Detroit (CBS 62) – It had all the anticipation of “American Idol” as 21 dance and performing groups made up of young people from across the region competed at the Third Annual Children’s Festival & Competition.

The event, organized by the Turkish American Society of Michigan and Balkan American Community Center, was held at Wayne State University. Over 350 young people representing 21 countries and cultures competed in front of a jury Sunday, who judged them on things like execution and audience appeal.

The group from Hindu Temple Rhythms Dance Organization took first place honors while the Behar Bosnian Cultural Dancing Group took second place. Group Prodijee, representing the U.S., won third place with their American urban hip hop dance routine.

The judges were: Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski, Antoine Garibaldi, President of the University of Detroit Mercy, Clay Pearson, City Manager of Novi, Karen Prall, Director of The Art of Motion Dance Theatre, John Barton, Provost of Rochester College,  Alex Terzian, a musician, Karen DiChiera, Director of Community Programs at the Detroit Opera House, Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley, and Jaclyn Assarian, Associate Director of the Office of International Programs at Wayne State University. The event was emceed by CBS 62’s Senior Producer and “Michigan Matters” host Carol Cain.

(credit: Hakan Yildiz)

(credit: Hakan Yildiz)

The groups represented Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Turkey, United States, and West Africa.

The competition ended with the performers appearing together to sing a version of Michael Jackson’s “We are the World.”

“This event is intended to show how truly diverse our region is and how we are all connected through things like music and dance,” said Tolga Celik, President of the Turkish American Society. He added he hoped it would help promote greater cultural exchange.


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