Indian dancer heads for English National Ballet School after crowdfunding his fees in 14 days

Dominic Penna
·2-min read
Kamal Singh, 20 from Delhi, India, joins England National Ballet School's Professional Trainee Programme - Arnaud Stephenson
Kamal Singh, 20 from Delhi, India, joins England National Ballet School's Professional Trainee Programme - Arnaud Stephenson

An Indian ballet dancer is headed for English National Ballet School after crowdfunding the necessary fees in just 14 days.

Kamal Singh, 20, from New Delhi, raised the cash after being selected for a prestigious one-year professional trainee programme at the institute.

The son of an e-rickshaw driver in the Vikaspuri district of the Indian capital, Mr Singh started training at the age of 17 and has said he “didn’t even know what ballet was” prior to that.

On September 1 he started a campaign on the fundraising platform Ketto, which reached its goal 45 days before its deadline and he left his home country for the UK on September 19.

He established the crowdfunding effort after receiving his offer letter in light of fees amounting to around £8,000 alongside the significant costs of living in one of the more affluent areas of London.

His fondness of athletics helped him from an early stage of his ballet practice despite being considered something of a late starter by the standards of the art form.

Mr Singh, who has ended up with 226 backers for his campaign, told the Times of India that he “had to work really hard” in light of starting tutorials at an older age than expected.

He said that he was motivated by the Bollywood film ‘ABCD: Anybody Can Dance’, and that reading about the film’s choreographer had led him to start lessons.

Mr Singh has found it difficult in light of lockdown restrictions and living about 25 kilometres from his dance studio, he told Vice.

“I was apprehensive as I didn’t want to pause my training for such a long time after coming so far,” he said.

He added that “to be a dancer is risky” and mentioned the initial expectation of his parents that he would be an engineer or a doctor, but they “couldn’t be happier” to see him pursuing his talent. 

Following Mr Singh’s stint at the English National Ballet School, he will have the opportunity to enter the English National Ballet Company as a professional dancer who would receive a regular salary.