Mirror Magazine

The wonder of folk dancing
By Sachie Fernando
Their voices are piercing. Their moves are astounding. Their sounds express not just melodies but also emotions. Their performance is brilliant. And so, the “Samaranga” dance troupe has got the honour of representing Sri Lanka at the third Folklorida 2004, in Hungary. And that’s not all. The cluster will also travel to Switzerland for the 30th Folklore International Festival.

The 20-member troupe comprises students from Musaeus College, Carey College and St. Peter’s College. This mixture of girls and boys adds both vigour and beauty to the performance at the same time. According to Mrs. Visha de Silva, the initiator for Musaeus College, the mix of gender enhances the project. The boys from Carey College are lead by Mr. Ranjith Priyanga, while Mr. Upul Algama guides the Peterites.

The festival in Hungary is organised by the C.I.O.F.F (Conseil International des Organs de Festivals de Folklore), which takes place once in four years. This festival brings together the talent of the young from more than 73 countries together. There they will learn from and inspire each other. The intention of this event is not to compete but to awaken the spirit of these performers.

The practice sessions take place at the Musaeus College or Carey College dancing halls three times a week. “Actually the girls are very concerned about being present for the practices regularly,” said Mrs. de Silva explaining that they have understood their responsibilities and duties in the process of representing their country in a foreign nation.

The main event is on August 12 so the “Samaranga” troop will leave on August 11. There they will join in the celebrations at the opening ceremony representing the spirit of Sri Lanka through dance among thousands of folk dance lovers around the world. In the opening ceremony the “Samaranga” group will perform a three-minute item, which showcases all their activities planned for the festival. This will be repeated in the closing ceremony too. So the world will remember with fascination the diversity of the Sri Lankan traditional folk dances.

The troupe will also take on a one-hour programme, which will include all the different aspects of our traditional dances. The boys will be giving life to the items such as Ginissisila, Vess, Nagaraksha and Anabera Kolama, while the girls will perform the Puja, Kulu, Devol and Thedalu. The raban and lee items will see both the girls and boys perform in unison, which they hope will add more novelty and liveliness to their programme.

The cluster will also gather in the city of Veszpre’m (August 17 – 20). Here the “Samaranga” group will share their talents with nine other countries. “This will be a great experience for the students,” said Mrs. de Silva.

The group will leave Hungary on August 23 to be a part of the Folklore International Festival in Switzerland. “This was initiated by the Sri Lankan ambassador in Switzerland,” said Mrs de Silva. Only 10 countries will take part in this festival.

The “Samaranga” troupe will continue the same programme they hope to perform in Hungary enhanced with new thoughts and fresh minds. So here we have it, a bunch of talented young dancers making their way in the world of dance!


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