They queued for their moment in the spotlight and the chance to fulfil their dreams of stardom on the international dance stage, to win almost Dh400,000 (US$108,0000) and to appear in a Bollywood film. First, they had to get past an audition and impress the panel of demanding judges presiding over the Middle East round of the TV talent show, Dance India Dance, which was held in Dubai yesterday. Even before the 7.30am start, the contenders were lining up as music boomed out from the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium, the centrepiece of the Indian High School, ready for the first nervous ones to come through the door.
For their patience, they would be rewarded with a minute to perform a dance routine and persuade the three judges, among them Remo D'Souza, a top Bollywood choreographer, that they should go through to the next stage. For some, it was an even shorter glimpse of stardom, their hopes shattered in seconds as the judges called time on their audition and sent them off the stage. The competition, run by Zee TV, is open to anyone aged between 15 and 30. Auditions for the second season of the show are being held across the world, including the UK, US and Asia, with Dubai chosen as the venue for the Middle East.
Fifteen people made it through the first audition in the UAE yesterday and will be flown out, all expenses paid, to Mumbai within the next few days to take part in the next stages along with 85 others. These will be whittled down to 18 who will take part in the live finals. Last year's winner, Salman Khan, 26, from Bangalore, won five million rupees (Dh390,000) and a dancing contract for a music video in a forthcoming Bollywood film.
"The talent was of an extremely high standard last year, and we expecting the same this time," said a spokesman for Zee TV. * The National