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DateLine Friday, 16 February 2007

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Yasasi: bright spark in Bharata Natyam flame

VERSATILITY: Bharata Natyam is considered to be a fire-dance - the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles that include odissi (element of water), and Mohiniattam (element of air).

The movements of an authentic Bharata Natyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame. Thus it is no wonder that when she stepped onto stage to perform for her Arangethram, Yasasi Tharindra Perera, 14, portrayed just that- a sparkle of what will one day become a bright flame in the field of Bharat Natyam in Sri Lanka.

SPIRITUAL DANCE FORMS: Yasasi Tharindra at her Arangethram.

Yasasi is a Year 10 student of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo. She had entered the school in 1998 and had been an active student in a number of sectors during the past few years. She held her Arangethram at her school on February 3 at 6.00 p.m.

“I have always loved dancing. I watched an Arangethram by one of our old girls when I was in year two. That inspired me to take up Bharata Natyam,” Yasasi revealed.

Yasasi had been training under Priyadharshani Bandara since she was eight years old. She had participated in several dance items.

“I took part in two shows with my colleagues. We also presented events for Rupavahini and TNL. Last year, we presented a show called Saliya Ashokamala and in 2004 we had one called Gruthyamanjalee.

We presented a dance item to the song called Pudamu Mae Kusum for television programmes. That was in 2001, when I was nine years. It was my first public dance item,” Yasasi said.

The talented young girl is also practising both up country and low country dance items. She had participated in a competition named Nirmani Samuha Bera Sandavni in 2005 and had emerged winner in the all-island rank along with the troupe. The year 2006 dawned with her taking part in a group folk dance and clinching the title of all-island winners in that category as well.

Yasasi is also a talented netball player. She had been under the guidance of coaches like Deepthi Alwis, Champa Ranjani and Anurangani Dissanayake. She had brought glory to her alma mater as the team won second place at a Netball competition in the all-island sector in 2003.

When the team won first place in the competition in 2005, Yasasi had been elected as the best sportswoman for her role in the under 14 netball team.

She had been the leader of the under 12 netball team and had been an active member of the school’s under 14 and under 15 netball teams.The school also clinched the title of third place in the all-island netball competition in 2005. She received a certificate of excellence at the Colours Night organised by the Western Province for this achievement.

Yasasi had taken part as a presenter in functions such as Singithi Rangum and the annual Sinhala New year festival in 2002.

“I manage to engage in these activities without letting them get in the way of my studies. I had dancing classes after school on Wednesdays and Thursdays and netball practices on Fridays and Mondays,” Yasasi explained.

“My parents, brother, teacher, school, Asoka Bandara, Janani Bandara and all my friends have been very supportive. They contributed in numerous ways in organising the Arangethram. I am my guru’s 11th student to do the Arangethram.

It included 11 items. The Alarippu and Puspanjali, two invocations to God were the first two items followed by the Sarasvathi Abhivandana. Then I had dance items to five Sinhala songs such as Wrunda Wanae, “Bindumathi” and Shantha Mae Rathriyae. We usually have items like Jatiswaram and Varnam in Arangethrams. I concluded with the Thillana.

“I practised a lot during the school holidays for this event and it was a huge success,” she beamed.

Music with spirit from Peterites

GOLDEN JUBILEE: St. Peter’s College, Colombo Brass Band completes 50 years and to mark their Golden Jubilee they will present Ritmico con Spirito (Music with Spirit) on February 18 at 4.30 p.m. at the BMICH.

Shanil Fernando, 18, the band leader said organising the concert was a huge task.

“I got lot of support from the school. All the members in the senior band helped me. I have been in the band for almost 10 years. It developed my talents and I learnt to play lot of instruments. I also learnt leadership qualities. I’ will be sitting for my A/Ls this year but I will continue to do music as a hobby,” Shanil said.

Junior band of St. Peter’s College.

“Our band is the first cadet brass band in the country. Twelve leading schools will participate in this show. There will also be a dance troupe,” he added.

“I have been in the band for 10 years. It is really good being in the band. We are like a family. We have played for other occasions also. It is pleasant to work together with everybody. Everyday we have practices and we started practising two months ago. It will be a grand show,” Kumara Silva, 18 said.

Supun Narangoda, 17 the deputy band leader said he loves music. “Music is my life. I come from a musical family. That has helped me a lot in my life. I have completed seven years in the band. I play the saxophone and I enjoy it very much,” he said.

Malintha Perera, 17 said being a band member has taught him a lot of good lessons. “I play the trumpet in the band. It has taught many lessons. I have learnt to work together. I have improved my talents. This event is a good opportunity especially for youngsters. They get good exposure through this event,” Malintha explained.

Intermediate band of St. Peter’s College.

“I was the junior band leader in 2001. I then joined the senior band. I play the tuba. I have improved my talents and I enjoy playing for the band. Through the band we learn a lot and we teach little ones also,” Angelo Kalansuriya, 17, said.

Nilshan Rupasinghe, 17, said this event is going to be very interesting. “I joined the band because I like it. Our master helps us a lot. I joined the band in grade five and will continue music,” he explained.

“For seven years I have contributed to the band. We are happy that we got this grand opportunity once again to exhibit our talents. The senior band will play 11 songs. With the support of others we are going to have a great event,” W. A. D. Nirmal Rukshan, 17, added.

Nisal Fernando, 16, said everybody is trying their best to make this event a success. “Everybody is eager and working hard. I have taken part in most of the band shows in school. I play the saxophone. We have a good team and we practised a lot. It is going to be great show,” he said.

Pradeep John, 16 and Dileepa Silva, 16 said the band has improved and is in a better condition.

“It is definitely better than when we started. The quality has improved and we can come out better this time,” they said.

Dreno Mortier, 16, added the standard of the band has improved. “We got a lot of support from the school to improve our band. With the new instruments we are sure to have a good show,” he said.

All team members thanked their bandmaster Daya Karunatilake, Fr. Siri Cooray, priest in charge, Fr. Travis Gabriel, Rector, teachers and parents for their untiring efforts in organising this event.

They invite all teen readers to enjoy this magnificent show.

Pictures by Mahinda Vithanachchi



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