Kerala School Kalolsavam 2023: Rising expenses for classical dance items leave parents with a heavy heart

It is affecting genuinely talented students who are financially backward

January 06, 2023 06:53 pm | Updated 07:06 pm IST - Kozhikode

Is preparing students for classical dance competitions an expensive affair for parents at the State School Arts Festival? People working behind the scenes say so. The majority of those who performed this time have spent a minimum of ₹50,000 from their pockets just as training fee apart from other major costs.

“To be frank, we never send our students for classical dance items like Kuchipudi or Bharatanatyam as it is hardly an affordable affair for their parents. The moment a student starts preparations at the sub-district level, parents will have to start shelling out more money. They will have to loosen the purse strings if he or she secures eligibility for the State event,” says Preethi George, teacher with a prominent school in the city. She adds that students are sent for participating only in items that even financially weaker families can afford.

The training fee has doubled compared to that of earlier years. Since celebrity trainers are in huge demand, financially sound families are happy to have them as dedicated trainers.

“It is not just the dress, but ornaments and other make up support too are very costly for classical items. Many times, a team of professionals accompanies such student performers. Low-income families cannot even think of such a support,” says Bindu Jayakumar, a higher secondary school teacher. “Schools will also be not able to share any major expenses of the student,” she adds.

“No one will reveal the actual expenses. It is sure to cross ₹1 lakh in the case of any classical dance performer at the State festival. This trend will definitely drive away a major section of genuinely talented students who are financially backward,” says Sathi Jayan, a Bharatanatyam trainer. “Either school managements or the government should take care of such students as they should not be disappointed in the game of money,” she adds.

The overall expense of the ongoing school festival is expected to touch ₹1.50 crore this time. A portion of the expense is now being mobilised in the form of coupons from the public. Sadly, there is no such option to mobilise financial support for outstanding performers in classical arts who struggle to meet the expenses.

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