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In Conversation With Swathi Subramanian

Boston Sargam

Boston Sargam is a non-profit organization, whose aim is to showcase and encourage participation in South Asian cultural arts in the New England area.  The organization wants to provide a platform for local performers to express their talent and to provide an opportunity for the overall community to experience the best in the South Asian arts. The big event planned this year is on October 30th at the Littleton High School

Past events under the banner of Diwali Rhythm have had tremendous success. With the participation of over 300 local artists and the support of the local community and businesses they have been able to exhibit a quality program each time.

Swathi Subramanian, a Boston resident and host of the show has had an affinity with the Arts for a long time.  Spreading cultural awareness has been important to her and when seen as a host at shows, her bubbly personality can often be caught on stage.  A natural at dancing/acting, and with a formal education in Bharatanatyam, she has performed extensively both on classical & catchy Bollywood numbers at various social events. Be it running a marathon to raise funds for the welfare of under-privileged children, or actively volunteering in the promotion of social and cultural awareness, Swathi is always known to contribute with great affection & enthusiasm.  She spent many years working as host for many charity and non-profit organizations.

 What are your goals and how do you plan on achieving your goals ?

To achieve this we are running a yearly mega event in which the best performers will compete.  We are currently auditioning local talent from the    New England area.  The auditions will continue until early October.  The finalists from the auditions will compete at our premier mega event which will be held on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 at the      Littleton    High School.  The event will feature performances by all our finalists, with the winners selected by the audience and our judges.

How will you encourage participation in the event?

Our past events showed a high level of participation and to increase the level of challenge for the performers we’ve decided to make it a competition this year.  Awards will be presented to the winners, and in addition media exposure will also be given.

What kinds of recognition is being planned for the winners? 

Awards to be presented to the winners in each category will include cash prizes and trophies.  In addition to the judged winners in each category, there will be one all star People’s award chosen by the audience. This single award will be separate from the other officially judged awards.

What are the competition categories this year ?

For the October 30, 2010 event, we have three main categories for competition.  These categories are: 

·        Solo Song

·        Solo Dance

·        Group Dance. 

The presentation style in song and dance will be from the Bollywood collections. Please go to www.bostonsargam.org to get more details about how to participate. Registration forms are available online and you can subscribe to regular updates via email on our site. 

Are there any age divisions in these categories and how will the screening be conducted ?

For solo song competition, we have two age divisions: starting from age 10 upto 20, and over 20 plus.  Regardless of age, each song must be comprised of lyrics from a Bollywood movie/album song.   Preliminary level of auditions will be done after we receive mp3 song. During live auditions, singers will perform a 3 minute song piece without referring to any written lyrics.  Auditions will be performed on karaoke tracks.  However during the final event on October 30th, finalists will present their song with live instrumental music.

Likewise, for the solo dance competition, we have once again two age divisions: starting from age 10 up to 18, and over 18 plus.  Each dance item is to be from a Bollywood movie/album and could include variation of styles.   Preliminary level of auditions will be done after we receive a 3 minute video clip. 

 For the group dance competition, currently we have a single age division from 10 to 18 where once again each dance item is to be from a Bollywood movie/album and could include variation of styles. Preliminary level of auditions will be done after we receive a 4 minute video clip. All details are listed on our website: www.bostonsargam.org under Rules & Regulations.  

What else is there to do at the event….Boston Sargam Mela

Other than seeing amazing dance and song performances, we will also be having a Mela at the event.  The Mela is a fair that will have booths that showcase South Asian arts and crafts.  We plan to have booths offering handicrafts, henna, great food, etc.  For those interested in acquiring a Booth table for this event, Booth Application forms are available on our website: www.bostonsargam.org

What criteria is being used by the judges?

  For Song category, points will be adjudged based on the quality of voice, rendition, choice of song and its level of difficulty.  For Dance category, points will be adjudged based on the presentation, choreography, and level of difficulty, facial expression, costume, jewelry and overall impression.  Point deductions will also be held if completion rules are not met appropriately.

8. Will there be any reason for performers to lose points?

  Point Deductions are likely if artists exceed/under the time limit; inappropriate content; coaching from the audience or sides of stage; use of restricted items; un-sportsmanlike conduct.

9. Do you have any incentives for those artists may not be lucky to win prizes?

As stated before Boston Sargam’s main goal is to facilitate, showcase & uplift all art form to greater levels. As a way to encourage all those who have shown courage to perform and be judged, participants will receive a certificate of participation from Boston Sargam, Inc.

10. What are long-term goals for Boston Sargam?

With our community growing steadily, there has been much interest in strengthening our arts. There are plenty of teachers in our area today who provide classes in various dance and music forms. We at Boston Sargam would like to work with all these gurus and work towards bringing a form in which these varied talents can engage and interact with each other. After October 30th event, we will continue to present unique competitions in classical and contemporary forms, where young artists in the Boston and neighboring areas will continue to share the stage with the very best.  In collaboration with teachers, we will also be presenting plays & dance dramas in the future. With each endeavor we strive to bring together a high level quality event with professional state of the art equipment. We will continue to encourage people to participate in Boston Sargam’s Competitions & Shows and allow them walk away feeling like a star!

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