PATHANAMTHITTA: If one goes behind the stages when dance competitions are on at the MG University Youth Festival here, one can see several happy faces. They are the dance gurus of the participants, who have trained the students. The full-fledged youth festival after the lockdown has given them many reasons to smile.
It has brought back hope and confidence in the dance mentors, who had been facing hardships and financial constraints after the pandemic outbreak. They didn't have any students, no youth festival and no earning during the lockdown period. Now, the situation has changed. They have become busy, competitions are on and more students are coming to learn dance.
Celebrity dance teacher RLV Pradeepkumar told The New Indian Express that the enthusiasm of the participants, their parents, audience and organisers have made them really happy. "This youth festival has given a lease of life to the dance mentors, students and art lovers after such hard times caused by the pandemic," said Pradeepkumar, who was the mentor of famous celebrities like Divya Unni, Remya Nambeesan, Miya George, Lakshmi Menon, Devi Chandana and Krishna Prabha.
"After the outbreak of the pandemic, we didn’t have any students and income. My wife Chithra and I have two dance schools. There used to be at least 35 students in a single dance batch before the pandemic outbreak. After the lockdown was imposed, all avenues of income generation were blocked," he said.
Dance competitions are drawing big crowds at the youth festival venues, giving the students and art teachers great encouragement.
Adwaidh R, final-year BA Bharatanatyam student of RLV College of Music and Fine Arts, Tripunithura, who competed in Kuchipudi (Tharangam) on Sunday said when the lockdown was in place, he did not expect that he could attend the MG University Youth Festival before he completing the course.
"It was a really tough time for both the dance mentors and students then. We were also sad at the plight of our dance mentors. Now, dance classes have resumed and our mentors are back to their busy schedule. The resumption of the youth festival has given a new lease of life to the dancers," said Adwaidh.
Sunday's first prize winners
Wind instrument (eastern): Ajayakrishnan of RLV College of Music and Fine Arts
Mono act: Janaki Vijayan of Mar Athanasius College, Kothamangalam
Kavithaparayanam: Devananda Rajesh of Baselius College, Kottayam
Elocution (Hindi): Priya Soni, Catholicate College, Pathanamthitta
Ottanthullal: Gopika G Nair, DB College, Keezhoor
Bharatanatyam (female): Teja Sunil, St Teresa's College, Ernakulam, and Krishnaveni G, CMS College, Kottayam
Quiz competition: St Thomas College of Teacher Education, Pala
Skit: Sree Sankara College, Kalady, and Sacred Heart College, Thevara