Photo Gallery: ‘Our people can fly!’

Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_65746 Ballet student Anthony Mmesoma Madu, center, dances in the street as fellow dancers look on in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_79142 Ballet dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu rehearses in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_80843 Ballet dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu rehearses in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_21405 Ballet dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu, center, rehearses with other dance students in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_66633 Ballet dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu rehearses in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_50564 Ballet student Anthony Mmesoma Madu, center, stands in position as fellow dancers perform in the street in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old Madu dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_94378 Ballet student Anthony Mmesoma Madu, center, stands in position as fellow dancers perform in the street in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old Madu dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
Nigeria_Ballet_Dancer_14358 Ballet student Anthony Mmesoma Madu, center, dances in the street as fellow dancers look on in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 18, 2020. Cellphone video showing the 11-year-old dancing barefoot in the rain went viral on social media. Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.
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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — He spins effortlessly and leaps elegantly. His pirouette is effervescent.

Cellphone video of 11-year-old Anthony Mmesoma Madu practicing ballet barefoot in the drizzling rain in Nigeria has caught fire on social media.

The video has garnered more than 20 million views on social media and got the attention of award-winning actors Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo.

“It is hard to learn but if you put your effort, you can learn it,” Madu says.

Madu’s practice dance session was so impressive that it earned him a ballet scholarship with the American Ballet Theater in the U.S.

Davis shared Madu’s video with her 1.4 million followers on Twitter. She said in 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!!!”

Erivo decided to sponsor Madu’s training and helped bring the video to the attention of the American Ballet Theater, said Laura Miller, a spokeswoman for the dance company.

Madu is too young to physically travel and study in New York. The minimum age to be a student in the city and live in a dorm is 15, but he’s been offered a summer scholarship, with the possibility of him continuing this fall under discussion.

___

Landrum reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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