• Meher Nigam

Classical Dance and Music Scholarships in India

Updated: Jun 29

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2020, it’s that every profession has a place and a purpose. Gone are the days when art and performing arts were considered inferior to more academic pursuits, because who did we all turn to in order to maintain our sanity during the lockdown? That’s right. Musicians. Dancers. Actors. Entertainers. And now is the time for you to pursue your dreams of joining their ranks. This article brings you a list of annual scholarships, grants, and fellowships that are specifically designed for Indian classical dancers and musicians to help get the ball rolling for you, and to prove to you that yes, there is a support structure out there that wants you to follow your dreams.


1. Scholarships for young artists in different cultural fields

The Ministry of Culture grants scholarships to young artists in different cultural and creative fields. This scholarship aims to provide each scholar with Rs.5000/- per month for a period of 2 years. This money can be used to cover their living expenses and other necessities.

This Scheme seeks to give assistance to young artistes of outstanding promise for advanced training within India in the field of Indian Classical Music, Indian Classical Dance, Theatre, Mime, Visual art, Folk, Traditional and Indigenous Arts and Light Classical Music. The scholar is expected to train rigorously under a Guru or a recognized organization. The entire application procedure is online.

Eligibility – Applicants must belong to the age group of 18-25 as on 1st April of the year in which they apply. They should be trained for a minimum of 5 years under their Guru or in an institution. These scholarships are meant for advanced training and thus candidates must have strong knowledge of their field. Artist can belong to any genre of Classical Music, Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts and Folk Art. For further information you can visit - https://www.indiaculture.nic.in/award-scholarships-young-artists-different-cultural-fields

2. Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme (CTSSS)

The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) started with CTSSS in 1982. This is a national level scholarship program for talented children belonging to the age group of 10-14for getting specialized training in various cultural fields such as traditional forms of music, dance, drama as well as painting, sculpture, crafts and literary activities.. They are given Rs3600/- per month and an additional amount of Rs. 9000/- is given as a tuition fee for the Guru/ Institution. A total of 650 scholarships are awarded each year out of which 375 are general scholarships. Eligibility – Applicant must be an Indian national belonging to the age group of 10-14. They should be a student at any recognized institute or belong to a family of practicing artists. The selection process takes place in two parts – short listing based on application file and then an interview. For further information you can visit - http://ccrtindia.gov.in/scholarship.php

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3. Kalakriti Fellowship

Sanskriti Foundation, a registered Public Charitable trust, brings you an exceptional fellowship program exclusively for Indian Classical dancers. The objective of this scholarship is to encourage dancers into the field of performing arts. The duration of this fellowship is 10 months in which a grant of Rs. 50,000/- is given to the artist in 2 installments. The applicants are expected to sign an agreement with Sanskriti foundation where a regular flow of work is determined and fixed for the fellowship period. Candidates are required to send a 2-page CV and samples of their previous works – including their projects and performances. Some of the past fellows include kathak artist Monisa Nayak and Smt. Ipsita Chatterjee. Eligibility – The program is open to all Indian national who fit in the age range of 25 to 40 years. A training period of minimum 10 years is required in order to apply for the fellowship. In addition to this, they should've given 2-3 solo performances at recognized forums. For further information you can visit - http://www.sanskritifoundation.org/Kalakriti-Fellowship.htm


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4. Madhobi Chatterjii Memorial Fellowship by Sanskriti Foundation

Another amazing fellowship by the Sanskriti-Madhobi Chatterjii Memorial fellowship invites all Indian Classical dancers and musicians who wish to contribute in the advancement of Indian Art forms. It grants a total of Rs. 1,00,000/- to its receivers in 2 installments. Candidates are required to send a 2-page CV and samples of their previous works – including their projects and performances. Some of the past fellows include singer Sanjukta Biswas, Shri Omkar Dadarkar and Odissi dancer Smt. Shashwati Garai Ghosh. Eligibility – The program is open to all Indian nationals belonging to any genre of Indian Classical Music (Vocal or Instrumental) and Dance (form or choreography). Some years of training is required in order to apply for the fellowship. In addition to this, they should've given 2-3 solo performances at recognized forums. For further information you can visit -

http://www.sanskritifoundation.org/Madhobi-Chatterji-Memorial.htm

5. Raga Fellowship

Raga fellowship, an initiative by Indian Raga is an entry point for senior artists to get featured in all the flagship events supported by Indian Raga. It is open to all artists across all age groups and genres. Upon selection, fellows are mentored by IndianRaga Creative Panel or designated experts who help them in improving their craft. There are several benefits of being a Raga fellow. One gets featured on IndianRaga’s YouTube channel that has millions of subscribers. Additionally, they get the opportunity of performing at prestigious live concerts. Most of them are paid performances. Over the years, IndianRaga artists have performed at the UN General Assembly, Indian Navy, World Government Summit etc. Eligibility – There is no specific criteria for applying to the fellowship. But data has shown that artists who’ve attended Raga Jams have an added advantage. This has been mentioned on their website. For further information you can visit -

https://indianraga.com/fellowship/#1571055411676-47cda7b2-c257

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6. ICMA Scholarship Program

Founded by music genius Mahesh Kale, ICMA provides a merit and need based support to emerging artists who wish to make a career in performing arts (music and dance). Each scholar receives a maximum of USD 1200 per year on a quarterly basis. Scholarship can be given for a period of 1 to 6 years depending on the need. Each year, their eligibility is assessed. Eligibility – Applicants must be serious dancers and musicians and not hobbyists. There is an age limit of 18 – 25 years. It is mandatory that the applicant is learning from a Guru with a minimum training period of 5 years. They must provide a regular progress report to maintain eligibiity. For further information you can visit - http://www.icmafoundation.org/icma-scholarship-program.html

Yes! So many opportunities in the field of performing arts. And Skyshot has done a brilliant work in articulating them at one place. Choose what interests you and apply. The world is waiting to cherish your impeccable talent. :)


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Written by: Meher Nigam, Skyshot Arts and Entertainment


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