The UAE's Feelings 2012 hunts for talent across cultures

At Feelings 2012, 15 UAE groups will perform a variety of fast-paced music and dance routines.

Members of Abu Dhabi's Fantasia Ballet from left:  Sharon Van Schie, age 18, from South Africa, Nadeen Farisi, 17, from Iraq, and Nadia Kotaishova, 17, from the Czech Republic.
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Nestling between dense forests and the majestic Himalayan mountains is the peaceful Indian state of Uttarakhand, known for, among many things, its rich folk-dancing traditions.

During Feelings 2012, promoted as the "UAE's first ever cross-culture talent hunt", Deep Negi, a Dubai-based writer and dancer, hopes the audience will get a glimpse of the life of the Gharwali - the people of the mountains, as he describes them.

At the Dubai Community and Arts Centre, Mall of the Emirates on Saturday, 15 groups from across the UAE will perform a variety of fast-paced music and dance routines, supported by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.

At least 100 performers in total, ranging from semi-professional to professional, will join Negi's Aanchal Dance Troupe, including the Emirates Youth Symphonic Orchestra, with Emirati children from the age of six, and Beit Al Oud, celebrating the Middle East's oldest instrument.

The event also aims to raise awareness for children with special needs, with proceeds going to Al Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre.

"We'll be performing a folk song that is very soft and sweet," said the 28-year-old Negi. "It will be different because it incorporates both dance and acting to represent our culture. The audience will experience everything from the clothing, language and way of life in one performance."

Organisers say the purpose of the event is to emphasise the need for more cross-cultural events, which they feel are currently few and far between.

"The UAE is full of events, but they are mostly rigid in terms of the representation of various cultures, languages and regions and while necessary, it is also just as important to show the existence of cultures in perfect harmony," said Rakesh Chandola, event producer and director. "We had to ask 'why is there not enough representation?' and 'why are the youth not represented?' That is why Feelings fills that gap perfectly."

The show will last a total of three hours with each group allocated approximately five minutes.

Negi's Aanchal Dance Troupe will perform to the song Jaagi Re, which translates as "wait", with three male and three female performers.

"It is set in the morning time when people are ready to start their day as they make their way to the fields," he said. "It also has a little romance." Other performers include the Dubai-based singer and composer Gayathri and Pali Chandra from Dubai-based Gurukul, which works to promote south Asian art and culture.

The UAE's first Emirati ballet dancer, 18-year-old Alia Al Neyadi, will also take the stage, leading four other dancers from Fantasia Ballet, the oldest in the Emirates and founded by Alia's mother, the Bolshoi-trained Ukrainian Svetlana Al Neyadi.

The girls, between the ages of 17 and 18, will either add classical ballet to Sirtaki, which is a form of ancient Greek dance or Jota, a popular Spanish dance style.

"It will be an exciting combination and we are really counting on Feelings to help establish more respect and understanding of ballet. We hope the audience will go home feeling happy," she said. "The students are very much looking forward to performing - it will be a spectacular bright page in our history."

  • The show starts at 5pm on Saturday. Tickets cost Dh100 for adults and Dh80 for students ages 5 to 21. For more information, visit

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