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Aadukalam 2011

Aadukalam 2011, an international dance competition hosted by the Tamil Youth Network in Munich, Germany on October 22 drew spectacular performances from Diaspora teams vying for the top prize.

Staged in the Theater Leo 17, one of the city’s most prestigious venues, the event was organised by the Global Tamil Youth League, and had as its theme, ‘In pursuit of Global Peace’.

The competition was won by a British team which also won best prize for technical execution, while teams from Switzerland and Canada won prizes for choreography and costume.

Canadian entrants, the ‘Huskies’, won second overall prize with their brightly coloured and energetic performance.

Depicting the effects of hunger, poverty and greed on global peace, and set to African music, Hip Hop, Bhangra and Gaana, their performance also earned them the best choreography award.

The Huskies were also the winners of Canadian national dance competition ‘Thaalam 2011’ earlier this year.

Team Switzerland won the awards for best costume and best promotion video.

The troupe, winners of Swiss national competition ‘Agni Thandavam 2011’, themed their performance on ‘good and evil’. Set to instrumental music, it depicted the Tamil struggle for freedom from oppression.

The British team, ‘Movement’, won the overall ‘Aadukalam’ Champions 2011 prize. Movement, the TYO-UK’s dance group, also picked up awards for best expression and best technical execution.

Their performance focussed on student-led resistance to oppression and discrimination. The central message was that for there to be global peace, all oppression must be confronted and defeated.

The performances were judged by an international panel which comprised of Wallice King, Docas Huber and Nigetha Vijayakumar.

“It was a great show. The participants have shown great passion and good performances. I am looking forward to being a part of Aadukalam 2012," said King, a native South African and performer in many international musicals including ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Africa! Africa!’

“[Movement’s] dance performance was very tight and within the short time they had the liveliness and power left the audience wanting more,” he added, in reference to the judges’ decision.

The competition was interspersed with song performances and comedy acts, including a stand-up routine by Tamil Rapper MC Sai, which drew rapturous applause.

A fast rising Diaspora star, MC Sai made the audience erupt with a rendition of hit ‘Pulihalukke Savala’, with some members of the audience leaping on stage to dance.

The event began with the release of balloons outside the venue, with attached messages of hope for global peace by the audience and dancers. The traditional lighting of the oil lamp, by the Project Coordinator Viulan Kulasegaram, followed inside the venue.

Bairavi Ratnabal, UK team leader said: "An international stage ensured greater visibility, talent recognition and awareness. It also allowed Tamil youths to recognize and represent [our] similarities in terms of hopes we have, despite being [from] different countries.”

Veenagaran Rajalingam, one of the Aadukalam coordinators said in his concluding speech: "Through this competition, we achieved [our goal] to see participants engage in an art they love, while simultaneously representing their aspirations for global peace."

Global Tamil Youth League was initiated by Diaspora youth groups from different countries in order to “reach, unite and empower Tamil youth to excel as leaders and architects of our nation.”