The Leap of Dance Academy creates a bridge between two seemingly far divided worlds, that of classical ballet and the unassuming Ajangbadi community located on the outskirts of the megacity of Lagos in Nigeria. Founded and funded by the self-trained danseur, Daniel Ajala, Leap of Dance has offered classical ballet training to students since 2017. Currently, he has 12 pupils attending classes between the ages go 6 - 15. They launch into pirouettes and perform arabesques in the one-room space adorned with bright though faded paint on three of its concrete walls. The deceptively humble appearance of the room emphasizing the resilience, grace, and fortitude of the dancers and their instructor as they move, silently, through the movements of this art form that is most commonly associated with the moneyed elite of the world.
"Ballet is for people who have money, who are very high class, because ballet is expensive," "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.”
Ballet has provided inspiration and a window onto unknown cultures for 15-year-old student Olamide Olawole. She has even begun to consider 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.”