En Pointe Kamal Singh – the first male professional Ballet dancer of India

 En Pointe Kamal Singh – the first male professional Ballet dancer of India

I promise my story today will totally mesmerise you and would want you to look out for this incredibly talented Billy Elliot of India. Kamal Singh also known as Noddy Singh, has become the first Indian to get admission in the prestigious English National Ballet School in London. Kamal took internet and Bollywood by storm when his amazing story came out. Kamal’s father is an E rickshaw driver from Delhi, despite all odds Kamal has reached a place that most dancers dream to be.

Kamal Singh at

“Bhangra is in my blood but Ballet is my passion,” says Kamal Singh whose professional name is inspired by his favorite cartoon Noddy. The 21-year-old Sikh boy started dancing eight years back when he decided to give hip-hop a try. However, after being introduced to ballet three years later, he realized that it was here where his passion lied.

Kamal did not even know what ballet was when he turned up nervously at the Imperial Fernando Ballet School, in Delhi, during the summer of 2016. But no sooner he entered the floor and met his Guru Fernando Aguilera he was transfixed and that is when his extraordinary journey began, from Bhangra to Ballet. ‘I saw Fernando sir teaching Ballet in Bollywood super hit dance film ABCD, and decided to meet him, that one meeting, changed my life forever.’ said Kamal

But it was not easy for an E rickshaw driver’s son to take up a dance form that is not very common in India. “Bhangra karne vala yaha ballet karega” (one who does bhangra will do Ballet here) was a common notion that followed after Kamal picked up ballet under the able guidance of Aguilera. However, negative comments did not affect Kamal in pursuing his passion. “I feel like a prince when I do ballet, I feel elegant; the arms movement, the acting, the skills, the jumps, the turnings. I like the whole thing.” Kamal said

Fortunately for Singh, his family has been supportive of his choice. “My parents and siblings know nothing of Ballet, my family has struggled a lot to help me achieve my dreams. They always supported me but they just had one condition that I finish my education and then do anything I desire.” After giving his 12th boards, Kamal joint an open school to dedicate all his time to ballet.

His Guru, mentor and guide, the supremely talented Fernando Aguilera, the artistic director of Imperial Fernando Ballet Company (IFBC), who has been teaching ballet for over 35 years first encountered Kamal in 2015, he recalled his astonishment at the boy’s natural gifts and said, ‘“I knew immediately he was such a talent, he was completely flexible, like a rubber. He had a body that was ready-made for ballet by god – he just needed to be taught how to use it. Then Kamal told me he desperately wanted to carry on with classes but could not afford my 3,500 rupees fees per month, that moment my heart broke into pieces. This boy had a true gift even though he did not know it, I asked him to come back the next day and offered full time student scholarship, where I paid for his lunch and transport to the school, a two and a half-hour journey from the boy’s home.”

Kamal Singh with his dance teacher Fernando Aguilera

IFBC business artner Rafi Khan further added, “Kamal had never heard classical music or even a piano before his first lesson, but under Fernando’s private tuition he learned not only ballet but the basics of reading music, the stories of famous ballet dancers, and all the storylines of the great ballets such as Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and Giselle. He studied at the school for 10 to 12 hours every day, worked very hard and was always wanting to learn more. Fernando taught him for four years, and Kamal never asked for a break, he never even missed a single day. That is the level of dedication of this boy.”

Fernanda also made Kamal and his family realize that there was a future in ballet. “Sir, made me watch videos of professional ballet dancers and taught me that it can be a career, just like a doctor or an engineer, he also met my father to explain and after that my father allowed me to study ballet full-time.”

Under Aguilera’s sponsorship Singh went to Russia in 2019 to take part in a prestigious summer ballet course. He had been granted a scholarship to return in 2020 too but the Covid-19 pandemic happened and everything was cancelled. Just as it seemed as if the opportunities were disappearing, an advert on Instagram said that English National Ballet in London was looking for male dancers. So, Kamal applied.

In September 2020 Aguilera had tears of joy rolling down his cheeks when he received an acceptance email for his star pupil. But the joy swiftly turned to worry as the fees of £8,000 plus living expenses of £12,000 were unimaginable for Kamal’s family. That is when Aguilera and his school had an idea and a crowdfunding page was started. Within a week they raised 1.5m rupees (£16,000); by two weeks more than 1.9m rupees came in after several Bollywood stars such as Hrithik Roshan, Kunal Kapoor caught wind of the campaign and donated, shared the information widely. In the final week of September Singh boarded a flight to London with best wishes tweets from Industrialist like Anand Mahindra and more.

Highly emotional Aguilera added, ‘Today I feel so proud and happy to discover this talent, I was not wrong at all when I spotted Kamal. These tears you see Sandip are of happiness and not sadness. I know my boy is going to shine and shine bright. Saying goodbye to him was emotional for me and today I predict that Kamal will be the next ballet star. I miss him so much in my class, a good student inspires a teacher too, now that he is not here, there is a gap in the bar for sure, but yes life continues and now I have Love, a sixteen years old lad who has the ability to follow footsteps of Kamal.’

From all over the world only ten male and ten female dancers have been selected by the English National Ballet School and Kamal is one of them making him the first Indian to be a part of this prestigious academy. Viviana Durante, artistic director of the English National Ballet School, said, ‘The year-long course will provide Kamal with intense training in classical and contemporary techniques. It is said the earlier one starts ballet its better, but you do get cases like Kamal where they start late but the passion and devotion along with ability comes through. Kamal was in good company for sure his teacher Fernando Aguilera is a true mater of the art.’

Now, Kamal has with him passion, optimism and education which is the key to succeed as an artist. The world of dance is grateful and indebted to Fernando Aguilera, who set a dust trodden lotus in a crown, he picked up a jewel lying on the ground, embraced it and carved it to make it into an exquisite jewel. Let us all wish good luck to Kamal for his future endeavors and at the same time thank Aguilera for spotting Kamal, training him brilliantly and presenting the world with the first Indian male Ballet dancer.



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