The ‘little ants’ set to tell their story

14 October 2015 - 105   - 0

At one end of the hall is a group of children trying to get their ‘ant movements’ right while in a quiet corner a few others are re-painting and patching-up their costumes and stage props. This is the cast of Kumbi Kathawa (Ant Story) working together to bring their latest production to life. The Chitrasena School of Dance, pioneers who invented the medium of Sinhala ballet to convey a story are ready to restage Kumbi Kathawa, their children’s ballet which was premiered in 2007 and restaged in 2009. The production will go on the boards at the Bishop’s College Auditorium from October 21-24 at 7.15 p.m. With a 60-member cast, the story revolves around an ant colony, particularly the ‘brave ant family’ that resist and overcome an evil force as well as a natural calamity confronting them. “It is an absolute pleasure to present children from our dance troupe who have been with us for a very long time- including the members from the school’s under seven Punchi Pada group,” says the Director of the ballet, Heshma Wignaraja. Heshma says that her grandparents- Guru Chitrasena and Vajira, created ballets that have the longevity to be reproduced and this has seen the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya – a school that has nurtured three generations under one roof, grow with their students. Choreographer of the ballet Kumbi Kathawa, Anjalika Melvani (Chitrasena and Vaijira’s daughter) says restaging a production is not without challenges and hence a few minor changes are done every time a production is presented anew. “In Kumbi Kathawa, we have retained the original story line but we have made some changes to stage props and costumes, mostly by repainting them, to enhance the original ballet,” she says. “Kumbi Kathawa is based on the Russian children’s story ‘The Brave Ant’ by Tatiana Makarova. It is a story I loved. I was always dreaming of doing something out of that Russian book because small children have the ability to capture ant movements on stage very well. It is beautiful to watch them on stage,” says Anjalika adding that it took five years to produce the original production. As for the reasons to re-stage the ballet, having rehearsed it for close to one year, Anjalika says that the moral of the story is quite relevant to present day society as it contains a very powerful underlying message. “The ballet has also been incorporated into the G.C.E Ordinary Level syllabus by the Ministry of Education. So this will be very a good opportunity for schoolchildren to see it,” she says. Tickets for the ballet Kumbi Kathawa (priced at Rs.2500, Rs.2000, Rs.1500, Rs. 1000, Rs. 750 and Rs.500 (balcony) can be purchased from Chitrasena Kalayathanaya in Elvitigala Mawatha and via www.ticketslk.com. More information can be obtained via 0113150570/2368902 or email umi.cvdance@gmail.com

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