“Ballet isn’t just for girls”: Talented 11-year-old boy dances away stereotyping

A video showing an eleven-year-old Nigerian boy dancing barefoot in the rain and on a silty bottom goes around the world. The American actress and director Viola Davis, among others, have shared the video on Twitter. “People immediately associate the word ‘ballet’ with girls. I want to be considered a dancing boy,” says the brave dancer.

Anthony Mmesoma is only eleven years old when he conquers the internet with his graceful movements. Anthony is one of the twelve students at the Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos, founded in September 2017 by self-taught Daniel Ajala.

He told BBC News that there are no male ballet dancers like him in his area. “People immediately associate the word ‘ballet’ with girls and think that this sport is not accessible to men. I want people who see me dance to see a boy. I dance because I love to dance. The emotion I experience feels like I’m dreaming. My ultimate goal is to become a professional ballet dancer,” said Anthony.

And that dream might come true sooner than expected because Anthony’s impressive performance has not gone unnoticed. For example, the black American actress and director Viola Davis, known from the films “The Help” and “Doubt” and the series “How to get away with murder”, has shared the video via Twitter.

Anthony’s mum Ifeoma Madu didn’t realize beforehand that her son was so eager to become a ballet dancer. Still, she already noticed from the way he stretched his legs and hands that he is very flexible. “I recommend all parents embrace their children’s talent and stimulate it 100 percent. Every child is talented, but our problem is that we don’t really know how to discover this talent. When I see my son dancing, I experience a blissful feeling,” says the proud mother.

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