V Unbeatable is a Mumbai-based acrobatic dance troupe whose members range in age from 12 to 28 and come from the city’s slums. NPR wrote about them after they won America’s Got Talent: The Champions this February. They’d hoped the win would help improve the financial situation of their families and open doors to new opportunities. But the pandemic was declared just weeks after their triumphant return home. So what are they doing now?
The dancers were basking in the glory of their spectacular victory when India went under a strict coronavirus lockdown in late March. Daily rehearsals—where all two dozen would gather to practice acrobatic moves together—were suspended. The shows where they were scheduled to perform were canceled, so their source of income dried up. They couldn’t even celebrate properly, says the group’s 28-year-old choreographer Swapnil Bhoir.
“What was supposed to be the best time of our lives became the toughest time of our lives,” says Bhoir.
India is recording around 80,000 fresh COVID-19 infections daily—the highest single-day tally in the world. Its total caseload of about 4 million cases is the third highest in the world behind the U.S. and Brazil.