The Sunday Leader

Rangika And Rangana — Dancing Their Way To Success

By Piyumi Buddhakorala

There is a lack of technical uniformity with Oriental Dancing in Sri Lanka. “My dance troupe aims to correct that” explains Rangika Jeewantha.

Rangika has observed that in places of Russia and England classical ballet has the ‘sameness,’ the togetherness that Sri Lanka lacks. Classical ballet, performed by a Russian or an Englishman, will have identical techniques. This is not so in our country. Rangika states that once oriental dancers meet at international level, the technical differences are visible. “This needs to be improved”.

Rangika and his twin brother, Rangana are the directors of Rivega Dance Studio, since its inauguration in 2001. It comprises of a dance troupe nurtured under the regime of accurate technical steps  made to bring out the art of kandyan dancing in its truest form. On May 6, the brothers are hosting a variety of dance performances at the Lionel Wendt. It will not only focus on the traditional dance but also highlight the folk dances of Sri Lanka which, according to Rangika, have been neglected. For more information regarding tickets and classes contact Rangika on 0773077756.

The brothers researched for one and half years the concerts done in the past. They analyzed what was lacking in them and made it a point to incorporate it in their concert. They were out to revive certain traditional dance forms which have long since been forgotten. In store for May 6 is an array of dances namely, Dalu Mura, an upcountry item Kohomba Kankari Shanthi Karmaya, Thaname, upcountry traditional dance performed exclusively by the twin brothers, Yathura, a harvest dance showing rice cultivation,
a section from low country ritual, a performance by children, instruments brought together for a drum orchestra, traditional low country dance using masks, an experimental dance combining regional dance styles of low country, up country, Bharatha Natyam, Western dance and many more!

Their aim is bring about new themes for the concert. For instance the dance item ‘Pol Katu’ scheduled for May 6 is all about the coconut, down to the last item of clothing. Rangika explains that the boys of the dance troupe were given marshal arts training in addition to kandyan techniques and by comparing and coming together, another item was prepared for the concert. They extend their gratitude to Sachintha de Silva and his band, and music composers Nadika Weligodapola and Nipuni Wijesinghe for their immense contribution and tireless effort for the upcoming concert.

Further, Rangika states that their overall aim is to establish a professional dance company with a disciplined standard dance troupe in addition to offering various dance forms be it Kandyan, Low Country, Bharatha Natyam, Kathak, Ballet, Modern jazz, Latin American or even Hip-hop. He adds that benefits of dance training promote health and fitness, discipline of the mind and body, encouraging confidence in the young student. Rangika received many awards for two of his plays Chiththa Jala and Kutumbaya. Awards received included Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Music Director, Best Stage Backdrop,  Best Make-up Artist and Costume Designer, Best Lighting and Best Production to name a few.

With such talent on their hands, the twin brothers devote their appreciation to their teachers Niloufer Peiris and Piyasara Shilpadipathi who have played a significant role in teaching and encouraging them to pursue their goals with commitment, dedication, and perserverance.  Rangika extends a special thank you to his first teacher, Niloufer Peiris.  Under the Nelung Dance Academy founded by Niloufer herself, Rangika and Rangana discovered the art of dance techniques. The Nelung Arts Centre promotes gifted young  Sri Lankan artists. Their vision is a holistic approach to the arts of Music, Dance, Drama, including Mime, Painting and Design. The dance is composite and embraces all the arts creating a platform for creativity. Heavily lent towards Kandyan now, Rangika and Rangana are still however, grateful for their first dance teacher who has been a great inspiration for them both. In 2009, the brothers held a tribute performance for Niloufer, premiering an oriental ballet performance.  This year the Nelung Arts Centre is happy to associate with the Rivega Dance Studio presenting an evening of Traditional, Folk and Contemporary Dances of Sri Lanka.

Rangika and Rangana conclude that their personal experience has shown them that although there have been many difficulties and disappointments to overcome in their long journey, they are happy to dance.

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