On Friday 7th and Saturday 8th February, Bancroft’s School invited guests to immerse themselves in a two-hour spectacle that showcased the huge talent that the HSBM (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Muslim) Society has to offer. Taal, meaning ‘beat of life’ began as a way for the Asian school community to come together and celebrate Indian dance, music, acting and culture. Now in its 19th year, the event has become something of a second Christmas for student, staff and parent alike as it has transformed into a school calendar-consuming extravaganza that hundreds of the students participate in - whether as choreographers, bursars or even members of the stage crew.

And this year’s production was nothing less than the usual excellent standards set by those before it. It boasted participation from over 250 pupils, spanning across different year groups and ethnic communities. Perhaps most remarkable is that the entirety of this glimmering feat is carried out by the students and overseen by the talented members of the Sixth Form, who have worked tirelessly since August to organise everything from sponsors to sound mixing. The evenings were an impressive manifestation of the countless hours that the students gave up in order to make the night a special one.

As well as bringing choreographic verve, the showcase is ultimately done in the name of charity and this year £25,000 was raised to support Dementia UK and the local Anderson School for Autism in Chigwell. Money was also raised for Veerayatan in India - a wonderful charity that works to help impoverished children and those struck down by natural calamities.

Both evenings were triumphs and there was a strong atmosphere of friendship and support backstage that translated beautifully into the performance on stage. Moreover, minor technical issues and performance anxieties were ironed out from Friday’s debut to make Saturday go down even better. Huge thanks are due to the catering team who also served up a delicious Indian-style banquet on Saturday evening.

Taal is incredibly important to the large HSBM community that makes up Bancroft’s and it was truly special to have the honour of Mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Zulfiqar Hussain sitting in the audience on Saturday night. Thank you to the staff for allowing those of us from ethnic minority backgrounds to be proud of our culture and share it with others!

Amala Sangha.