The stage was a perpetual fusion of colour. Yards and
yards of blue, green, yellow and red fabric in their more exotic
tones of turquoise, ochre, crimson and the like were draped across
the stage, sometimes flowing, sometimes static, sometimes infused
with life, at all times deftly controlled by the dancers who both
allowed themselves to be commanded by the accompaniment and conversely
challenged the accompaniment to keep up with them. Thus the story
of the life of fabric was unfolded for the audience.
Motion', held at the Gallery 706 on March 14, was a clear collaboration
between the two worlds of fabric and dance; the movement of fabric
represented through the movement of life. Organized in support of
the rebuilding of the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya, this 'festival of
fabric', depicting the life of fabric from the yarn dying process
to the cloth weaving process to the development of clothes was an
off-the-beat fashion show, dance recital and creative feat all at
the same time.
Heshma (granddaughter of doyen of dance Chitrasena) who conceived
and directed the show, the concept evolved from a documentary she
watched on the 'Barefoot' weaving centre. Enchanted by the process
she saw, especially the striking visual of bare feet on bright pink
dye and the rhythm pattern of the loom, Heshma knew she had her
concept. Although the original idea had been to organize a fashion
show, she wanted something more: "I wanted the event to be
more than the conventional modelling show, I wanted to have something
that would depict the life of Barefoot - and you find life in their
performance was a 'prologue' where the audience was treated to some
deft footwork behind a black cloth strung across the stage. In as
much as this scene worked to enhance the theme 'Barefeet in Motion',
within the rhythm of the feet began the fabric-making process, the
bare feet representative of people going to work. Brisk, catchy
rhythms that resonated through the blackout heightened the buzz.
This was interspersed with moments during which the feet made contact,
meaning only one thing - there was a news swapping session in progress.
This 'prologue' tied up beautifully with the 'epilogue' which saw
the dancers once again behind the black cloth bringing the activity
a full circle. This time, however, the feet had on ornaments, unlike
in the 'prologue' - and this was symbolic of the gradual evolution
that had been presented from yarn to finished work; it was the whole
show in a nutshell.
covered the main aspects of the fabric making process capturing
not just innovatively conceptualized movement, but also the spirit
of such an exercise, evolving into the final phase, which saw the
finished products grace the stage in the form of cameo characters.
The characters covered the whole gambit of 'everyday people' ranging
from soothsayers to monkey dancers, a fishmonger to a puppeteer,
from a snake charmer to the girls in the temple to the village women.
These characters were the 'models' and they made the stage their
'catwalk', owning it as they came to life from a 'freeze'. In addition
to being clad in clothes from 'Barefoot', the soothsayers carried
the trademark sling bags, while the fishmonger displayed his vibrant
coloured fish and bright orange prawns and there was a fabric snake
coiled up in the rattan box the snake charmer carried around with
first came in distinct groups or as individual characters and then
made their entrances in two or three groups. Once they met on stage
they became one. Increasing speed, they moved as one group in a
circular movement blending into each other until the visual was
just one blur of colour. This was a contrast from the stark colours
of black and white that opened the show. With the girls splashing
each other with brightly coloured dye during the representation
of the dying process, there began a gradual infusion of colour into
scenes, leading up to the end, which climaxed with everyone intoxicated
with colour and fabric.
was the key word for the first half of the performance, then 'tradition'
best describes the second half. Here the troupe opted to perform
a dance sequence called a theiya, which is a sequence part of any
syllabus or dance routine. "It's part of our routine and we
go through it even when we take class," says Heshma. "It's
a form that gradually speeds up and ends in a climax. Each dancer
who makes up the group gets a turn at taking the lead." However
for want of time this performance had only one leader and that was,
in addition to having "eaten, drunk, breathed and lived Kandyan
dance since the age of six," and has also studied modern dance
methods, more specifically the Martha Graham Technique at Berkeley
together with theatre crafts, says that in choreographing the show
she has borrowed from the disciplines she studied. Says Heshma,
"When I create, my approach will always be an extension of
what I have been trained in, which is Kandyan dancing. What you
see is my version of what my body has been trained in and the extent
I can push it to in terms of movement."
holds an allure for her, for Heshma, this can only spring from a
rich tradition. "We exist today because of my grandfather.
