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Viral Vid Of Nigerian Boy Doing Ballet In The Rain Earns Him Scholarship

Viral fame is one of those things that people will chase, even when it's unclear what exactly happens after something you've done goes viral. Some people just want the fame for fame's sake. But more can come of a good video making the rounds than just notoriety. In fact, a lot of good can come from it.

Nigeria's Anthony Mmesoma Madu, 11, became a viral sensation thanks to a video of him practicing his ballet moves in the rain.

The video, shared by his dance school, Leap of Dance Academy, spread quickly on social media, racking up views, likes, and comments from users impressed by the boy's dedication.

Indeed, Anthony's expression throughout the video shows intense concentration as he runs through his moves barefoot in the rain in a random alleyway — far from the typical mirrored studio we expect for ballet dancers.

But, that's just how Leap of Dance Academy operates.

Anthony's teacher, Daniel Ajala Owoseni, founded the dance school in Lagos in 2017, but it still doesn't have a dedicated space for the 12 students who attend the school. They mostly use Owoseni's own basement as well as public spaces in the community. However, Owoseni also doesn't charge students for lessons.

That may be about to change thanks to the viral video of Anthony dancing.

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Some high profile eyes took notice of his moves, including the likes of actress Viola Davis, who shared the video on her Twitter account, writing "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!!!"

One other very important viewer was Cynthia Harvey, who is the artistic director of New York's ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance.

Harvey said that she was immediately impressed with Anthony.

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"A friend who lives in the UK sent me the video," Harvey told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Within a day I was trying to find him."

Harvey did indeed manage to track down both Anthony and Owoseni, offering Anthony a scholarship to a virtual three-week intensive summer workshop, and Owoseni a spot in the school's two-week National Training Curriculum, which helps dance instructors keep their skills polished.

Owoseni has higher hopes than just increased attention for his star students and maybe some more funding.

"We are trying to change stereotypes around ballet dance. Boys can actually do ballet," he told the BBC, speaking of Anthony's talents. "Male ballet dancing is here to stay and it is not only supposed to be for females."

"When people see ballet they think it is only for girls," Anthony concurred. "How I want them to see me is when I am dancing, they know that there is a male ballet dancer."

Anthony hasn't made a decision about whether to take up Harvey's scholarship offer yet.

Nevertheless, Harvey said she was glad to make the offer all the same. "A child who shows this much dedication, you just have to help," she told the Enquirer. "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."

h/t: Cincinnati Enquirer, BBC