Nigerian 11-year-old boy dances barefoot in the rain, proves the universal power of ballet

13 July 2020, 12:28 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 12:32

Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s graceful pirouettes
Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s graceful pirouettes. Picture: Instagram / Leap of Dance Academy

By Sian Hamer

Ballet is for everyone.

A video of an 11-year-old Nigerian ballet dancer performing outside in the pouring rain has swept the Internet and won hearts across the globe.

Anthony Mmesoma Madu’s graceful pirouettes have been met with boundless praise from ballet-lovers and celebrities.

Since his video went viral, the young ballet enthusiast told BBC News that he hopes his moves will challenge the stereotypes that still shroud male ballet dancers.

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

“The feeling that comes over me is as if I am dreaming,” the young dancer added, in a quote rather reminiscent of a certain fictional Durham boy with a passion for ballet...

Anthony is one of 12 students who attend the Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos, a dance school founded by Daniel Ajala Owoseni in 2017. The class doesn’t have a dedicated dance space, and Owoseni mentors the aspiring performers for free.

“Male ballet dancing is here to stay and it is not only supposed to be for females,” Owoseni said.

Read more: This stunning video will challenge all your preconceptions about ballet >

The video of Anthony performing, which quickly went viral, has been widely applauded across social media, garnering praise from one of America’s most famous actresses.

“Reminds me of the beauty of my people,” Viola Davis wrote, in her video share.

“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!!!”

Read more: Ballet brand adds darker shades of pointe shoes, as petition calls for change >

Another Twitter user added: “What is dedication? Ballet, barefoot on concrete while raining... incredible!”

Thank you to Anthony for sharing his passion and gift, in all its raw beauty. In times like these, art is what the world needs.