A talent show that comes right to you instead of you going to look for one? That’s just one aspect of this show that’s all heart and pure talent.
Redbridge International Academy in Bangalore did something remarkable with the concept of a children’s talent show.
Do you know what’s common among Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Ernest Hemingway and S Ramanujam? All of them were not formally trained and followed unconventional paths to greatness. Would a talent show have discovered them?
Switch on the television and there are tons of contests or talent shows. Almost every talent show does a preliminary round of elimination and many participants are ahead of their game, coming fully prepared with professional training and a fair amount of experience.
What about talent that is so special that it lies in those who have no experience on stage, those who have no professional training whatsoever and who are not fortunate enough to access these talent platforms?
In 2016, the Redbridge International Academy in Bangalore kick-started ‘Adbhuta‘, South Bangalore’s biggest talent hunt. Handpicking the best of the talent in the city, Redbridge nurtured and groomed these bright young minds to reach the finale in February 2017. The winners of this talent show were the unlikeliest people you would imagine! This year, Redbridge plans to up the scale of the search and round up lots more talent.
A regional spin on the talent show
Redbridge International Academy’s head of marketing, Nidhi Tripathi, came up with the idea of Adbhuta when she thought about extending Redbridge’s scholarship programs to children who could not afford school fees.
A school that is committed to achievements both in and out of the classroom, Redbridge wanted to encourage children who were gifted in other areas and not just in academics. Says Tripathi, “We didn’t want to make it an inter-school event. If you go to schools, they will give you the cream of the crop, the best performers among their students.
Instead, we did something different. We went to apartment complexes and music classes, places that have raw, untouched talent and where everyone is given an equal opportunity. Everyone can come and participate.”
Redbridge also wanted to look at all forms of talent – music, dance, instrumental music, even mathematics and cooking! They also did something remarkable. Apart from large apartment complexes and residential areas, they took their search beyond urban Bangalore and canvassed townships and semi-urban areas adjoining South Bangalore, places like Nisarga Layout and RK Township.
Some of the children whom they handpicked from these areas were remarkably talented, children whose fathers worked in factories and mothers worked as ayyahs in schools. They had no training whatsoever and yet the inborn talent they spotted was remarkable. Says Tripathi, “These children and their teachers were untrained but were so tuned in to the music or dance forms they were trying to master that they amazed us all. They had the spirit to excel, not merely win. It won us over completely.”
The Redbridge management was so committed to finding indigenous talent in South Bangalore that it went from apartment to apartment, looking for participants. They managed to collect an astonishing array of talents, children who were either gifted or wholeheartedly committed to their interests. With this pool of talent, Redbridge managed to do something remarkable.
A talent show for the ages
Redbridge’s first chapter of Adbhuta was conducted over 5 months, with the school’s organizing committee constantly auditioning children in different parts of South Bangalore, ending with the school rounding up a whopping 700 participants for their two semi-finals.
If you thought Adbhuta was your regular talent search, think again. Of course, there were some remarkable talents in singing, dancing, and group performances but there were some off-beat talents too!
For instance, one of the winners of Adbhuta was a child who had mastered the technique of mid-brain activation and could read when blindfolded. The Master Chef category saw children as young as 3 and 4 wow the judges with their remarkable cooking skills. Children showed their talent in hula hooping, dancing, singing, Maths and so much more.
There were categories as diverse as ‘Most Expressive,’ ‘Special Performance,’ ‘Fastest Fingers,’ ‘Best Mathematician,’ and ‘Best Creative Talent.’ There were 11 children who were selected under various categories for their remarkable talent. All the winners received a 50% scholarship.
The winner of Adbhuta 2017? It was a 15-year-old with Down’s Syndrome, who performed astonishing yoga feats on the stage. S. Pani from RK Layout won the Overall Championship trophy and cash prize, astonishing the judges and the audience with his mastery over Yoga.
The audience was so emotionally moved and inspired to see Pani’s performance on stage as he conquered every physical or mental obstacle, overcame fear and performed amazing Yoga feats. Pani also received a 100% scholarship to Redbridge to pursue his interest.
Redbridge has one of the best art, dance and sports departments in Bangalore. The school’s dance masters have a dance team called Ocean Kids, which stands among the Top 7 Teams in India’s Got Talent. Their Kathakali exponent is the Indian Ambassador to the US for the classical dance form. No wonder that the scholarships awarded to these children will provide them with unique opportunities to excel in their areas of passion!
Towards the end of this year, Redbridge plans to take Adbhuta to more apartments and areas in Bangalore.
Interested in participating? Want to rope in your apartment too? Do contact Redbridge to know more.
*This is a post in collaboration with the brand. The information and opinions are unbiased and stated as it were.