Talking through dance

By Madhushala Senaratne

Jealousy is not one, but a combination of emotions and human conditions, such as anger, loneliness, fear, betrayal, depression and cowardliness, says Kapila Palihawadana, founder and choreographer of nATANDA Dance Theatre of Sri Lanka. This, he adds, is the story behind their production, Issuki, which will go on boards this month.

Dance is an effective form or medium through which these human conditions can be portrayed and its gravity conveyed to the audience. And through this particular production, Kapila seeks to 'talk' through dance with his most valued partner – the audience. "It is a dialogue between the dancers and the audience, where the audience would have to confront and recognise these emotions and expressions, which they so often come across," Kapila adds.

'Issuki' is a Sanskrit term, meaning jealousy – the vicious, evil and destructive condition that affects not only an individual, but society as a whole. A countless number of artistes have explored this theme in their work, but still jealousy prevails and remains a vital issue that needs to be addressed.
The production would feature a fusion of dance styles from traditional Kandyan dance to the more contemporary dance styles such as jazz and modern ballet as well as Angampora, Sri Lankan martial art.

"This production feature modern elements of movement and techniques and it gives a whole new dimension to dance in Sri Lanka. This is what we as a dance troupe strives to achieve. We want to explore exciting new areas so that it would contribute towards the future growth of dance in the country," Kapila explains, adding that such dance styles appeals to foreign audiences as well.

The night's performance would be in two parts. The first consists of more contemporary dance styles such as jazz and modern ballet. "This part is not very long and contains nice movements and free dancing," he says.

The second part begins after a short intermission and is based on the theme of jealousy, with different dances being performed to portray the different types of emotions and human conditions of jealousy – loneliness, agitation, fear, envy, betrayal, anger, depression, cowardliness, being hurt and feeling powerless.

The production would feature 14 dancers from the nATANDA junior and senior schools. The main dancers are Malith Upendra, Ruchira Chathuranga, Dakshuka Bandara and Neelika Madhushani.
Kapila believes that although dancing is very popular in Sri Lanka, this kind of dancing is not so well explored. Therefore, this production is something not to be missed. Kapila is grateful to the German Cultural Institute for their support, especially its director, Mr. Richard Lang.

Issuki would be performed on November 27 at 7.30 p.m. at the British School. Tickets can be purchased from the British School. The Sunday Times is the print media sponsor for the event.

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