In 2016, Kamal Singh, son of an e-rickshaw driver from New Delhi, was mesmerised and awestruck by the beauty of Ballet, when he saw the film, "Anybody Can Dance."
After four years, 20-year-old Singh headed to the prestigious English National Ballet School in London last month. For four years, Singh has trained intensively at the IFBC School based in New Delhi, under his mentor Fernando Aguilera. As Singh was unable to pay for his classes in IFBC, when Fernando realised Singh had a special talent, he took Singh on as a full-time student with a scholarship. The scholarship covered his lunch and transport to the school, which was a two and a half-hour journey from his home.
Singh applied for English National Ballet in London and got accepted, but the fees of 8,000 pounds plus living expenses of 12,000 pounds were unimaginable for Singh's family.
To pursue his dreams, Singh started a crowdfunding campaign. Singh set an initial goal of about 20,000 dollars and was stunned when the goal was reached within two weeks itself. Several Bollywood actors including Hrithik Roshan and Kunal Kapoor among others, donated significant amounts to the campaign. After the successful campaign, Singh was able to raise enough money to pursue his ballet dream.
Being the son of an e-rickshaw driver, Singh has not just fought the social stigma that comes with being a male ballet dancer but also economic hurdles. Ballet itself is an expensive passion to pursue, with high costs of training and gear making it less diverse and inclusive than many other dance forms.