Meet Amir Shah, a Ballet Prodigy Discovered in Mumbai, India

July 23, 2017

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!