This young Nigerian dancer aims to change the way people see ballet
Anthony Mmesoma Madu is shattering stereotypes about ballet dancers, one pirouette at a time.
The 11-year-old from Lagos, Nigeria, told BBC News that he is one of just a few male ballet dancers where he lives, and he wants people to know that it is "not only for girls." He is always moving, and loves dancing because "the feeling that comes over me, it is as if I am dreaming."
A video showing Anthony dancing in the rain recently went viral, after being shared by actress Viola Davis; this made Anthony "very, very happy," he said. He is learning ballet at the Leap of Dance Academy, founded in 2017 by Daniel Ajala Owoseni. A self-taught instructor, he offers lessons for free in order to make ballet accessible for everyone. "We are changing the narrative about the stereotype of ballet male dancers," Owoseni said, adding, "Male ballet dancing is here to stay."
Anthony's mother, Ifeoma Madu, told BBC News that whenever she sees her son dancing, "I have joy." She advises other parents of talented children to "give their full support," so their son or daughter can "go far." Anthony's goal is to become a professional ballet dancer. "Dance is just part of my life," he said.