Dance is a beautiful expression of the human body’s power. Dancers’ movements always show the grace and strength and flexibility that is the human body. As someone who enjoys dancing recreationally, it always amazes me watching professional dancers. They’re nothing short of amazing.
But there is one 11-year-old Nigerian dancer who has blown away the entire internet with a video of him dancing. Understandably, he’s become a viral sensation. Anthony Mmesoma Madu is quite talented, proving that he’s quite accomplished for his young age. He attends the Leap of Dance Academy, a school that only has 12 students – Anthony included. Back in June, the school posted a video showcasing their young student’s talent and it took quickly gained online popularity.
The video shows Anthony, barefoot, expressing his natural talent. The video included a wonderful backdrop of falling rain. Even though the young dancer has grown up in an environment that isn’t too supportive of male ballet dancers, Anthony has not let that stop him from pursuing his passion – not even with his parents’ preference for him entering the priesthood. As the young boy shared with Reuters, “When I am dancing, I feel as if I am on top of the world.” You can definitely see that in his artistry.
Anthony’s dancing has been viewed more than 15 million times online. But it has also attracted plenty of attention from big names such as actress Viola Davis. Even more importantly, the video has been viewed by Cynthia Harvey – who happens to be the artistic director of New York’s American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance. Harvey was impressed by Anthony so much that she offered him a full scholarship for a three-week virtual summer dance workshop taught by the American Ballet Theater! And the best part is his scholarship includes free internet access.
Not only has this viral video opened wonderful doors of opportunity for Anthony, but it also resulted in increased financial support shown towards the Leap of Dance Academy. The school isn’t just committed to offering free ballet lessons to Anthony and his fellow classmates, but it’s also dedicated to helping tear down gender role stereotypes revolving around dance. If you want to help them continue their important work, they have a GoFundMe page that is accepting donations.
Anthony will be training in the United States at Ballet Beyond Borders on a scholarship come 2021 – something that the young ballet dancer is absolutely delighted with. He’s admitted that he is humbled by all the support shown towards him. But the young boy is also not naive and he’s already prepared to respond to the people who may try to bully his passion for dance, saying to Reuters, “When my friends see me dancing, they feel like, ‘what is this boy doing, is he doing a foreign dance?’ 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.”
Watch Anthony dancing below:
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.