Movements of life

Saturday, 11 December 2010 00:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Three dance performances take to the stage to treat enthusiasts this weekend

By Shezna Shums

For dance enthusiasts this weekend brings two performances. The Colombo Dance Platform show takes place today while the Nelung Arts Centre takes over Park Street Mews on Sunday.Today from 8pm onwards at the Park Street Mews the Chitrasena Dance Company will have a one hour programme which concentrates on showcasing the sound and movement of an island people.

There is a strong bond between artistic elements and it is considered a marriage where one cannot live without the other. It includes a diverse compilation of drums and dance acts pointing to the interdependent relationship between dance and its drums.

Dera Nada Chalana is the title dance piece which celebrates the idea of duality, the distinct contrast in sound and movement of the two most popular traditional dance styles of Sri Lanka-the Kandyan and Ruhunu. Also on 11 December at the Nelung Arts Centre at 6pm will be a performance by Rangika Jeewantha.

As a young Sri Lankan dancer, Rangika strongly feels we should explore news paths and presents first a solo performance ‘Thaname’, which is a crescendo of musical sounds brought together to perform an up country traditional dance. A second group performance will follow, including ‘Yathura’ which revolves around harvest dance showing rice cultivation. ‘Riddi Bisaw’ is a selection from a low country ritual and ‘Samera’ is a dance showing the fanning of Sri Lankan Kings by courtiers.

Tomorrow (12 December) Natanda  Dance theatre of Sri Lanka will have their performance at 3pm at Park Street Mews.

SighSpeak is Natanda’s 7th annual dance production that has the intention of raising awareness of dance as a universal, non verbal form of communication, and how it can interact with different systems of non verbal and symbol-based language towards the creation of a distinctively new genre of dance and communication. The real life experiences of deaf and dumb persons and the particular urgency of bringing attention to these special groups given their serious marginalization within Sri Lanka society.

SignSpeak will go on board from 11 to 16 of March 2011 as well at the British School.

Natanda is seeking donors and funders for this project said Natanda Dance Theatre Artistic Director and Founder Kapila Palihawardana.

Speaking to the Weekend FT, Palihawardana said that the item being performed is Frangipani as it reflects Sri Lankan society which is strong, mild and weak. Strong because Sri Lankans have  a strong heritage, mild because Sri Lankans are mild and caring people and weak because after the war people are still downbeat  in their thoughts and feeling.

Speaking about SignSpeak he explained that there will be 100 children from the Ratmalana deaf and dumb school taking part in the performance. Palihawardana explained that during the performance deaf and dumb signs will be depicted through the dance movements.

“These children are very talented and only lack one sense from other children, so their intelligence and  enthusiasm is great, and they are learning a lot as the whole performance is done professionally with standard lighting, makeup and costumes. These children only need more exposure to showcase their talents,” he added.

Natanda which has 15 people are voluntarily teaching these children. Palihawardana says that whilst traditional Sri Lankan dance is good people should be more open minded to other contemporary and other dances. Another performance by the Meranga Dancing Company will start at 4pm at the Park Street Mews.

The dancing performance ‘Samsaric Sojourn’ consists out of four breathtaking pieces titled ‘ Grounding for birth’, ‘Origin to demise’, ‘Spirit to the space’ and ‘Searching for life’. After this performance at 5pm also at the Park Street Mews is a piece by Venuri Perera.

Venuri Perera will be presenting two dance performances, Abhinishkramanaya (Renunciation) and Soldier. The first piece is a personal, symbolic expression of the struggle felt at the moment of departure from the learned, honoured and familiar to the new, unknown and unfamiliar.

An excerpt of Thuranga Vannama is used, playing on the sound in a way that could also depict the struggle within. The second piece is a miniature which was created for Engdhal’s ‘Same Same with Difference’- Resolutions 2009, The Place, London.

Later on at 5;45 pm Mohan Sudusinghe will perform ‘ Black and White’.

‘Black and White ‘ is a fusion dance highlighting the similarities and differences in traditional dance and martial arts-“I was impressed with the arm and body movement used in that discipline (martial art), ‘Angampora’ as I found a lot of similar movement in dance,” he stated.

Be sure to catch these performances and treat yourself to a world of dance.