AAPA’s brand new avatar

May 22, 2022

The renovated Alhamra Academy of Performing Arts is more technologically advanced and offers a greater variety of courses than before

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The building boasts an aesthetically done studio. — Images by the author


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he Lahore Arts Council (LAC) recently reopened the Alhamra Academy of Performing Arts (AAPA), one of the country’s pioneering institutions that imparts education in different kinds of arts such as music, acting and classical Indian dance. The academy was closed briefly, last year, for renovation purposes.

Several courses are currently being offered in kathak, drama acting, drawing/ painting, vocals, guitar, tabla, flute, violin, harmonium, sitar and sarangi. A year-long diploma course seems to be a favourite with the students who can come in without any specific prequalification. To quote a 17-year-old pursuing music at the academy, the eligibility criterion is very simple: “Anyone with a passion for art and related activities is welcome to join.” Clearly, there’s no age bar too.

The AAPA has two campuses — their main campus is located on the Mall; the other is housed in the cultural complex near Gaddafi Stadium. The former offers a greater number of courses. The classes are held from Monday through Friday, from 4 in the afternoon till 6 in the evening. But that’s for the summers. In winters, the timings are from 3 to 5pm.

As is true of all public sector educational institutions, the AAPA has a subsidised fee structure. The admission fee is Rs 500, followed by a monthly fee of Rs 1,000.

The faculty is composed of individuals who are all LAC-veterans. No particular level of education is currently required for teaching at the academy, but the teachers are expected to be proficient in their respective fields.

The academy also regularly releases videos on the said courses. Till date, the AAPA is said to have released over 300 video lectures on sarangi alone.

Prior to its renovation, the academy had drawn some criticism for the kind of courses being offered, the availability of these courses; and the students often had concerns about the infrastructure and the basement setup the classes were taught at. There seems to be a significant change in all areas now.

Prior to its renovation, the academy had drawn some criticism for the kind of courses being offered, the availability of these courses; and the students often had concerns about the infrastructure and the basement setup the classes were taught at. There seems to be a significant change in all areas now.

The classes are immersive in nature, and encourage activity and creativity. Besides, there’s a significant increase in the number of courses being offered. Sitar, for instance, is a recent addition. This has led to more students becoming interested.

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he activities of the academy were greatly affected amid the pandemic, as students could not attend the classes in person. Conversely, the academy did not have the facility to move online. The post-renovation AAPA is technologically advanced, and is equipped with multimedia screens etc, so the classes can be held online if need be. Besides, the teachers can conduct seminars online.

With regard to infrastructure, the classrooms have been redesigned; air conditioning has been installed, allowing for a more conducive environment for learning, especially when the summers get fiercely humid in Lahore. A copper statue occupies the pride of place at the mouth of the stairs, while the paintings hung on the walls and the aesthetically done studios add to the appeal.

A large auditorium which can house up to 800 people is also part of the new setup.

In the final analysis, the LAC is clearly headed in the right direction what with the freshly refurbished academy, when it comes to promoting performing arts in what is dubbed as the cultural capital of Pakistan.


The writer is a student based in Lahore




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