In April 2019, Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj launched Malhaar’s flagship integrated Indian performing arts programme, ‘Listen, Learn and Perform’, as a compulsory performing arts subject at Modern’s primary school and also conducted a master class.
Malhotra said: “GEMS Modern Academy strongly believes an appreciation of Indian classical music and dance, along with our well established Western vocals and violin classes, will enhance our children’s perspective and holistic development, it was heartening to see the enthusiasm of our students and many a hidden talent emerged. Students enjoy the sessions and we were surprised to see the interest of a large number of boys in Bharatanatyam dance form. Special thanks to our parents for encouraging and supporting the programme wholeheartedly.”
For grade three student Aahana Singh at Heritage school, she has found joy in learning the Kathak classical Indian dance. “It’s great that I’m learning something new and I’ve a good teacher. I like the footwork and hand movements of Kathak, it’s really nice to be in this class.”
Her dance teacher Sameeksha Joshi said the students’ “hard work” spoke volumes “about the appreciation I get from them”.
Aahana’s schoolmate, grade six student Laiba Khan, said playing the Tabla has helped her focus and improve her concentration. “I have never played an instrument before, and Tabla as an instrument fascinates me. I was keen to know and learn everything about it. This is what sparked my interest. I feel very relaxed. I aspire to be a musician someday.”
Another grade six student, Meehir Verma, who is learning Hindustani vocals, said the programme has lent a voice to her passion. “I love singing. It is my passion to sing. The play of notes moving from a high note to a low note excites me. I also feels singing helps me focus better in my studies.