Anthony Madu: 11-year-old Nigerian ballet dancer wins a scholarship to the United States by dancing in the rain of Lagos

Anthony Madu: 11-year-old Nigerian ballet dancer wins a scholarship to the United States by dancing in the rain of Lagos.

Viral video of young Anthony Mmesoma Madu has changed his life. New York’s American Ballet Theatre was impressed by the talent of the 11-year-old Nigerian prodigy, barefoot, dancing on the rain in Lagos, Nigeria.

Cynthia Harvey, the Artistic Director of the ABT School of Dance contacted him to offer him a scholarship to study in the United States at their prestigious school. They set up a virtual training course, which he started this summer. And next year, our young ballet dancer will go to the United States to perfect his skills and live his dream of becoming a star dancer.

« A child who shows this much dedication, you just have to help. If there is anything the world has taught us, it’s… that we all have a lot to learn from one another. Providing opportunities for Daniel and Anthony is the right thing to do. »

Thankful and enthusiastic, Anthony is very proud of this wonderful opportunity.

“I was surprised because I didn’t have it in mind that the video would go viral. The best part of being recognized is when I got a grand prize to go to the U.S. because so many people don’t have that opportunity but I thank God that I do”.

“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.”

Change of life thanks to his dance video.

The Lagos School of Dance shared on Instagram, a video of the young ballet dancer, Anthony Masu. Barefoot, he dances in the rain without an audience and without a roof in a muddy street in Lagos, Nigeria. Without music, he dances and breaks down clichés and stereotypes about classical dance. It is a pure moment of poetry. This 11 year old boy shows through his passion, that ballet is not only for girls.

This art video has gone viral on social networks, reaching 20 million views. Anthony’s face is known all over the world.




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FACTS ABOUT OUR PROGRAM. Behind those fanciful in class beauty and costumes are lots and lots of backstage hard work. With very little or no resources our kids are training to be the best they can. This is not to bring down anyone but to show their high level of dedication and committments to our program. Who wouldn’t be proud of them? What teacher wouldn’t pray for students who shows/comes to class with so much desire to learn? Kids who are ready to dance with or without conditions. Imagine what more we could achieve if we have more?🙂 DMs for more information. #leapofdanceacademy #covid19 #donation #vocational #nigerianballetschool #travelingtutusincnigeria #danceacademy #danceeducation #weloveyou #growth #weloveourpartners #yeswecan #dancing #learning

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Anthony Masu’s amazing story

When he watched “Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses”, a 2006 cartoon about 12 princesses who share a passion for dance, Anthony wanted to become a prima ballerina.

“When I was watching the cartoon, I told my mum that I want to do ballet,” he said.

Coming from a modest background, he started to learn classical dance after settling with his mother in Ojo, a suburb of Lagos. There they met Daniel Ajala. Anthony is one of 12 students at the Leap of Dance Academy, founded by the self-taught dance teacher Daniel Ajala Owoseni.  Owoseni created this school three years ago. A self-taught dancer, he teaches his love of ballet to children free of charge. And wishes to change the stereotypes surrounding classical dance.

Despite the difficulties, he works to progress.

“When I first started I thought ballet was easy to dance, I didn’t know it was hard. But I kept on working hard… anytime he (Ajala) teaches us anything, I go home to practice and come back to show him”, said Madu.

Anthony Madu & Daniel Owoseni Ajala

Changing stereotypes 

Anthony says that this style of dance is not just for girls. Every day he had to fight gender stereotypes. Many people tried to discourage him by telling him that he shouldn’t dance. But he will persevere and hold on.

He told the BBC :

« Where I live, there are no boys dancing like me.. When people see me they say that ballet is meant for girls, sometimes it makes me discouraged but I keep on working hard and encourage myself”

“I want to be different,” he added. “To be a ballet dancer so that I won’t be the same thing with others who want to be doctors, lawyers or bankers.”

His art video will be a huge success. Thanks to the scholarship he received, he will join a prestigious dance school in the USA. He touches his dream with his fingertips.

I’m hoping to be a professional ballet dancer and I want people to know that ballet can blow here in Nigeria


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