The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Search for the right notes ’n’ steps

Eight-year-old Imon Das kept the audience laughing through his recitation of Leechu Chor. Amar Khalid, 16, held the crowd spellbound with his voice and guitar. Nine-year-old Pinky and 13-year-old Kaiyath had kids and adults alike tapping their feet to their respective dance performances. They are just a few of the talented, yet underprivileged, children who will now have the opportunity to pursue their hobbies through professional training.

Inspiration Foundation, founded by danseuse Alokananda Roy, recently held a talent competition, in which a number of children from various NGOs participated in the fields of dance, music, elocution and art. The winners ranged from the age of eight to 18, hailing from organisations like Disha, Calcutta Emmanuel School, Emmanuel Ministries, Childcare Project, Jabala and IPER. At the prize distribution ceremony, the youngsters were given the opportunity to perform for their teachers and friends.

While most of the kids claimed they were not nervous at all, Amar definitely was. Although a regular public performer as a member of Rock Band, a motley crew of students from city colleges, he said it was an entirely different experience singing before the school principal. “This is a good opportunity though. I have never had any formal training, so this professional help in music will be good for me.” A successful performance followed by appreciative applause confirmed his belief that he could only get better.

Little Imon and Pinky, however, were consummate performers, both encouraged by their teachers from a tender age. Pinky has been learning Bharatanatyam, kathak and folk dance amongst others, and loves to “dance to anything”. Imon loves to talk, confidently walking on stage to entertain his captive audience with the poem chosen by his ‘ma’am’.

The 30-odd winners of the competition will begin their weekly class at Vidyasagar Academy from April 20. The dancers will be trained in folk and contemporary, the singers in choir and solo, folk and semi-classical, the elocutionists in acting and the artists in different types of arts and crafts. “Each discipline will have a teacher, like Subhashish Bhattacharjee and Arnab Banerjee for dance, Santana Chowdhury for drama and Kalyan Banerjee and my mother, Debi Chakradhar, for vocal music. And famous personalities like Bratati Bandyopadhay and Tanushree Shankar will hold a few workshops through the year,” says Roy.

The first programme that Roy hopes to do is on May 1, by invitation from Miloni, an NGO. “I don’t know if we will be able to manage it so soon, but I will try,” she smiles. “My aim is not just to develop these talents in the children, but to enable them to make it their source of livelihood. So, I plan to sell the art and craft works that the kids will make, so that I can also fund the Foundation’s work. At the moment, what we really need, is a piano for the singers.”

In the meantime, the youngsters seem to be doing just fine, with an offer from FM radio for a recording session. They unanimously declare that they are looking forward to the classes, not just for the training, but also the chance to meet and interact with others their own age and with similar talents. “It will be fun,” sums up Kaiyath with a smile.

Email This Page