Indian dance protégé begins London ballet lessons amid lockdown – art and culture


Kamal Singh’s story made waves on social media as the Delhi e-rickshaw driver’s son managed to bring enough through his crowd-funding crusade in an effort to realise his dream of taking up his admission offer at the world-famous English National Ballet School (ENBS) in London this month.

On Sunday, the ballet protégé completed his first two weeks of lessons, which entail training with a face mask amid strict Covid-19 lockdown restrictions for artists, but he says he’s loving each and every minute of it.

The 20-year-old raised an out of this world GBP 20,764 with the assistance of hundreds of supporters, including Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, through the crowd-funding platform Ketto to meet his fees and living expenses in an effort to fly in to the United Kingdom capital and begin the class lesson.

“I still feel very unusual, like a miracle that I am attending my ballet class lesson at ENBS,” said Singh.

“Speaking approximately it is one object but when you enter that building, put your hands on those bars and you perform a little relevés (rises), jumps or turns in those classrooms, it is an out of this world feeling. It makes you’re feeling very special, like you’re a different person,” he said, in reference to his first weeks in training.

It used to be a chance encounter with Maestro Fernando Aguilera, the director of a ballet school and company in New Delhi, that changed the class lesson of Singh’s life a couple of years ago. He fell in love with ballet and embarked upon a hard training regime, finding it moderately challenging as he started to be informed only from the age of 17.

But Aguilera had confidence in his talent and trained him for eight to nine hours a day. After years of intense training, his dream came true with an enrolment at the famous ballet school in London, but the finances were a hurdle that the young dance fanatic from a humble circle of relatives had to triumph over.

“I am so moved by the love and improve I have been getting from the people. I am so grateful to the people who donated for my Ketto crusade… I am in point of fact very grateful in addition to obliged. Your kindness is permitting me to fulfil my purpose and dreams,” he says, of his hugely successful fundraising drive.

“My focus is to work very tough and with full dedication. I have to give my 100 per cent because it is my big responsibility to myself, the school and to my Maestro Fernando. I have to prove to them that they chose the correct guy and lead them to proud,” he said.

Singh’s focus is now on honing his skills on the path to fitting a professional dancer and sign up for a prestigious ballet company to denote India. After a commute with his classmates to acquire new ballet shoes and other fundamental gear, he has been embracing the English National Ballet School’s routine of rehearsals which entail ballet, modern, pilates and solo variations.

“It is rather total. The faculties are amazing; one better than the other one… and they all the time handle you and just be sure you understand and memorize what they’re teaching,” said Singh.

In his very little spare time over the weekend, Singh has been looking for ways to explore the “beautiful city” of London – inside its current lockdown restraints.

But even so steady video calls with members of the family back home, he has also mastered the art of cooking the easiest butter chicken thanks to online lessons from his mum.

“I do overlook them a lot but thankfully today we have camera calls, so I speak to my circle of relatives on a daily basis. I have to lead them to proud. They’ve quite a lot of hope from me,” he said.

Meantime, the young dancer says he’s made up our minds to retain his focus on learning from the most productive, even though it means adjusting to masked routines and the lack of any pairing up with a dance partner to rehearse the most important steps amid the strict social distancing norms in place for the arts industry the world over.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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