Kolkata/Mumbai: A teenager from Bengal’s Siliguri district is trying his best to gather funds which could help him pursue his dancing dream in America.
Dipesh Verma, the 18-year-old self-tutored ballet dancer, is the son of grocer and has been offered seats in some of the prestigious ballet academies in America like – Ballet Academy East (New York), Berkeley Ballet Theater (California), Maryland Youth Ballet (Maryland), Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Pennsylvania) and Nashville Classical Ballet Academy (Nashville). But lack of fund seems to be a big hurdle for this teen, whose journey from Siliguri to Mumbai can be easily classified as a miraculous.
From Siliguri to Mumbai
Speaking to eNewsroom he said, “I come from a low-income family. My father runs a grocery shop and my mother is a homemaker. I wasn’t encouraged when I began showing interest in dancing, that too ballet, a dance form that is not very popular in India. So, I had to face a lot of resistance back home. But with every hurdle that I faced, my determination to become a ballet dancer got only stronger.”
He then added, “Back then dreaming of becoming a trained ballet dancer was a distant dream. I was a government school student, with my father having minimal resources to fund the education of we three siblings. My determination to become a trained dancer often made me earn my father’s wrath. He till date thinks that I should have pursued education and not dance.”
Watch Dipesh Verma, the dancer in action:
YouTube tutored ballet dancer
On being asked, as to why he chose ballet. He explained, “There is less competition here. Most of the boys are into hip-hop or other dance forms, so ballet was a good choice for me.” He then elaborated, “My financial constraint always restricted me from hiring a personal trainer. So, I heavily banked on YouTube tutorials. You can say, that California-based ballet dancer Sophia Lucia was my trainer in spirit. Her YouTube tutorial has made me reach where I am today.”
After completing his schooling, Dipesh bagged a scholarship at The DanceWorx Mumbai so he moved to Mumbai. But convincing his parents was a difficult task. “My elder sister and brother have been very supportive and are very happy with the fact that I am following my dream. They convinced my parents. My sister till date sends half of her salary (Rs 4,000) to me every month.”
Has talent but no finance
According to this young lad, who has been trying his best to realise his dream of being a ballet dancer in a top ballet dance company, his dreams wouldn’t have been materialised had he not been spotted by his mentor – Yeduha Maor, the ballet master of DanceWorx. “Yeduha sir has played an instrumental role in not just training me in ballet but also motivating me to apply for various scholarships offered to a ballet dancer. The result, you can see for yourself. I have been selected in five ballet academies, with a full scholarship. All that I have to bear is the travel and accommodation cost. But sadly enough lack of funds is kind of clipping my wings.”
He explains that prior to him; two of his batch mates from DanceWorx had managed to get immense public support. “Unlike me, the crowdfunding campaign of my former batch mates had got a lot of support. Today they are being trained at the best ballet academies of the world.
Lack of fund to cut short his journey
Dipesh had dreamt of joining the Ballet Academy East ((NY) but is having to check other option. “I am kind of feeling helpless. I have bagged a full scholarship at BAE (NY) but I am not considering it as cost of living in NY is way high and I don’t have the funds. So, we are considering Nashville Classical Ballet Academy.” He then added, “My crowdfunding campaign which is about to end in a few days has not got many supporters. I have even requested them to extend my campaign and hopeful of getting an extension. But I presume lack of popularity and information on ballet could be playing a deterrent.”