Groovy jazz

By Natasha Fernandopulle, Pix by Athula Devapriya

A line-up of jazz dances ranging between modern, contemporary and lyrical jazz dance genres will truly be an evening of dance worth noting down in your schedule. And the next hot performance to hit Colombo will be DANCEWORLD School of Modern and Jazz Ballet bringing you dance fans JAZZAMATAZZ II.

The show will bring together 80 young dancers between the ages of six and 16, while the show is produced and directed by Sureka Buell, the Founder/Artistic Director of the DANCEWORLD. The programme will feature modern, contemporary and lyrical jazz dance items, and will bring out the flexibility, energy, and rhythm of the students.

Jith Peiris, the co-producer of the show says the audience can expect each item to be quite different from the other. "The choreography is what makes it different," he says, adding that this is what makes Sureka's shows a different experience. The girls are really enjoying their dancing, according to Jith. "That's Sureka's personality," he says.

Songs from well loved movies like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King along with music by great jazz musicians of yester-year, will be brought to life by these talented dancers. As the name suggests, it will be more or less about jazz in terms of the entertaining 60's style dance which will be performed by the dancers. What sets America apart from the rest of the dance and music world is the style of jazz that is played there – in terms of it being amazingly energetic and thoroughly exciting.

An energetic dance will be performed to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" and will definitely have the audience moving to its tune in their seats, as a result of the contagious excitement of the electrifying energy of the performance. One item that will bring together the dance styles of jazz, ballet and modern dance, will be a song choreographed to the song "Shadowland" and performed by the senior students of the school.
"I founded the school in September 2005 upon seeing the interest and potential of the present day youngsters to learn Modern and Jazz Ballet," says Sureka and she goes on to state that the school has grown from 10 students at the inception, to 58 students at the school's first show last year, while 80 students will perform at the show this year.

"It has been both challenging and exciting putting this show together within six months, with so many new students to train," Sureka says, adding. "The students have achieved a very high standard in a short period of time through an organised and systematised programme of weekly practices."

She adds that the program was created to instil the choreography, develop the stamina and strength of the students while minimizing the strain on the students. "Some of my senior students have been very supportive and committed and their enthusiasm has been a great strength to me," she says, adding that they all have their school commitments, yet almost never miss rehearsals and set a very good example to her younger students.

"So much care and attention to detail has gone into preparing the costumes," Sureka says of the costumes for Jazzamatazz II, which have been created by Sureka's mother. Natalya Gunaratne (15), Deshana De Alwis (15), Anisha Gooneratne (14) and Kimaya de Silva (14) all joined Sureka around three years ago. Something they all had in common was that dancing has been something they have wanted to do from a very young age. "Aunty Sureka lets you put your ideas into the dances," says Anisha, explaining as to why the girls enjoy and love being a part of this dance school. Kimaya adds, that they have a good relationship with her. And what's their opinion on the show itself? "It will be fantastic because it will be extremely different from last year as there will be a huge variety of dance items."

"I love dancing. It has become a part of my life," says Nihara Perera (16). "Aunty Sureka's was my first dancing experience, and I love dancing and have the most fun doing it," adds Tehani Pendigvaste (15). While Shemani Ratwatte (14) says she stopped dancing for a while, but took it up again. "When I saw the last concert, I knew I wanted to dance for this school," she says. As much as a lot of hard work has gone into the preparation of the concert, it has been a lot of fun these three girls say, adding that the audience will have fun watching us!

Jazzamatazz II goes on the boards at the Lionel Wendt on October 4 and 5 at 7pm. The proceeds will be in aid of the children's programme of the Lions Club of Havelock Town.

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