The turnout was poor at the workshop on Maharashtrian folk dances, sponsored by the Department of Kannada and Culture in the city.

The four-day national level workshop, which began on Saturday, was organised by St.Agnes College.

On Sunday, there were not more than 15 students practising a dance. According to Shubharekha, Head of Department, Statistics, St.Agnes College, who is the staff co-ordinator for the workshop, of the 78 students from all over the state who had registered for participation, 15 finally appeared for the workshop. The reason, she said, was the Vivekananda Jayanti and examinations in some colleges. Students went en masses to participate in the celebrations and, at the last minute, cancelled attending the workshop, which was organised long ago. “Really, I didn’t expect this. I booked them (the training teacher) one year ago”, she said.

Further, she said that though students are interested in attending the workshop, their colleges have unit tests on now and were unwilling to make any adjustments for students.

The college has been hosting the workshop for the past seven years and this is the first time that there has been such a washout. In the past, it has been well-attended, she said.

In the past seven years, the dances taught through the workshop were Bharatanatyam, Kathak,dances from Punjab, Karnataka and Manipur.

Ramya Rao, a postgraduate in Bharatanatyam and a resident of Mysore, came to Mangalore to attend the workshop. She said, “It’s really nice, he is teaching properly”.

Gwynne, from St.Agnes College, said, “I wanted to learn from a professional. The way he is teaching is not ‘filmi’, it is traditional (authentic) folk dance”.

Anil Kumar Khichi, a dancer, who was training the students, told The Hindu that though the number of students was low, their enthusiasm was no less than had there been greater numbers. He said he would teach them four Maharashtrian folk dances (Lavani, Koli, “with lazium”, and “Thaali”) and that the students would present the dances on Monday. He said “There is no need to repeat the steps. They catch (learn the steps) very well.” However, he said that all the participating students already had “some connection with dance”.

Ms. Shubharekha said that the cheque for the sponsorship by the Department of Kannada and Culture last year is ready now. It would be helpful if the funds were given quickly, she said. eom

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