Palakkad tribal students create 'A' history at Kalolsavam

K Deepika, K Akshara, KC Anjana Priya, M Jyothi, N Gayathri, Krishnendu and RP Hemalatha of Agali Mukkali Model Residential School pose at the venue of the Kalolsavam in Kollam. Photo: Special arrangement

Palakkad: For the first time in the history of Kalolsavam, tribal students secured 'A grade' in group dance. The unique feat was achieved by a team from Agali Mukkali Model Residential School in Palakkad, comprising plus-one and plus-two students.

“I'm still in disbelief,” said K Deepika, a member of the team. Deepika, who belongs to the Irula tribal community, said she had never set foot outside Palakkad before travelling with her teammates to Kollam, the venue of the event.

K Akshara, KC Anjana Priya, M Jyothi, N Gayathri, Krishnendu and RP Hemalatha, all hailing from tribal communities in Attappadi, were the other members of the team.

Deepika told Onmanorama that though she was familiar with traditional tribal dance, training for the Kalolsavam was a different experience. “Our tribal dance and the steps for the group dance are entirely different. It was difficult, but we all wanted to perform well because we know, we may never get such an opportunity in future.”

A difficult journey
Rajalakshmi C, senior superintendent of the school, lauded the hardwork put in by the talented group of students. “The girls worked hard for the past four months,” said Rajalakshmi.

Students of Agali Mukkali Model Residential School perform at the Kalolsavam in Kollam. Photo: Special arrangement

But it wasn't a smooth journey for the Agali school team. They were placed first in the sub-district festival with an ‘A grade’. “But we received only ‘C grade’ in the district-level. We knew that the judging was not up to the standards so we had to go for an appeal to participate in the state-level," Rajalakshmi said.

“We secured special permission from the Tribal Department to train the students. For group dance you need an expert to train and a considerable amount has to be spent on clothes, costumes and makeup,” she added.

The group from Agali isn't the first tribal school team to compete in the Kalolsavam, but none of their predecessors managed an 'A grade'.

Athulya Vijesh, who trained the students, hailed their commitment. “For two months, they were all working really hard. This would not have been possible without the support of school authorities and tribal department. Group dance is one of the costliest items performed in youth festivals. However, for these girls, many came forward to support,” said Athulya.

The team will be given a grand reception at the school on Saturday.

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