After his ballet video went viral, a Nigerian boy was offered a full scholarship to a prestigious dance school in Manhattan.
The 11-year-old has been learning to dance at the Leap of Dance Academy in his hometown of Badagry on the Nigerian coast—and it’s fair to say that Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s got talent.
When the Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, saw Anthony’s moves online, she tweeted, “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!”
Cynthia Harvey, artistic director at the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance in New York City, also saw the video, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. When she watched it, she was also amazed by Anthony’s skills. She decided to offer him a scholarship.
The school—known for its “elite atmosphere dedicated to the success of each student”—has organized internet access at home for Anthony, so he can take virtual lessons from the academy this summer.
It’s not just Anthony for whom dreams are newly coming true. According to People, his dance teacher, Daniel Ajala Owoseni, has been included in the American school’s National Training Curriculum for instructors.
The teacher’s story is an amazing one. He taught himself to dance after falling in love with the movie Save the Last Dance at age 13.
“I basically learned all the fundamental principles of ballet through YouTube tutorials,” the 29-year-old told Vogue. Ten years later, he became a freelance teacher in the Nigerian capital of Lagos. But he couldn’t get an international scholarship anywhere. Applying for schools across Europe, “I was basically told that, as an African, I was not eligible for an international scholarship. It just seemed like blatant discrimination.”-