It was at the tender age of eleven when he first remembered dancing to a classic Nepali song in India. Born in Ludhiana, Punjab (India), Lucky Darlami is better known as the ballet boy. Based in Sushila Arts Academy, Darlami performs and teaches the artistic form of dance to young dance enthusiasts. For Lucky, it was Alizé Biannic who taught him the skills and strength that it takes to learn ballet. He also credits her as his first dance teacher, teaching ballet and contemporary dance. Being involved in the musical broadway show Ruslan in Kathmandu in 2016 was a highlight for Lucky. Whilst discussing his role as a teacher, Lucky adds “Teaching makes me feel that I also have something special that I can share with others and that I am able to help those committed dancers who really want to pursue this for the long-term”.
Selection of photos displayed from Shilu Jain Photography and Avishesh Maskey
MY JOURNEY INTO BALLET – LUCKY DARLAMI
I’ve been a dancer for nine years, starting in Butwal and very rapidly I understood that this is what I wanted to do with my life. It has become a real passion and I cannot see myself doing anything else. I started practicing in my district but it was very difficult to learn contemporary dance in Butwal because none of the dance academies offers this form of dance. I started practicing by myself through the internet and somehow I managed to grow a little but still that was not enough.
As soon as I graduated from year 12, I took my chances and decided to come to Kathmandu because this is the only place in Nepal where I could further learn and develop my dance skills professionally. I was very lucky to meet a French ballerina who lives in Kathmandu and I was able to join a dance company with her where I started taking ballet and contemporary classes and participate in musical dance productions.
But the reality is that it is very difficult because there really is no financial investment in Nepal for dance companies that do non-traditional dancing like contemporary and ballet. So not only is it difficult to find a teacher, a place to learn, a place to practice but it is also difficult to make a living out of my passion. It would be easier for me to leave the country and go abroad where this is more viable but for now I prefer to stay in Nepal and share my passion and my skills with others. This is very difficult because in Nepal there is no university that offers faculty in ballet or contemporary dance. There are very few dance companies that do this professionally. Despite all those challenges my passion prevails.
I don’t want young people to face the same difficulties that I’ve faced and continue to face so my dream is, in addition to have a career as a ballet dancer, it is to open a ballet school in Nepal for other children to learn. I would say in Nepal its much easier to learn and practice folk and traditional Nepali dance style but what I prefer is ballet and contemporary dance and I believe in a globalized world, it is very important that children from Nepal are given an opportunity to learn non-traditional forms of dance styles so that they can be exposed and they can really open up to other types of dance. There should be options to learn and practice these dance styles. The reason why this has not yet well developed is that very few people in Nepal even know about ballet and appreciate ballet so there is also a need for people to learn more and maybe a responsibility for a real culture policy to be established so that people can get more familiar with other types of arts than just traditional Nepali form of creative expression.