The Kuchipudi competitions for boys and girls at the 46th Kerala State School Kalotsavam attracted a huge crowd at the main venue at Marine Drive. There were also many foreigners among the audience, who chose not to lose a chance to enjoy the classical dances held in the open air.

The first prize in boys' category was shared by S. Anand, Silverhills HSS, Kozhikode, and Sandeep P.V., SNVV HSS, Aloor, Thrissur. Anand has won first prizes for Ottanthullal and Bharatanatyam also.

Though the `Appeal Syndrome' had considerably lessened this year, it continued to cast shadows over the performances, especially the dance items. So, the Kuchipudi (Boys) had 20 participants. Five of them had reached the State level with the support of appeals and court orders. Fifteen participants were originally selected from the district level competitions, with two being selected from one district. Even Anand, one of the first prize winners, had participated in the State level through appeal.

The Kuchipudi performances centred mainly on Sri Krishna stories, and the `Dasavataras.' Most of the participants presented the intricate steps on the brass plate, which is celebrated as a unique aspect of the classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh.

With the increased number of participants, the boys' category prolonged beyond 2.30 p.m., even though the girls' competitions were slated to begin at 1.30 p.m.

The first call for the girls' competitions began around 3 p.m.

Renu Ramanath