of the souls
Twin brothers Rangana and Rangika
are the versatile talents behind “Rivega” their own
By Randima Attygalle
Their names Rangana and Rangika mean 'dance' or 'movement'. As unborn
babes they would have felt each other's first heartbeat; in school
they took their first steps together on the stage and here they
are today, moving to the beat of davul and thalampata encircled
by aspiring dancers.
'Rivega', their very own dancing institute in the suburbs of Dehiwala,-
eager youngsters from age four to versatile young adults take their
cues from Rangana Evantha Vidanage and Rangika Jeewantha Vidanage,
the first pair of twin brothers to conduct professional dancing
classes in Sri Lanka. Thanks to their different attire, I manage
to identify them.
what is special about Rivega? "We are the first twin brothers
in Sri Lanka to establish an institute for professional dancing
where we teach traditional Kandyan dancing, low country and western
modes such as ballroom, jive and cha cha. We were also the first
set of twins to attain the level of 'wes' or‘hisa wes bendima’
which means reaching the highest standards of Kandyan dancing and
be recognized as veterans after years of systematic mastering of
the art," explained Rangana, the elder twin.
from dancing, our institute also caters to wedding requirements
such as 'jayamangala gatha' and 'ashtaka' ," added Rangika,
the younger brother. Their talents evident from a tender age, there
was not a single school concert or a cultural event held without
their contribution at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, and later
Royal College Colombo, where Rangika gained admission in recognition
of his dancing skills.
Rangana and Rangika recall with appreciation, the guidance received
under their dancing gurus, Neranjala Narangoda, Piyasara Shilpadhipathy,
Channa Wijewardene, Niloufer Peiris and S.Chandratileke, all eminent
names in traditional and classical dancing in Sri Lanka. Rangana
gives the full credit to his younger brother Rangika for taking
the initiative to set up a dancing institute, thumping him on the
back in a brotherly manner.“I felt that this way the art I've
mastered through laborious work will be there in me forever. While
I gain self satisfaction, many more will benefit," says Rangika.They
launched Rivega while studying for their Advanced Level exam.
name "Rivega" coined by Arisen Ahubudu, denotes "rhythm
of life". And the remarkable coincidence was that their first
pupils Nirosha and Nimasha happened to be eight-year-old identical
twins! Today this pair plays a prime role in their special wedding
troupe, singing jayamangalagatha apart from dancing."We were
both nervous at the start because the pali words of jayamangalagatha
were difficult to pronounce. But today we are quite confident and
we enjoy both singing and dancing," says Nimesha. Today Rivega
has three more sets of twins which makes the institution quite special.
initial impression of our gurus was that they are stern and there'll
be regimental discipline. However with time I realized that dancing
is an art which requires discipline as it involves both physical
and mental input and especially since it involves beautiful girls,"
says sixteen-year-old Chinthaka, a versatile dancer at the academy.
He says that learning at Rivega under Rangana and Rangika is a new
experience each day. "Although still in their early twenties,
their professionalism is remarkable" adds Chinthaka.
Rangana and Rangika have many firsts to their names. They bagged
the prize for "Best Twins" in 2002 at the National Twins
Day organized by Sri Lanka Twins' Cultural Centre. A trip to Bangalore
was part of the prize. For the brothers, this was a milestone as
it was their maiden international effort. " It was good international
exposure for us," says Rangika who says that they were touched
by the Indian audience's response to our traditional dancing. "We
felt proud of each other and also of our Sri Lankan identity,"
memorable experiences include performances given by their dance
troupe at the official inauguration of Excel World's Snow City,
in December 2003, the launch of a new oil brand at Associated Motorways
Ltd in June this year and Colours' Nite at Royal College in 2003.
Some parents who were present sought Rivega's participation at their
children's weddings. "
composition of the troupe depends on the event. Usually for weddings,
the dancers and Jayamangalagatha girls remain the same. Every student
is given an opportunity to participate at events once they have
reached a certain standard.Another distinct feature of their wedding
troupe is their willingness to match their attire to the bridal
retinue. "We believe in coordination between our team and the
couple both in the mode of dress and colour," says Rangana
who says that whether it's Kandyan or western style, they see to
it that the costumes of the female dancers harmonise with those
of the bride. "The effect is best seen in video and photographs,"
is awaiting university admission to major in dancing. Under the
guidance of Niloufer Peiris he is due in Singapore early next year
to major in modern dance, ballet and jazz. He also trains Wycherley
International School's Hewisi band while Rangana is pursuing marketing
studies whilst working out of Colombo. Despite his demanding job
and studies, Rangana coaches the pupils over the weekends together
with Rangika who conducts classes on weekdays too.
how does Rangana with his artistic bent find himself in a career
poles apart from dancing?" Although I've chosen a marketing-oriented
career, dancing is my passion. It helps me beat the stress,"
says Rangana. He is due to enrol at the Film Dancing School in Mumbai
shortly. Rangika says that his brother's marketing knowledge is
instrumental in improving the quality and the exposure of their
art to the world.The team is now busy with the preliminary work
of the grand opening of their dance studio in September.
they are expanding their academy with better sound and light facilities.
Many dance displays with the participation of each and every dancer
at the academy are planned for the opening of their new studio.
Asked what their message to budding dancers is , Rangana replies,
"If you have an inborn talent in the art, it has to be professionally
enriched with hard work and of course, discipline." Both hold
the view that merely moving with the times is of no use unless one
gives due place to our traditional dance.
indigenous dancing should be exposed more and more to the world
maintaining its originality without distorting it with modern beats
and steps," says Rangika who also believes that mastering other
eastern and western modes is equally important so that at the end
of the day you are a well-rounded dancer.