Nigerian Academy Looks To Spread Ballet In Lagos

A student of the Leap of Dance Academy, Olamide Olawale, A student of the Leap of Dance Academy, Olamide Olawale, performs a dance routine in Okelola street in Ajangbadi, Lagos, on July 3, 2020. Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


A small group of Nigerian girls and boys wearing leotards and leggings limber up in a spare room at a run-down primary school with patches of damp on the walls.

They launch into pirouettes and arabesques but have to make do without music. Today, the stereo is not working, because there is no electricity.

This is Leap of Dance Academy — a ballet school in a poor district of sprawling megacity Lagos that aims to bring classical dance to underprivileged children in Africa’s most populous nation.


Two students practice a dance routine during rehearsals at the Leap of Dance Academy in Ajangbadi, Lagos, on July 3, 2020. Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


The school is the brainchild of self-taught ballet aficionado Daniel Ajala, who opened its doors in late 2017 after studying the dance moves online and in books.

Now the academy — which Ajala funds out of his own pocket — has 12 pupils aged between six and 15.

The lessons are free and shoes and kit provided to the children, most of whom had never heard of ballet before they got involved.

“Ballet is for people who have money, who are very high class, because ballet is expensive,” Ajala tells AFP.


Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


“In this area, I know we can’t actually afford the luxury of ballet, or dance education — so I think it’s a beautiful art to introduce to our people here.”

He says locals in the neighbourhood of Ajangbadi were sceptical at first about his plan to teach ballet.

“When we started ballet here, people were like ‘what are they doing? Is it not indecent? It’s not a Christian dance!'”

Dance tutor Daniel Ajala (L) shows the students ballet stretch routines during rehearsals at Leap of Dance Academy in Ajangbadi, Lagos on July 3, 2020. Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


“We want to make sure to show them that this is not a bad dance — ballet is a very disciplined, forward dance that is very important in the growth of a child.”


Now after several years of training and effort the dancers have gained more acceptance.

And when they practice their moves outside around the area they now draw admiring – if sometimes still confused – glances.


Students of the Leap of Dance Academy pose for portrait in at Ajangbadi, Lagos, on July 3, 2020. Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


Ballet has provided an inspiration and window onto unknown cultures for 15-year-old student Olamide Olawole.

She has even begun thinking of becoming a dance teacher herself.

“My dream is to make children around the world to be able to share the same dance experience,” she says.

“I want them to be able to express their feelings through dance.”

Ifoma Madu watches on with pride as her son Anthony Madu performs a grand jete leap alongside his classmates.

Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


“I feel great, I feel wonderful, I’m very excited,” she told AFP.

“When I see him dancing, it gives me joy.”

Russia’s Bolshoi Sets Premiere For ‘Nureyev’ Ballet

The Bolshoi Theatre announced Friday that the premiere of a controversial ballet about Russian dance legend Rudolf Nureyev was set for December, in a sudden about-face after it was shockingly cancelled.

In a move unprecedented in the theatre’s modern history, the Bolshoi in July cancelled the world premiere of “Nureyev” just three days before opening night, after a top director was questioned in a high-profile criminal probe.

The ballet, which is based on the life story of Nureyev, the superstar dancer who defected from the Soviet Union and found new fame in the West before dying from an AIDS-related illness in 1993, will premiere on December 9, according to the Bolshoi’s website.

The ballet has been staged by Kirill Serebrennikov, a celebrated theatre and film director who was put under house arrest in August accused of defrauding the state of over $1 million in arts funding, charges he has called “absurd.”

His case has been decried by the arts community as a sign of pressure and censorship in an atmosphere of growing conservatism.

The Bolshoi said in July that the premiere had been “postponed to a later date” and its director Vladimir Urin explained the decision by saying the production was not ready.

However, speculation swirled that the move was a result of government pressure linked to the portrayal of Nureyev’s homosexuality in the production, which features male dancers in dresses, and the criminal case against Serebrennikov.

Bolshoi theatre director Vladimir Urin told state-controlled TASS news agency that the decision to set the date for the premiere was made after Serebrennikov gave his permission to do so.

Urin said that Serebrennikov agreed with the date, adding that the director understood “that his participation is most likely impossible.”

Urin added that the production would be finalised by choreographer Yuri Possokhov, who would ask investigators to allow Serebrennikov to help with preparations if need be.

Serebrennikov’s house arrest will last until October 19 and a court will later decide whether to extend it.
A judge has ruled that allowing the director to go to work is up to investigators.


‘I Bet’ Ciara Oozes Sex Appeal In Ballet Themed Video

Ciara in I Bet videoSinger Ciara has released the visual interpretation for her single ‘I Bet’, where she performs as a sexy, emotionally torn ballerina.

The singer whose engagement to Future was called off due to his alleged infidelity, showed off her post baby body and bet her baby daddy will “start loving me, soon as I start loving someone else”.

In Ciara’s lyrics, she hinted at some other issues that may have torn the relationship apart, promising she will find someone else to love.

In the video, which has now been watched over a million times on youtube, Ciara bares her soul, talks about loving her Ex, her pain, his greed and much more.

Watch here: