His newfound stardom has also led to an outpouring of donations to his school, which Daniel will use to promote ballet in their country. It’s a dream come true for Anthony, who never let other’s opinions get in the way of his love for the art form.
“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 U.S. … I will be in the plane and this is what I am waiting for, and ballet has done it for me.”
What an incredible dancer and role model for other young boys! It’s easy to see that nothing in the world makes Anthony happier than ballet, so we hope he never stops dancing.
Hear more from Anthony about his passion in the video below, and share to spread congratulations to him!
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