She is the only English National Ballet dancer of South Asian origin attached to the country’s leading ballet outfit and tells acv why it’s important to give children opportunities she didn’t have and how she has helped to shape this new programme of expert tuition and guidance…
CLASSICAL ballet dancer Sarah Kundi talks to www.asianculturevulture.com about her experience as the only ballet dancer of South Asian descent currently working with the English National Ballet (ENB).
In this interview, the First Artist, as she is known, also talks about her leading role in shaping Ballet Futures – a ballet training programme for children of colour aged between eight to 12.
As a professional ballet dancer for the ENB, Kundi wants to give underrepresented young children a chance to share a passion for dance and be able progress as a community.
The programme gives dancers the opportunity to receive free weekly training at their local dance school, as well as provide financial support for costumes and travel.
The pilot programme began last month and is recruiting youngsters from local ballet schools. Nine girls aged between 9-11 from underrepresented groups have been selected.
A spokesperson for the ENB told acv : “The successful nine children started taking classes last week, after starting the programme with a trip to the Coliseum to watch English National Ballet perform ‘Raymonda’ on Saturday 22nd January”. She added: “We are now arranging visits to our other associated schools in Birmingham, Greater Manchester, and East London and consequently setting up their auditions.”
Kundi first began dancing after watching ‘Angelina Ballerina’ with her younger sister and going to a ballet class.
She trained at the Central School of Ballet before dancing for Northern Ballet between 2004-2008.
She was nominated for a National Dance Award in 2010 for Outstanding Classical Female Performance, after which she joined Ballet Black until 2013, where she created the role of Eurydice for Will Tuckett’s ‘Orpheus’ for their 10 year anniversary in 2011.
After joining the English National Ballet in 2014, she won the Corps de Ballet Award three years later, before being promoted to First Artist in 2018 and is now the most prominent ballet dancer of South Asian heritage working in Europe.
In the clip, Kundi is at the front and appears in Akram Khan’s ‘Dust’ (2017) – Courtesy of the English National Ballet
Find out more about English National Ballet Futures here – https://www.ballet.org.uk/project/ballet-futures-pipeline-project/
A Big Talent Media Production for http://www.asianculturevulture.com
Presenter/producer: Sailesh Ram
(Editing: Harry Clegg http://www.harryclegg.com/filmography)
*Some textual amendments have been made since this was first published