‘It Felt Really Scary’: Nigerian Ballet Prodigy, 14, on Discovering He’s Mostly Blind in One Eye

Anthony Madu, a 14-year-old Nigerian dancer from Lagos who earned admission to a famous ballet school in the UK, has revealed that he was concerned that being blind in one eye might impair his dream of dancing.

The child from Lagos rose to prominence in 2020 after a video of him gracefully pirouetting in the rain at the age of 11 went viral and was shared by Hollywood actress Viola Davis.

Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, one of the UK’s most prominent ballet institutes, offered him a scholarship due to his talent and determination, according to the Daily Mail.

Madu, nicknamed “Nigeria’s Billy Elliot,” went on Good Morning Britain last month to discuss the changes in his life over the last four years.

He said: “It was really, really exciting and also kind of unreal. I wanted to go to ballet school but I didn’t think I’d get into a school like Elmhurst. It was exciting but also hard because I had to leave my family.

“I keep in touch with my mum every day.”

Despite being largely blind in one eye, Madu has persevered in pursuing his greatest passion without letting it hinder him.

He said: “When I found out about my eyes it felt really scary because I thought I would be going blind and not be able to dance anymore.

“But then I did all the tests I need and it was a case of it not getting a lot worse and also not getting better. It’s going to stay like this forever. Thanks to the school I was able to get glasses.”

Madu, the brilliant child dancer, developed his passion for dancing at the age of five but was originally unsure about his specialization within the art form.

“I searched up different dances and found ballet and it looked really cool and I wanted to do it,” he said.

“Three years later I was able to go to dance school and I remember my mum telling me that she found a ballet school for me.”

Speaking about the viral video that altered his life, Madu stated that watching it back felt strange since he appears “really young” and “completely different”.

Sabina Storrod of Elmhurst Ballet School stated that Madu is experimenting with several dance forms, with contemporary being his current favorite.

Despite his success, the brilliant youth misses his favorite cuisine, jollof rice, and hopes to reunite with his family in Nigeria soon. He appeared in a new Disney+ documentary about his trip from Lagos to the UK.


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