Following the viral rain-dance video, an 11-year-old Nigerian boy receives a school scholarship in New York City. Look it up here.

Anthony Mmesoma Madu, an 11-year-old Nigerian child, has had his life revolutionized by his undying love for dancing. His barefoot ballet dance in the pouring rain was filmed in a video that quickly circulated over the internet, captivating hearts all over the world.

Nigerian Boy, 11, Earns Scholarship Offers After Video of Him Dancing in  the Rain Goes Viral

The video, which was first released on Instagram in June 2020, immediately accumulated over 330,000 views and was widely shared on other social media platforms. Cynthia Harvey, the creative director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance in New York, was extremely impressed by the young boy’s skill.

Harvey was keen to find the child prodigy after receiving the video from a friend in the United Kingdom. «I started searching for him within a day,» she told the Cincinnati Enquirer. In just two days, she identified Anthony and his instructor, Daniel Ajala, and obtained full scholarships for the talented dancer to attend ABT’s virtual Young Dancer Summer Workshop, a three-week intensive program. Ajala was also offered a spot in ABT’s National Training Curriculum, a two-week course designed to help teachers improve their skills.

11-year-old Nigerian ballet dancer receives scholarship after viral video -  The Washington Post

Harvey, a former American Ballet Theatre lead dancer, was moved by the film, citing the boy’s perseverance and dedication as significant characteristics that spoke to her. «The video demonstrated the grit and perseverance that can be displayed when a person is passionate and has a dream,» she remarked.

According to The Washington Post, Anthony has had numerous chances since his video went viral, including a scholarship offer from Ballet Beyond Borders to train in the United States. «Now that I’ve won the ultimate prize of a trip to the United States… «Ballet has provided me with this opportunity,» Anthony explained. The viral video also prompted a surge in donations to Ajala’s Leap of Dance Academy in Nigeria, a tuition-free dance school.

Ajala, at 29, established the Leap of Dance Academy in his modest home in 2017, inspired by the movie “Save the Last Dance”. He learned ballet through YouTube tutorials and with the help of ballet teachers from New York, Michigan, and California. Ajala turned his living space into a makeshift dance studio, pushing furniture aside and creating additional space by placing cardboard sheets on a concrete slab outside when needed. This was the very location where Anthony’s video was recorded.

Ajala, in a recent Zoom interview with Vogue, spoke of how he is trying to transform ballet, often perceived as a foreign dance, into a Nigerian art form. “There’s a saying here that a teacher’s greatest joy is a student who wants to learn. Look at the enthusiasm of my students, undeterred by the heavy downpour outside. Could anyone not be proud of these children?” Harvey echoed his sentiments. “A child showing this level of dedication deserves help. We have a lot to learn from one another. Providing opportunities for Daniel and Anthony is simply the right thing to do.”

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