V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Fifty-four young dancers took part in the Indian classical dance competition Bharatham, organised by Toa Payoh West Community Centre Indian Activity Executive Committee last month.
Eighteen made it to the grand finale, which was staged at the Toa Payoh West CC Hall on July 23.
Varsha MS took the top prize for those aged 18 to 25, while Isabel Joshy was the winner in Category B (13 to 17) and Sridhar Pranitha in Category A (12 and below).
Interestingly, Sridhar and Geetharth Sundararaman, who won the second prize, were the only boys in the 28 competitors Category A field.
Judges Vimala Devi (from Malaysia), Vicknesvari Vadivalagan (Singapore) and Padmalaksshme Suresh (India) selected the winners based on their dancing abilities, costume and overall performance.
All the finalists received prize money of up to $600.
Toa Payoh West CC has been holding Bharatham regularly since 2007 to appreciate the inherent talents of Singapore's youth and encourage them to contribute more to Indian classical dance.
"We have an Indian dance team under our Indian Activity Executive Committee (IAEC) and they practise every Saturday evening at our dance studio," said Toa Payoh West CC IAEC chairman V G Balachander.
"We encourage residents to join in and learn from our experienced members."
Bharatham is held once in two years but was cancelled last year because of Covid-19 restrictions.
"As the Covid situation improved, we held the event this year," said Mr Balachander.
"We took into account safety measures in the planning of this competition. We want the young dancers to get a chance to showcase their talents.
"Bharatham 2022 was made possible with the support of enthusiastic participants, parents, teachers and dance institutions. Not forgetting the generous contributions from sponsors.
"The continuous encouragement from our adviser and Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Chee Hong Tat, and the support of our CC office-bearers gave the IAEC team a great boost.
"We hope to continue organising Bharatham as we are all for the growth of this traditional Indian art in Singapore."