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04.04.2024 Featured Anthony Madu, a Partially Blind Nigerian Teenager, Is Dancing His Way to Stardom

Published 4th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

Anthony Madu, a 14-year-old UK-based Nigerian ballet dancer, has spoken about how he has not allowed being largely blind in one eye to stop him from pursuing his dreams.

Madu caught the internet’s attention when a clip of him skilfully pirouetting in the rain and in his Lagos home went viral in 2020.

When the video was shared by Viola Davis, an Oscar-winning Hollywood actor, in the same year, Madu was offered a scholarship at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham.

The school is regarded as one of the UK’s most elite ballet institutions.

Madu Dancing on a Street in Lagos

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Credit: ITV

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, a morning news and talk show on ITV, on Thursday, Madu described his career journey as exciting.

“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,” Madu said on the show.

“It was exciting but also hard because I had to leave my family. I keep in touch with my mum everyday.”

Madu Dancing in the Rain Credit: NBC News

Madu said he already knew how to dance by the time he was five.

“But it was not specifically ballet. I eventually found ballet and it seemed pretty cool and I wanted to do it,” said Madu.

“Three years later, my mum found a ballet school for me and I was really excited. My sisters were even more excited than I was at the time.”

When he was 11, his family members made a video of him dancing ballet barefooted in the rain and subsequently uploaded it to YouTube.

“The next day, the video was like… all over,” Madu said.

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“Sometimes, I ask myself why I really made the video and how it took off so fast that I am now where I am.”

Madu also spoke on his vision problem.

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

“But then I did all the tests I needed, and it was a case of it not getting a lot worse and also not getting better. It’s… kind of like… going to stay like this forever [sic].

“Thanks to the school, I was able to get glasses and treatments.”

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Madu said he missed the Nigerian food he was used to getting served back in Lagos.

“My favourite Nigerian dish is jollof rice,” said Madu.

On Mach 29, Disney, an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate, also released a special and inspiring documentary film on the young dancer’s career journey, titled ‘Madu’.

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Published 4th Apr, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

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