Students of Republican Vocational HSS at Konni in Pathanamthitta with Bhagya J. Vinayakumar (centre) after winning A grade in group dance (HSS) at the State School Arts Festival in Kozhikode. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
For the students of Republican Vocational HSS from rural Pathanamthitta, it has been a dream-cum-true debut at the Kerala School Kalolsavam in Kozhikode. Since the school could not afford an “upscale” dance teacher, the group dance team had failed to qualify beyond the district level until now. This year, however, they are returning victorious with an A grade, all thanks to a BEd trainee.
Bhagya J. Vinayakumar was at the school in Konni as part of her course, but instead of teaching Mathematics, she ended up grooming the dance team. Ms. Vinayakumar had selected Kannakaichoreographed by her teacher, Pramod, for the competition in the arts fete.
“When the school authorities found out that I have had training in classical dance, they asked me to teach the students. The dance video is available on YouTube and I made some improvisations before teaching them. We got hardly three weeks before the sub-district competition. Though the school has been participating in the Kalolsavam for several years now, it is a first for the dance team,” she says.
According to school headmaster R. Sreekumar, it was a pleasant surprise when the group dance team made it to Kozhikode. “Group dance is an event with huge expenses and it was the hard work of the teacher and the students that has fetched us at A grade,” he says. The school is over 100 years old.
Mr. Sreekumar adds that it usually costs around ₹2.5 lakh for a dance team to reach the State level, but his school team managed it within a budget of ₹80,000 this time. “Known dance teachers typically charge upwards of ₹60,000 and Bhagya did not take any money from the students or the school. Then there is also the expense of costumes, transportation and accommodation. Though a matter of pride, many schools cannot afford the expenses,” he says.
Apart from group dance, Sanskrit drama, group song, English skit and Kathaprasangam are the other events in which the school represented Pathanamthitta in the arts fete.