This article appeared in the August 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/17 edition

For a Nigerian dancer, the power of earned opportunity

Seun Sanni/Reuters
Dancer Anthony Mmesoma Madu, 11, poses during a rehearsal with other students at the Leap of Dance Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, July 27, 2020. After a video of Anthony dancing went viral, he won global attention – and a chance to study ballet in the United States.
Clayton Collins
Director of Editorial Innovation

Today begins a week in which American opportunity should shine, with a major party set to name as its vice presidential candidate a woman of Black and South Asian heritage – 100 years after women won the right to vote.

The power of that pairing competes with concerns that pandemic and a hindered postal service could imperil November’s elections.  

Feeling whipsawed by the news cycle? Focus on the power of earned opportunity to emerge undeterred. 

Here’s a story you might have missed. An 11-year-old Nigerian boy, Anthony Madu Mmesoma, appeared in a video in June dancing barefoot in a downpour on the rough pavement of a Lagos street near the studio where he takes instruction. 

His moves were a study in grace, with refined extensions and leaps. Millions saw the video. Among them: Cynthia Harvey, a former dancer with the American Ballet Theatre in New York, now artistic director of an affiliated dance school.

 “Within a day,” she told one reporter, “I was trying to find him.”

She did. Anthony earned a scholarship to study virtually with the school this summer. After that? A scholarship from Ballet Beyond Borders, Reuters reports, should enable him to train in the United States next year. 

“Reminds me of the beauty of my people,” Oscar-winning actor Viola Davis tweeted when the video surfaced. “We create, soar ... despite the brutal obstacles that have been put in front of us! Our people can fly!!!”

This article appeared in the August 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/17 edition
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