Bared footed, and graciously dancing ballet on a rain-soaked street in Lagos, Nigeria, 11-year-old Anthony Madu shows how passion and doing what you love the most --no matter the circumstances-- can be the first step to make your dreams a reality.
Madu went viral after his dance teacher at the Leap of Dance Academy shared the impressive video of his pirouette technique on social media. “Behind those fanciful in class beauty and costumes are lots and lots of backstage hard work,” reads the caption. ”With very little or no resources our kids are training to be the best they can.”
In June, actress Viola Davis took to Twitter to repost Madu‘s video with the caption: “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!” As of this writing, the post that helped amplified the notoriety of this young promise of ballet has been viewed by more than 370 thousand people, including Tony Award and a Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo, who connected him with the theater company and thanks to her help and his unbelievable ballet skills, he was able to secure a scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre --a prestigious company based in New York City.
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!!! ❤ pic.twitter.com/LNyWD2ZoU0— Viola Davis (@violadavis) June 24, 2020
“They‘re in Nigeria. I happen to be Nigerian as well. And I was like, this felt like a kismet moment,” the English actress, singer, and songwriter told NBC News. “I think it’s extremely important because I think boys are not encouraged to do this incredibly hard craft that actually encourages strength and stamina and beauty,” Erivo said.
Madu understands how this opportunity could change his life forever, but for him, dancing ballet in any part of the world fills him with joy. “It makes me feel strong and happy when I‘m dancing,” he said. ”I see my future like that I’m going to be a professional dancer when I grow up,” he added. In an interview with Reuters, he continued sharing the importance and the impact of ballet in his life. ”Ballet is my life. When I am dancing, I feel as if I am on top of the world,” he told Reuters. ”Any time my mom sends me on an errand, I dance ballet before I go to that place and it makes me feel very, very happy. I so much love ballet.”
The dancer also shared the experience of meeting American Ballet Theatre‘s acclaimed soloist Calvin Royal III with his Leap of Dance classmates. Through a video conference, Royal encouraged the kids to keep dancing because they are changing the industry and the world. “You are not only changing your world there in Africa but you’re changing the hearts and minds of so many people,” Royal said as reported by NBC News.
Currently, Madu is training online due to the coronavirus pandemic and according to the Daily Mail he is expected to travel to the United States to continue his training in 2021.