We set about applying their make up and doing their hair before dressing them in their bright and colourful costumes. Their costumes are traditional to match their traditional dances, and were lovingly made by the devoted parents of our SEDA students. Once their jewellery and accessories were added they were all ready to head out to the performance area and check out the stage!!
As is tradition in Sri Lanka the event would not start before making sure everyone was well fed and watered, so off the students went to the dinning hall, dressed in all their bright glamorous frocks, to fill up on noodles and fruit juice before their performances
Finally the show started, the judges were in place at the front of the audience with all their files and forms to read through and complete as the groups of students performed one by one. The staff from social services were crowded around the sides of the stage making sure everything would run smoothly, and a room full of brightly dressed, enthusiastic and nervous performers watched among family, friends and supporters of the many charities gathered for this wonderful event.
One by one the groups performed, some performers so young they could barely make it up the steep steps onto the stage, but everyone up the stage was loving the lime light, smiles were abundant all over the stage.
Finally is was the turn of our first group, the girls, who were to perform a traditional rice harvest dance, complete with rice basket props. They performed to live singing by our head teacher, and was accompanied by a solo traditional drummer (also a student at SEDA). They danced with much confidence and enjoyment, they worked as a team to stay synchronised, and the audience thoroughly enjoyed their mature and established performance. It was a fantastic performance and everyone was so proud of how far this group of girls have come in the past year.
Later up it was the turn of the boys, again performing another traditional harvest dance, with props and flags. Again the boys danced with confidence and uniformity and led a very mature and well established routine, flawless in its performance.
It was wonderful to be part of such a great and inspiring event, to see so many young people full of so much energy and enthusiasm, so excited to show off their new found skills, to be on the stage performing their hearts out to people they love, cherish and admire. There was barely a moment in the whole day in which you remembered these children are 'labelled' as differently abled, because quite frankly they were just as abled as any performers i've watched over my many years of working within the performing arts. It was a delightful and uplifting day and everyone at SEDA was delighted to be apart of such a well established gathering of young performers. Thank you to everyone involved in the organising of this event, and also to our teachers and volunteers at SEDA who work tirelessly to help our young students shine at these performances