‘It felt really scary’ – 14-year-old Nigerian ballet sensation on learning he’s largely blind in one eye

Stephen Nartey May 03, 2024
Photo: ITV/Good Morning Britain

Anthony Madu, the 14-year-old Nigerian dancer from Lagos who gained admission to a prestigious ballet school in the UK, has disclosed that he was scared that being blind in one eye might hinder his dream of dancing.

The boy from Lagos gained widespread attention in 2020 after a video of him gracefully pirouetting in the rain at the age of 11 went viral and shared by Hollywood actress Viola Davis.

His talent and determination earned him a scholarship at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, one of the UK’s most prestigious ballet institutions, as reported by Daily Mail.

Madu, who has been nicknamed “Nigeria’s Billy Elliot”, appeared on Good Morning Britain last month to give an insight into the changes in his life over the past 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 gifted young dancer, discovered his passion for dancing at the age of five but initially remained uncertain 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 changed his life, Madu said it feels weird to watch it back as he looks “really young” and “completely different”.

Sabina Storrod from Elmhurst Ballet School mentioned that Madu is exploring various dance styles, with contemporary being his current favorite.

Despite his success, the gifted teenager misses his favorite dish, jollof rice, and anticipates reuniting with his family in Nigeria soon. He has appeared in a new Disney+ documentary, chronicling his journey from Lagos to the UK.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 3, 2024


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates