Young Indian girl wins classical dance competition in Malaysia
February 04 2020 09:15 PM
WINNER: 11-year-old Pooja Santosh is a Grade-6 student in Birla Public School. She bagged the award of excellence in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam

The first and foremost inspiration for a child is his or her parents. If children are given the right kind of atmosphere and encouragement to pursue their passion, they can do wonders. 
Eleven-year-old Pooja Santosh is an example in how talented children can be if they are encouraged to follow their passion and interests. The Grade-6 student in Birla Public School has recently won an international classical dance competition held in Malaysia.
She bagged the award of excellence in Kuchipudi, one of the 11 major Indian classical dances, and Bharatanatyam, a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in the state of Tamil Nadu, styles along with first prize and A grade for both dance forms. The ‘International Dance Competition’ was conducted by AIDA (All India Dance Association) in association with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre and High Commission of India in Kuala Lumpur.
She was also a recipient of ‘Nrithyathi’ award (puraskar) in a national level competition conducted by AIDA at Raipur, India in April 2019. She has also performed in various stages in Qatar and has taken part in many competitions and obtained many prizes in the field of Dance and music. Pooja is not only good at dance and music but also at her academic studies in her school.
Talking to Community, Deepa Santosh, mother of Puja, said: “Pooja’s father – Santosh Kurup – and I are very proud of what she has achieved. She started showing interest in dance at a very early age as she saw her elder sister – Sneha Santosh – dancing and singing. Sneha, however, took part in no competition.
“Taking inspiration from her elder sister, Pooja vindicated her true interest and passion for the classical dance and music. We noticed her inclination when she was only four-year-old. Even her teachers at school took a note of her talents. We pushed her to pursue her passion.
“Pooja has been the disciple of Dr Harshsn Sebastian Antony (Kerala), Dr Soosadima Soosan and Kalamandalam Bijusha (Doha). She carries real interest for music as well. She did a three-hour-long music concert at the age of 10 in India.”
Deepa, who along with her husband – an engineer by profession, has been living in Qatar for over 20 years, added: “Pooja was born in Qatar. She got a right kind of atmosphere and training to be able to win the international competition. She has made us proud. We as parents have to continue supporting her for the passion.”
The talented Pooja takes the classical dance and music very seriously. “I feel dance and music are like a part of my soul. I have been getting involved in any kind of music. Whenever I listen to some music, my feet will naturally start moving and dancing. This is my passion that I cannot avoid.’
In response to a question that why she think she was better than other dancers at the competition, little Pooja said: “I think I took no pressure of winning or losing. I just concentrated on my dance and tried to present the best of myself. I had confidence in myself as my parents and gurus have encouraged me and appreciated my talents.”
She feels indebted to her parents and teachers for her success. “I am really thankful to my teachers who brushed up my talent and my parents who encouraged me to pursue the passion..”
Pooja dreams of getting more recognition in singing in future. “Yes I love the classical dance but I love music more. I will continue dancing and singing both but I want to excel more in singing.”
The young student simply loves being in Qatar. “There are many beautiful things that I like about the country where I was born and am getting my education. Foremost, it is a very safe country. There is no trouble living here. We can concentrate single mindedly on what we want to achieve. Further, Qatar is very clean and insect-free.”

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