More than 2,900 schoolchildren from the nation's capital took part in a rehearsal on Saturday for performances at the SEA Games opening and closing ceremonies.

Pupils from Vientiane Secondary School , Nongbone, Nonsavang, That Luang, Xaysettha, and Donenoun secondary schools, Nongnieng Lower Secondary School and the primary school of the National University of Laos will be training every Saturday until the start of the SEA Games in December. The games run from December 9-18.

The performances are being coordinated through the Ministry of Information and Culture and the Vientiane Education Department.

From October to December, the children will practise at school every day under instruction from their teachers.

On Saturdays they will rehearse at Chao Anouvong football stadium from 8 to 11am and again from 2 to 4pm. The children will perform modern and traditional dances.

In December, they will move to the National Football Stadium at Km16, where they will rehearse three times before the games.

Those taking part in the rehearsals will need to rearrange their school terms. They will start the school year on July 1, and have their first exams in October. They will have their second exam after the games are over. They will have rehearsals after lessons each day.

Head of the General Education Section of the Vientiane Education Department, Mr Southany Saignasane, said the children were enthusiastic about their rehearsals and their parents supported their participation.

Mr Southany said teachers at each school were teaching the children about the various sports to be included in the games, and telling them about 11 South East Asian countries that will compete.

It is hoped the rehearsals will encourage the children to learn to be sociable, friendly and outgoing, and not afraid to put their best foot forward during the games showpiece ceremonies.

More than 400 children at the primary school of the National University of Laos will perform the Anakhotsotsay dance, which is said to lead to a good future.

The Lao SEA Games Organising Committee said this school had been chosen for rehearsals because it has a large shady field.

It is also fairly easy for children to get from here to the National Football Stadium for dress rehearsals and performances.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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