An Indian teenager is living out his own Billy Elliot story after being given the chance to study at one of the world’s most prestigious ballet schools.
Amir Shah, 15, is the son of a welder and grew up with his six siblings in a low-income neighbourhood of Mumbai, but his extraordinary talent will soon take him to New York.
Shah’s introduction to ballet happened serendipitously when two years ago he was spotted by dance teacher Yehuda Maor during a hip hop class at the city’s Danceworx Academy.
Maor immediately noticed his “remarkable physique, the shape of his feet and natural movement” and invited him to try ballet.
He described it like "winning the lottery".
Shah applied himself to ballet with a single-minded dedication that saw him give up school and which paid off when he was accepted to several American dance academies, including the renowned American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York.
To get him there, a GoFundMe page was set up which caught the eye of Indian billionaire Yusuf Hamied, remarkably offered to pay Shah's full tuition and residence costs.