UAE students compete, celebrate Indian classical music and dance with fanfare

Gems Modern Academy and Malhaar Centre for Performing Arts organise an inter-school classical music and dance competition for the first time in the Emirates


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 13 Dec 2022, 10:50 PM

An inter-school Indian classical music and dance competition, ‘Sur Taal Sangam’, was organised for the first time in the UAE last week.

The competition was organised by Gems Modern Academy, Dubai, in association with Malhaar Centre for Performing Arts, at the school’s auditorium on Thursday and Friday.

“For the first time in the UAE, an inter-school competition based only on Indian classical music and dance has been organised for school students. The objective of this initiative is to promote Indian classical performing arts among the students of the UAE and encourage them to pursue it further by providing a national platform and giving them exposure,” said Jogiraj Sikidar, founder and director of Malhaar Centre for Performing Arts, Dubai. The competition will be held annually from now on.

“Malhaar is running an in-curriculum programme on Indian classical music and dance in the primary school of Gems Modern Academy for the last four years. We have received an extremely encouraging response from students and parents of the school.

"Hence, we thought that it would be a good idea to spread the rich Indian classical performing arts traditions across the schools of the UAE by conducting an inter-school competition, which is dedicated only to Indian classical music and dance, and we wish to do this every year now,” said Nargish Khambatta, the principal and CEO of Gems Modern Academy and vice-president – Education.

There were three categories in the competition - Indian classical vocal (Hindustani and Carnatic), Indian classical instrument (Hindustani and Carnatic) and Indian classical dance.

The competition was grouped in three levels - Child Kalaakaar for the Primary school students, Junior Kalaakaar for the middle school students and Teen Kalaakaar for the senior school students, explained Sikidar.

“We were overwhelmed by the response in the debut season of the competition. There were 136 entries across 24 schools from all over the country. Our panel of judges chose 54 finalists and 13 winners from across the art-forms and categories,” added Sikidar.

The prize distribution ceremony will take place on the annual concert day of Malhaar on December 18 at the Gems Modern Academy auditorium.

Malhaar is running Indian classical music and dance programme in four schools in the UAE. Thousands of children from Grade one to six are taking daily classes in vocal, dance or instrumental music, taught by teachers from Malhaar. The classes are approved by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Parents are not charged extra for the classes, Sikidar said.

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