Thrissur: The historic Thekkinkadu Maidan erupted into a riot of colour as artistes dressed in myriad costumes of 14 hoary artforms, notably Kathakali, Kummatti, Kavadi, Arjuna nritam and Mayura nritam, swayed and stomped to the percussion beats, proclaiming the opening of the 58th Kerala State School Youth Festival on Saturday morning.
Artistes performed on simultaneous impromptu stages, arranged at the feet of trees in a novel show, capturing the festive mirth in the sunny morning ambience of Thrissur's most celebrated hangout in the heart of the city.
Stripes of tigers and their bouncy bellies recalled the spirit of Pooram as Kummatti artistes decked up in green fern and loud-coloured Kavadi mingled in a grand spectacle. Kavadi, performed during Thaipooyam festival, lent a third dimension to the traditional extravaganza. Alongside there were Theyyam, Padayanni, Oppana, Margamkali, Kolkali, Daffumuttu and Kalaripayattu.
Choreographed by Soorya Krishmoorthy, Drisyavismayam innovation lay in dispensing with the usual cultural procession.
As the beats ebbed, over 1,000 girl students, attired in traditional Kerala sarees and red blouses, pitched in on the lawn in front of the entrance of the main venue for a mega Thiruvathirakali.
Trained by veteran trainer, Malathi teacher, 80, the youthful dancers gyrated, though in graceful slowness, to the traditional Thiruvathira song.
Before the formal inauguration of the event to follow, a group 58 music teachers sang the welcome song at the main venue and 42 dance students from Kerala Kalamandalam performed with the song penned by Murukan Kattakada and tuned by M.G. Sreekumar. The dance was a fusion of Kathakali, Mohiniyattam and Oppana.
Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan inaugurated the show by lighting 58 traditional oil lamps. Ministers V.S. Sunil Kumar and A.C. Moideen, MPs C.N. Jayadevan, P. Biju and C.P. Narayanan, Kathakali veteran Kalamandalam Gopi, Peruvannam Kuttan Marar, playback singer P. Jayachandran among others were present.
Close to 9,000 students will take part in the events to be held in 24 venues across the city. If the appeals are allowed, the number of participants could swell to 10,000. While A-grade will be awarded for a performance securing 80 marks and above, B-grade will be given for 70-79 marks, and C-grade for 60-69 marks....