Camilla meets a young ballet dancer who is set to star in a Disney documentary

The Queen Consort meets Nigerian dancer Anthony Madu at the Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham (Frank Augstein/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen Consort has wished “good luck” to a young dancer whose dreams of becoming a ballet star went viral and are now being fleshed out in a Disney documentary.

Camilla met Anthony Madu while attending ballet school, which offered him a scholarship after a 44-second video posted online in 2020 of him pirouetting in the rain was viewed more than 16 million times.

The 13-year-old from Nigeria is now in his second year at the Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham, which is celebrating its centenary and has the Queen Consort as its patron.

Camilla visited the school to mark the milestone and meet the student, who has grown a few inches and now has a more English accent since his story captured the hearts of social media users.

When she asked Anthony if he had always loved dancing, he replied: “Yes, since I was five years old.

Camilla countered, “It grabs you, you can’t let it go – good luck.”

Disney announced in September it would be making a documentary about the boy, whose family lives on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. He had little formal training before coming to Britain but showed great talent.

After Camilla’s visit, Anthony said of Elmhurst, “My dancing is going well, it’s really, really great, and I’m really enjoying it.”

He said he was adjusting to life in the UK but was struggling a bit with the weather.

“It’s still pretty cold,” he said.

Speaking about his journey, he added, “I just hope that younger dancers from around the world… I just hope to inspire them to follow their dreams and never give up.”

Carlos Acosta, Artistic Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, accompanied Camilla on the visit and later described how the student’s journey mirrored his own from Cuba to Europe to study dance.

Acosta, who was vice-president of the ballet school and principal guest dancer with the Royal Ballet for 17 years, said: “The opportunities that Anthony has are exactly what I had when I first came to Italy at the age of 16 and then afterwards in London at the age of 18.

“It’s a whole adjustment process that can be very suffocating at times, but he’s been very well nurtured here and is well looked after by teachers who understand how bad it is for him, but I think that ultimately makes him stronger in every way will make way.”

During the visit, the Queen Consort saw a number of performances by students of all grades at the ballet school, which serves boarding and day students.

In an impromptu speech, she praised the dancers’ skills after sharing how she joined Silver Swans, classes for senior ballet dancers run by the Royal Academy of Dance.

She said, “Every time I come here, I am always impressed by the students; it’s the discipline, it’s the manners and the lust they all give.

“Speaking of an old silver swan who took up ballet very, very late in life, I just had no idea how difficult it was.

“Now when I watch a performance, I just sit there and study all the moves and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how anyone does that.'”

Camilla later visited Telford where she toured the Southwater One Library to thank the staff and local service and volunteer groups for their contribution to the community.

When Queen Consort was introduced to staff at Maninplace, which supports homeless people in the Shropshire area of ​​Telford and Wrekin, they could be heard expressing the importance of their work.

The charity’s chief executive, Alan Olver, said he gave her a brief overview of her work, adding: “It’s good to raise the profile of our work.”

He added: “I don’t think the understanding of what homelessness is about is clear in people’s minds. People have stereotypes when, at the end of the day, they are people who have found themselves in the situation they are in.”

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