The ballet prodigy from Nigeria

Renowned as Nigeria's viral ballet sensation, Anthony Madu, a 13-year-old, has undergone a transformative journey over the past three years. From practicing pirouettes barefoot in the rain in Lagos to earning a scholarship at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre, Anthony's talent captured the world's attention.

His journey began in June 2020 when his dance teacher filmed him, and the video, shared by Hollywood actress Viola Davis, went viral on Twitter. The clip garnered 16 million views and paved the way for Anthony's scholarship. Due to Covid-19, his training initially took place online before he secured a spot at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham.

While the transition was challenging, Anthony, now at Elmhurst for over a year, has embraced the rigorous ballet regime. Growing up without formal training, he learned by watching videos and copying moves. His family supported his passion despite societal norms.

Anthony's story has inspired many, yet ballet scholarships for African boys remain rare. Ballet teacher Mike Wamaya acknowledges the social stigma associated with male ballet dancers in Africa but sees positive change. Siphesihle November, a South African dancer, also emphasizes the role of social media in promoting ballet.

Despite challenges, Anthony encourages aspiring dancers to focus on their mental well-being and use dance for what matters. His success has led to a Disney documentary, "Madu," showcasing his courageous journey. Anthony's ambitions align with becoming a professional dancer, drawing inspiration from Calvin Royal III, the third African-American principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.

Life in Birmingham has broadened Anthony's horizons academically and artistically. He has discovered a love for drawing and contemporary dance. While his changing accent amuses his mother, Anthony's story serves as a testament to perseverance, inspiring aspiring dancers to overcome temporary struggles for long-term success.


Leave A Comment


Subscribe to our newsletter to stay.