By Victoria Lindrea
Arts and entertainment reporter
Publishedduration35 minutes agoimage copyrightPhotography by ASHimage captionKamal Singh's crowdfunding campaign caught the eye of high-profile Indians
Four years ago, 17-year-old Kamal Singh, was just finishing school and taking his first ballet class. Now 21, the son of a rickshaw driver has become the first Indian dancer to win a place on the English National Ballet School's professional trainee programme.
Living in Chelsea – a world away from his family and home in Vikaspuri, Delhi – Kamal spends his days, masked and socially distanced, training in a dance studio in Battersea with just 12 other students.
They all share the dream of joining a major international ballet company and making it to the role of principal – of treading in the footsteps of Nureyev and Fonteyn.
For Kamal, none of it would have been possible without the support of his teacher, Argentine dancer Fernando Aguilera – and a dusting of Bollywood star power.
"When I heard I had got a place at the English National Ballet school I was so happy, but at the same time, I was a little sad because I knew my father could not pay the fees," recalls Kamal.
"But my teacher tells me not to worry about the money, to just focus on the ballet – and dance."