Monday, March 1, 2021

Viral Video Earns Nigerian Boy, 11, Scholarship to American Ballet Theatre [WATCH]

Anthony Madu
via screenshot

*An 11-year-old boy from Nigerian went viral last month over a video showing his ballet skills as he dances barefoot in the rain. 

The clip has earned the kid multiple scholarship opportunities, PEOPLE reports. 

“A friend who lives in the UK sent me the video,” Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance,  told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Within a day, I was trying to find him.”

Harvey tracked down Anthony Madu and his dance school teacher, Daniel Ajala Owoseni, and offered him a full scholarship to attend the ABT virtual Young Dancer Summer Workshop. 

Owoseni was also offered a two-week training course at the school that helps instructors hone their skills.

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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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Speaking on his student’s talents, Owoseni told the BBC: “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.”

The young dancer is said to be “very, very happy” that his video went viral. 

“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 said.

“The feeling that comes over me is as if I am dreaming.”

The video even caught the attention of Viola Davis, who shared it 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. 

“A child who shows this much dedication, you just have to help,” Harvey said. “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.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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