My grandmother followed his lead, as did my aunt and mother. I will
do the same - continue in the tradition he has given us."
of yesteryear return to perform for peace
In the Seventies
the 'Whall Gang' were Colombo's rock' n' roll outlaws. Their wild
hair, 'hippie' clothes and loud, fiery music provoked alarm, amusement
Many Gang members
were expert musicians. Prasanna Abeysekera and Cancer, Coffin Nail,
Gabo and the Breakways, Gobbledegook and Sweetie Pie, Imtiaz Hamid,
Kumar Navaratnam and Friends, Raj Seneviratne and the Unwanted Generation
were pioneers who introduced local audiences to heavy blues, 'acid'
rock, folk-rock, jazz-rock and punk.
multicultural group, the Whall Gang was full of the ideals of the
Woodstock Generation: peace and love, an end to victimization and
Back then they
were rebels: today, they are successful men and women with families
and careers. Many emigrated during the troubled Eighties and Nineties,
finding success in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. From their domiciles
abroad, they did what they could to support peace and development
at home. Now, with the peace process gathering momentum, the Gang
is reuniting in Colombo to hold a major rock festival to promote
will take place on Saturday, March 29, at the Vihara Maha Devi Park.
Because of the limited capacity of the venue, entry will be by passes.
In keeping with
the ideals of Woodstock, Peace Rocks will be a FREE festival. Costs
are being borne by the Gang and a few generous commercial sponsors.
for the festival will include such Whall Gang legends as Cancer,
Imtiaz Hamid, and Unwanted Generation, as well as some of the best
contemporary Sri Lankan rock bands.
While the festival
is primarily intended as a goodwill effort, audience members will
be encouraged to make donations to selected charities involved in
the peace effort. These charities will be represented at the venue.
The Whall Gang
believes that rock music is a powerful force that can unite people
from all communities and walks of life. Peace Rocks will allow people
to make a statement in support of peace just by being there. It
hopes to promote peace, rehabilitation and communal fraternity through
the electrifying good vibrations of the twentieth century's most
popular and persuasive musical form.
truly professional manners
The formal organization called the office is a place where
expertise and skills are traded, the main objective being to conduct
business. Therefore, it is necessary to create a good working environment,
which will enhance productivity and performance. This is only possible
through a positive mindset and where relationships at work are harmonious.
In this context,
it is imperative that everyone in an organization behaves in a truly
professional manner. Rule number one is respect.
important, and everyone from the Chairman to the peon and service
staff must be treated with the same regard and respect.
is a job opening, you need to put together an impressive C.V. to
apply for the job. As a prospective candidate you may get past the
first two rounds of the interview. But to succeed at the interview
and get that job depends on how you perform at the interview; how
you present yourself; your attire, and social skills.
the job, to start off on the right foot is as important as making
a good first impression. An office is a melting pot of personalities
and working under pressure, keeping to deadlines may trigger off
temper tantrums and friction among colleagues.
But bad behaviour
is unpardonable and will show your lack of professionalism. Exercise
your social skills when dealing with rude and obnoxious people.
If a person is impolite, respond in a courteous manner. This will
not only show your mental strength but will prove you a true professional.
may take the form of a desk and chair, a cubicle, a partitioned
area or a room.
It is your
personal space and there are certain guidelines to observe. You
can't simply barge in or walk into your colleague's area as and
when you feel like it. You are expected to knock or call out the
person's name before you enter his or her domain. Some bosses, though,
may not mind you walking in anytime; if that is the policy they
have adopted - but if he/she is the big boss, call before you enter
his/her room because sometimes your standing outside without warning
waiting to be called in could be disturbing and distracting if he/she
is in a midst of a call or a discussion.
borrowing your colleagues' stationery and office supplies when yours
facilities with care and consideration. Treat common room facilities
like wash/lunch rooms with care, as you are not the only one to
When you do
decide to leave a job there are certain niceties that you should
observe. Imagine your boss's plight after all the future investment
made on you in the form of scholarships, training and travel etc.,
thinking you would stay on and suddenly you announce that you are
quitting, and worse still that it is to join a competitor!!
No one is indispensable
no doubt, but you just can't leave them high and dry Give your present
boss a chance to hire someone before you leave and help your replacement
with the training.
When you do
decide to resign, do it graciously and with dignity. After all,
you never know when you will need your former boss or their company's