Crossroads of dance: A meeting of traditions
DANCE: The Nelung Dance Academy will stage its newest
production âCrossroads of Danceâ on June 29 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre
at 7 p.m., when it presents three outstanding dancers, Mohan Sudusinghe,
Rangika Jeewantha and Wendy Perera to Sri Lankan audiences.
Mohan and Rangika are both traditional Kandyan dancers who have
extended their skills and present innovative choreography. Wendy is a
senior student of Nelung Dance Academy now on the BA (Hons) Dance
programme at La Salle, Singapore.
The evening celebrates the diversity and beauty of dance, having
traditional dancing from Sri Lanka like the Kandyan; Modern and Latin
American Dance; innovative fusions as well as classical ballet, on the
The evening is also a âTribute to Teachersâ. Mohan was taught by
Nandana Balasuriya and Rangika by the late Mr. Gunasekera of Prince of
Wales, Moratuwa and also by Piyasara Shilpathipathi.
It will be an evening to honour them through dance. Mohanâs âWarrior
Danceâ which highlights the skilful and impressive movements of prince
Bandula is dedicated to Nandana Balasuriya.
Rangika will present the âGajaga Vannamaâ which was choreographed by
Piyasara and is a tribute to him. Parents are not forgotten in their
role as teachers, when Mohan and his sisters will dance âAvarjanaâ
(reminiscences) as a tribute to their late father. Niloufer Peiris will
dance with Tony Fernandez, dancer and teacher of Latin American dance,
to a song by Frank Sinatra as a personal tribute to her father.
Mohan presents âCrossoverâ, a contemporary dance item choreographed
with a mixture of Kandyan, Latin American and Sri Lankan Folk Dance.
He would be joined by Kevin Nugera, well-known Latin American dancer
and teacher in this item. In âBlack and Whiteâ he will dance with
Ranjith, an expert in martial arts in experimental choreography which
explores the similarities between dance and Martial Arts.
Rangika will also present his own choreography with items like âThe
Eagle and the Girlâ and âDevâ, a fusion of Kathak and traditional
Kandyan. Rangika will also dance a (challenging) classical ballet solo,
âWaveâ created for him by Niloufer, music Grieg.
Mohan and Rangika have been collaborating with the Nelung Dance
Academy for many years, (Rangika being a full-time student there as
well) are both founders of their own dance companies, the Lak Uruma
Foundation and Rivega Dance Studio respectively. Their own students will
be joining them in this evening of dance.
A not-too-often found opportunity to see the demands of classical
ballet will be shown when Wendy Perera demonstrates the technique of the
four little swans - Act II of Swan Lake (1877).
In her solos, created for her by her teacher, Niloufer Pieris, she
will show the continuing tradition and development of classical ballet
started by female pioneers, Marie Camargo (1710-1770) and Marie Salle
(1707-1756). She will dance âPreludeâ to a cello solo by Bach and
âErwartungâ (Expectation) to an Etude by Chopin.
Niloufer Pieris, the founder and director of the Nelung Dance Academy
feels that it is important to promote and encourage the new generation
of dancers and musicians, if Sri Lanka wishes to maintain its standards,
traditions of the past and links with the rest of South-East Asia.
The Nelung Dance Academy will also celebrate the work of Thusitha
Ranasinghe and Maximus, recipient of the 2006 BBC World Challenge Award
for Elephant paper, by showing the twelve-minute documentary done on him
by the BBC.
The significance of the work done at Maximus shows that the human and
the animal worlds do not always have to be in conflict - a cause for
celebration, says Niloufer.
Tickets for âCrossroads of Danceâ will be available at the Lionel