Swan Lake, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet… apart from being famous stories, these are also fables that have been the narrative of some of the most sought-after ballet recitals, globally.
An art form whose origins could be traced back to the Italian Renaissance courts of the fifteenth century, classical ballet has made inroads to almost every country, mesmerising the audiences with elegant pirouettes (the famous one-foot spinning movement), perfect synchronisation and an accompaniment of soulful music.
Strangely, ballet hasn’t quite seen the light of day in India despite its cultural amalgamation of diverse art forms.
A 15-year-old boy from Vashi, Navi Mumbai, has been accepted to one of the most prestigious ballet companies in New York and it definitely is a moment of pride for all of us!
Amiruddin Shah or Amir, as he prefers to be called, has been dancing since he was six and had absolutely no clue about ballet.
Till the day his dance teacher realized that the agility and grace with which Amir moved, he could be a step away from becoming a professional ballet dancer and a good one at that!
“Until then, I’d been learning the hip-hop genre of dancing which I’d taken up since 2013,” Amir says.
Yehuda Maor, an American-Israeli dance teacher at The Danceworx performing arts academy, discovered the talent in Amir and has been personally helping mould the prodigy.
“He’s a very special child. Over the past two years that he has spent towards learning classical ballet, I’ve seen him perform like his body has imbibed the language of ballet. His dance movements are rendered with such natural ease, that it makes you speechless at times,” Yehuda proudly says.
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Now, American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the premier classical ballet companies based in New York, has recognised Amir’s talent and has accepted him to be part of its pre-professional school, making him among the few male ballet dancers to reach this level.
“With the powerhouse talent that he possesses, nothing could be better than being accepted by an international institution whose shows are most sought-for! The training that he could get there would work out wonders for him. He could become a great principal dancer under their guidance,” exclaims Yehuda.
A principal dancer is one who has the highest rank in any professional dance company and Amir’s dreams are nothing less than that.
“Once I’d walked into the world of ballet, nothing seemed more important in my life. In fact, it had been a long-cherished dream to be a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre and with this opportunity, I hope I can become one someday,” Amir says.
Citing Daniil Simkin as his inspiration, who currently is the principal dancer with ABT, Amir dreams of the day when he will be able to share the same stage with Daniil, like brothers. “I will continue to push myself until I get there,” he adds.
Sadly, Amir comes from a low-income household that will not be able to cover his expenses as he prepares for a journey of a lifetime in pursuit of becoming a principal dancer. Being accepted by an institute with global recognition is likely enough to vouch for the extent of talent that the young boy has.
You can help Amir reach his dream of becoming India’s first principal dancer by contributing to this campaign here.
And who knows, someday we might hear about Amir performing at the American Ballet Theatre and share the stage with his inspiration, Simkin!