Eleven-year-old Anthony Mmesoma Madu has captivated millions with his ballet dancing.
More than 15 million people have watched his joyful shoeless leaps and pirouettes, undeterred by the rain and coarse surface.
The video caught the eye of the American Ballet Theatre, which gave him a scholarship and arranged Internet access for virtual training this summer.
Next year, he will train in the United States on a scholarship from Ballet Beyond Borders.
“When my friends see me dancing, they feel like, ‘what is this boy doing, is he doing a foreign dance?’ ” he said. “Now I have won a grand prize to go to the US. … I will be in the plane and this is what I am waiting for, and ballet has done it for me.”
The video also sparked a flood of donations to the academy, which teaches its students at no charge. Founder Daniel Ajala Owoseni said he will use the money, and fame, to promote ballet in Nigeria, a country where it is not yet widely practiced.
“I saw the need to bring a form of art that shows discipline, dedication and commitment,” he said. “Students who are able to learn all of these can transfer them into other spheres of their lives.”