Sunepsangla - Young ballerina making ‘dreams come true’

Morung Express News
Kohima | March 23

Dancing since the age 5, Dimapur resident Sunepsangla, daughter of Aomeren Jamir and Khrietuomeü Jamir, has taken a leap forward in her goal to become a professional ballerina making her a first in Nagaland.

At 17, Sunepsangla has been selected at the National Theatre Ballet School Melbourne, Australia following rounds of auditions.

The young ballerina started learning ballet at the age 5 at Hope Centre for Excellence, Dimapur from 2011 to 2018 where she was awarded with the best ballet performance from 2011-2018. In 2019, she entered the Great Indian Ballet Competition (GIBC) Mumbai where she won the first position in the Classical Solo youth category.

Sunepsangla further went on to win 2nd in Classical Solo at the GIBC 2020 (virtual due to pandemic) and People’s Choice Award GIBC 2020. In 2022, she was awarded the winner in the GIBC Classical Solo 2022 (senior category). She has also earned scholarships to Belgrade, London (Virtual) and Vienna.

The lack of professional classes in Nagaland compelled her to move out of the State pursuing private lessons and master classes from Mumbai and Singapore including online lessons from the US. She cleared the audition for full-time ballet in Youth Ballet Academy Perth and The National Theatre Ballet School, Melbourne where she will be enrolled in the National Theatre Ballet School Melbourne, Australia this year.

“It’s a mixture of feelings,” says Sunepsangla, “I know it would be a dream come true, something I have worked towards for many years but also bittersweet as I would potentially move away from home.”

Breaking the barrier has not been an easy task- financially, in terms of pursuit of opportunities, professional classes as well as training herself which requires five to six hours on normal days and over 12 hours during competitions.

Supporting this endeavour is her family especially her mother, Khrietuomeü (Ame) Jamir who has nurtured her daughter’s dream and accompanied her in every single step of her ballet journey.

“Initially we used to laugh over it, thinking it is just a child’s whimsical dream but over time we realised that she has an inborn God gifted natural talent and skills. She has taken ballet very seriously at a very young age never realizing one day it could transform to her profession,” says Ame.

Ame who has navigated through Sunepsangla’s ballet journey states that the challenges are many: lack of awareness, professional teachers, exam centre, proper studios, acquisition of costumes and accessories especially in a country like India.

“It involves a lot of patience, finances, determination and decisions to fulfilling the child’s dream. Despite of all problems and challenges, I am quite optimistic that times are slowly changing and there is a gradual shift towards recognizing the Arts as futuristic careers,” mentions Jamir.

Often labelled as an elitist venture, Ame defends Ballet stating that it is not impossible for anyone to pursue it if they have the skill and talent in addition to the availability of scholarships and crowd funding.

“Many thinks only the rich and the affluent can afford to do so, that is not true,” says Ame citing ballet child prodigies such as Amir Shah, Kamal Singh and Love Kotiya who grew up in financially challenged backgrounds.

“Even though lack of basic infrastructural facilities and financial constraints are the major factors that should not deter one’s dream; Getting a good teacher to learn ballet is important but getting a right teacher who can identify your inborn talent and skills to guide you accordingly is more important,” states Ame.

Although Ballet arrived late for a state like Nagaland and even for the country, this art has much to offer. “I believe that ballet could be huge in Nagaland.  We have lakhs of children, schools to tap into and an incredibly receptive talented and motivated people. We just need a certain openness,” adds Jamir.

Ballet may not be a part of Naga culture, however Jamir believes that this form of dance art has much  to offer in terms of educational values. “It teaches disciplines, helps young children to develop co- ordination, develop musically and creativity, and much more. With current trend of the boom in the dance industry on India, Ballet dance too will come around in the near future,” says Ame.

At present, Sunepsangla’s interest lies in Classical Ballet and she hopes to join a company that will include her in their repertoire. As for the future, Sunepsangla’s goal is to train herself professionally in ballet from a reputed institute and return to India to help develop and enable the growth of the ballet community in India