How 11-year-old Nigerian boy went from dancing barefoot in the streets to viral ballet star

11 year old Anthony Madu learned to dance ballet at the Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)In June, 11-year-old ballet dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu was filmed barefoot, spinning and leaping gracefully in the air and landing in concrete, rain soaked puddles.

Just a few short months later, he has become a viral internet star and landed a prestigious scholarship in America.
Madu thought he was being recorded for a study session by his ballet instructor, instead, the footage of him practicing his moves was posted on social media and has been been shared widely across the world, with some of his fans including Hollywood actors Cynthia Erivo and Viola Davis.
    Many of those watching were impressed by his ability to land his moves perfectly, even while dancing barefoot on concrete and in the rain. Viola Davis was moved to write: "We create, soar, can imagine, have unleashed passion, and love....despite the brutal obstacles that have been put in front of us! Our people can fly!!!"
      His dancing also caught the attention of Cynthia Harvey, the artistic director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance in New York.
      Harvey was so impressed by his talent that she tracked him down and offered him a scholarship with the American Ballet Theatre where he will attend a summer school in 2021.
      Nigerian producer Fade Ogunro, who runs the Bookings Africa platform, also offered to pay "for his entire formal education anywhere in the world until he graduates from Uni."
        In July, Madu also won the South African International Ballet Competition's grand prize in a virtual event. The prize includes a scholarship to attend dance classes in the US, accompanied by his dance teacher.
        He told CNN that he did not plan to go viral, but he is happy that he did.
        "I was surprised because I didn't have it in mind that the video would go viral. The best part of being recognized is when I got a grand prize to go to the US because so many people don't have that opportunity but I thank God that I do," he said.

        Leap of Dance Academy

        Madu says his interest in ballet developed after watching 'Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses' a 2006 cartoon about 12 princesses who share a passion for the dance.
        "When I was watching the cartoon, I told my mum that I want to do ballet," he said.
        He eventually got the chance to learn the dance after relocating to Ojo, a suburb of Lagos with his mother, where they met Daniel Owoseni Ajala, founder of the Leap of Dance Academy.
        Ajala founded the dance academy in 2017 and has been teaching ballet for free to children who are unable to pay for a dance education since then.
        When the self-taught instructor learned of Madu's desire to dance, he said he encouraged Madu's mother to enroll him.
        It was during one of their sessions that he recorded Madu's now viral dance video, telling CNN that he never imagined that it would circulate rapidly.