Indian e-rickshaw driver’s son realises English National Ballet dream
Indian e-rickshaw driver’s son realises English National Ballet dream

A 20-year-old ballet enthusiast’s crowdfunding campaign has helped him raise enough money to cover the fees for a training course at the famed English National Ballet School in London.

Kamal Singh, the son of an e-rickshaw driver in Delhi, dreams of representing India at an international dance platform after he won admission to the school’s one-year Professional Trainee Programme. But he needed to raise enough funds not only towards the fees but also the high living costs in the UK capital.

“My family and my coach always stood by my side, they never gave up on me. Unfortunately, I could not afford the fees of the one-year programme (£8,000), not to mention the additional living expenses in London,” says Singh, as he turned to the crowdfunding platform Ketto.

“I decided to raise funds on Ketto. I am moved by the love and support I have been getting from the people. I am so grateful to the people who donated for my campaign,” he said.

Dream journey

Singh has already raised over £19,000 of a £27,777 target, attracting messages of support from hundreds of supporters from around the world.

“You are a great dancer and I hope your dreams come true. Do India proud in the international dance community,” notes one contributor.

“I hope you succeed to the best of your capabilities, raise the bar, and reach greater heights. Make every well-wisher proud of your achievements,” adds another.

While he is nearly set to begin his course in October, he is hoping to raise a little more towards his target to secure his stay in London.

“I can see my father smiling for the first time; he said: my dear son we are going to miss you, but I am very happy that you will go to do what you most love – dancing ballet,” says Singh, in his message of thanks to the nearly 250 contributors.

Chance encounter

The young dancer was oblivious to the world of ballet four years ago, when a chance encounter with Maestro Fernando Aguilera, the director of a ballet school and company in New Delhi, changed the course of his life. He soon fell in love with the classical dance form and embarked upon the tough training regime, finding it quite challenging as he started to learn only from the age of 17.

But he says that 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 renowned ballet school in London.

“We are excited to introduce this new programme to support talented individuals such as yourself to prepare for your career progression with the dance world,” notes his admission letter, he says.

After the one-year training course, Singh hopes to join the English National Ballet Company as a professional dancer on a monthly salary.

Mumbai-based Ketto, co-founded by Varun Sheth, Zaheer Adenwala and actor Kunal Kapoor, is a platform for online crowdfunding for social, creative, and personal causes.

“Ketto’s primary objective is to use technology to optimise efficiency, reduce redundancy, and increase impact targeting the social sector of the country. We are working with grass-root level nonprofits on technology enablement (including capacity building) to achieve our goals,” the company said.

by Nadia Hatink

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