Video Goes Viral Of Nigerian Boy Dancing In The Rain
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Think for a moment, if you would, of a famous movie scene, Gene Kelly dancing with an umbrella in hand.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SINGIN' IN THE RAIN")
GENE KELLY: (As Don, singing) I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious...
INSKEEP: With that in mind, consider Madu Mmesoma Anthony (ph) also dancing in the rain.
(SOUNDBITE OF FEET TAPPING)
NOEL KING, HOST:
A video of the 11-year-old Nigerian boy has gone viral. It shows him outside in a downpour pirouetting and leaping with such elegance. His teacher says that Anthony is a bit of a perfectionist.
DANIEL AJALA: Anthony has been a very dedicated student. From the day when he started, he's someone who if he doesn't get the combination correctly, he start crying in class.
INSKEEP: Daniel Ajala is the founder of the Leap of Dance Academy in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos. Ajala is getting young people like Anthony into ballet, a type of dance that hasn't been widely practiced in his country.
AJALA: I don't want to be like every other Nigerian dance art, which is actually some hip-hop or something else. I just wanted to bring a different picture to what is being seen or acceptable here.
INSKEEP: His class is small for the moment, about 20 students or so. But he's working to raise the profile of ballet.
AJALA: You know, in this part of the world where I live or in Nigeria as a whole, ballet is not taken as a vocational skill. It is just something people do for fun.
KING: To attract aspiring dancers, Ajala offers something that most ballet academies don't, free classes.
AJALA: Because I do not want a child to tell me or say something like, oh, I never had opportunity when I was younger. So I just wanted to make the opportunity for every child.
KING: How's this for opportunity? Anthony has now been offered a scholarship from the American Ballet Theatre. The video of him dancing barefoot in the rain got their attention. And he'll be training with them virtually this summer.
INSKEEP: That recognition makes his teacher, Mr. Ajala, even more optimistic.
AJALA: A lot of people say Nigeria isn't on the map internationally for dance activity. So my dream is to see that Nigeria is recognized internationally and professionally.
INSKEEP: Thanks to Anthony, Nigeria could be on the way.
(SOUNDBITE OF LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCE OF TCHAIKOVSKY'S "THE SWAN LAKE, BALLET, OP. 20 [ACT 2. NO. 13. DANCES OF THE SWANS: NO. 1. TEMPO DI VALSE/NO.2 MODERATO ASSAI - MOLTO PIU MOSSO]") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.