Nigeria’s viral ballet dancer wins a US scholarship

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Anthony Mmesoma Madu is known as Nigeria’s viral ballet dancer.

When a practice video was posted on social media by the academy the 11-year-old dances for, Anthony did not expect anything from it but to review his skills in order to become a better dancer.

However the video did go viral and has since gained over 200,000 views on Instagram.

As a result, Anthony has received multiple dance scholarships from around the world to pursue his passion.

One of those scholarships came from the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in the US.

‘I feel very happy because the viral video has brought so many opportunities since then. I won a scholarship to go to the US in the year 2021.’

Though his scholarship starts next year, Anthony has already started online classes with the American Ballet Theatre in New York.

‘I joined the class on the 3 August, and it has been very very amazing. The class makes me more active than before.’

‘What I am going to miss here in Lagos are my parents and siblings and I am also going to miss our academy because I used to come here everyday.’ 

The opportunities from around the world have also changed Anthony’s life in many other ways.

‘In my neighbourhood now, what has changed for me is that plenty of people want to become my friends. But before because they said I am dancing ballet, they would not be my friends again.’

Anthony Mmesoma Madu dancing fluidly in the rain in his neighnourhood in Lagos, Nigeria

For other young people, Anthony has become an inspiration and has some advice for them.

‘What I’ll say to other young people trying to live their dreams is that they should work very hard so that their dreams will come to pass. 

Daniel Owuseni Alaja, Anthony’s dance teacher has also received a dance scholarship from the prestigious dance school at the American Ballet Theatre.

‘I am so excited and so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to us after the viral video because now the kids are in different summer programmes of different top notch ballet schools in the world and it’s just so many juicy, amazing offers.’

After setting up the academy, Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, Daniel hopes to grow and guide more talents.

‘My future plan personally is to make sure the academy is situated here so that most talents can grow here.’

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