By Arré Bench Oct. 01, 2020
At the age of 20, Kamal Singh is all set to be the first Indian to attend the prestigious English National Ballet School, London. Kamal’s father is an e-rickshaw driver in Delhi, and he had to raise funds for the one-year programme… with a little help from friends.
When Bollywood gave us the memorable dialogue, “Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho to puri kayanat usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai,” it was only preparing us for the story of aspiring ballet dancer, Kamal Singh. At the age of 20, Singh is set to be the first Indian to attend the prestigious English National Ballet School, London. And he got by with a little help.
A #Delhi rickshaw driver’s son, #KamalSingh, has been accepted at the prestigious English National Ballet School in London. He’s now the first Indian to go there#Ballet #Dance @noddysingh15 https://t.co/McYS97Aq1e
— editorji (@editorji) September 29, 2020
A Delhi e-rickshaw driver’s son, Kamal Singh came across ballet only four years ago at the age of 17. Kamal’s affair with ballet started after watching Bollywood dance film ABCD: Anybody Can Dance where Fernando Aguilera, director of the ballet school Imperial Fernando Ballet, featured as a choreographer. “I didn’t even know what ballet was. I saw him (Aguilera) in the movie, liked what he was doing and started reading about him,” the young dancer told Times of India.
It wasn’t long after that a 17-year-old Kamal, who had been learning ballet from online tutorials at this point, booked an appointment with Aguilera at his Vasant Vihar office and put up a performance that left the professional dancer thoroughly impressed. Singh was offered a scholarship to Aguilera’s ballet school right away.
Kamal’s path to realising his dream had been set in motion.
Starting off with ballet at 17 isn’t an easy feat, and for Kamal Singh that meant training for eight-nine hours each day for over three years now. With his years of rigorous practise and dedication, Kamal is now just one step away from fulfilling his dream to be a professional ballet dancer. The Vikaspuri resident has been selected for the prestigious one-year professional training programme at the English National Ballet School in London. Post his year-long training at the school, Kamal will have the chance to enter the English National Ballet Company as a professional dancer on a monthly salary.
Except there was one hurdle yet to be crossed – shortage of funds.
The fees alone for the one-year programme ₹8 lakh (£8,000), the living expenses nearly £1,000 per month. This was a huge amount of money that Singh and his family could not afford to pay.
But the 20-year-old didn’t let this obstacle discourage him. With the training programme scheduled for October, fees for which had to be paid by September 18 or Singh would lose his seat, the aspiring ballet dancer kick-started a fundraiser to fund his studies and stay in the UK. Mentor and guide Aguilera, who suggested the crowdfunding, has already paid for his talented student’s visa and air tickets
— Fernando Aguilera (@Fernandovaganov) September 21, 2020
While people chipped in to help a young man pursue his dream, Bollywood actors Hrithik Roshan and Kunal Kapoor lent a helping hand too.
— BBC Asian Network (@bbcasiannetwork) September 24, 2020
Kunal Kapoor took to his personal Twitter to share Singh’s story and achievements to his followers. “He now has a chance to go to the prestigious English National Ballet School. The FIRST dancer from India to be accepted. He needs your help to make this dream come true,” he added.
He now has a chance to go to the prestigious English National Ballet School. The FIRST dancer from India to be accepted. He needs your help to make this dream come true. https://t.co/Wap6OU1FrM
— Kunal Kapoor (@kapoorkkunal) September 16, 2020
Singh’s mentor Aguilera broke the news about Roshan and his generous donation on his social media. Roshan’s HRX Films donated ₹3 lakh to help Kamal reach his goal.