Meet Amir Shah, a Ballet Prodigy Discovered in Mumbai, India
Like many talented ballet students, Amir Shah hopes hard work and dedication to the art will lead to a bright future in the ballet world. Unlike most ballet hopefuls, Amir lives in a low-income neighborhood in Mumbai, India—which has almost no ballet scene.
The 15-year-old, who has only been dancing for two years, was recently accepted to the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre's pre-professional program, where he'll start in the fall. But Amir's passion for ballet emerged from much humbler circumstances. Amir knew almost nothing about ballet a few years ago, when he took a hip hop class as part of a special program for underprivileged Indian students. Israeli ballet teacher Yehudi Maor observed his aptitude for movement, and invited Amir to take his ballet class.
"I saw a little boy with what we'd call the right instrument. He moved very easy but [he had] no training," Moar told the BBC. But Amir was a quick study and "immediately learned the language of ballet," Moar said.
Now, Amir's been dubbed "India's Billy Elliot" by the BBC. Check out his inspirational story below for some #MondayMotivation!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer