|Sunday, 27 April 2003|
A blend of dance forms and a fusion of musical traditions come together in "Poetry in Motion", a show produced by Chandana Wickramasinghe to be held at Mahanama College auditorium on May 3.
by LAKMAL WELABADA
"It comprises 16 dances on different themes. Most of them are modern interpretations of traditional lore" says Chandana.
In `Kasyapa', we use a mask to project the two facets of his character.
The mask denotes the rough personality of the king, and hints at the fear he was living with. His brother (Prince Mugalan) who was furious with him for killing their father (King Dhatusena) for the kingdom, was his life threat.
But at heart, Kasyapa was a man with a love for art and nature. The female dancers adorned like beauties of the Sigiriya frescos symbolise the great king's love of art, his lust and closeness to nature.
Chandana in his `Poetry in Motion', mingles classical tunes of Indian, Thai, Malaysian, English and Japanese with modern innovations in steps and gestures.
One such item is `Ducks dance'. It portrays the walk of the ducks. "In reality, the way the ducks walk is considered as crooked and ugly.
We have traditional dancing forms with the imitation of the behaviour of animals like swan (Hansa Vannama), elephants (Gajaga Vannama), Horse (Thuranga Vannama) and Selalihiniya. But, I do not think anybody has ever thought of `ducks'. I gave a new interpretation to it with a Spanish song sung by Indian singer Usha Uttap as the background music," said Chandana.
Worshipping the Goddess Saraswathie (Goddess of Aesthetics) is a requisite and compulsory ritual in every Eastern arts event. But, in `Poetry in Motion' it will be performed with a difference.
Abandoning the traditional `Saraswathie Vandana' worshipping stanzas, Chandana uses the melodious tune composed for the Goddess of Aesthetics by Kitaro, a famous Japanese musician.
`Kite dance' (imitation of the movements of a kite when flying) though not among the local traditional dance forms; is a popular dance in Malaysia. Chandana who has viewed one such event during one of his foreign tours, has decided to include a `Kite dance' in `Poetry in Motion' with a new choreographic version. "I cast female dancers as kites and the male dancers as those who are flying the kites," said Chandana.
A Thai dance mode is used to depict the birth of Prince Siddhartha. The idea is to emphasise the pleasant feelings of the seven flowers that bloomed with the `message of Peace'.
In addition to Chandana's modern innovations, `Poetry in Motion' will include a few traditional dances like `Devol' (devil dance) and `Gini Sisila' (dance with fire).
Singer Indrani Perera will grace the occasion to entertain the audience in the five minute breaks in between items.
Chandana Wickremasinghe, is the first Sri Lankan graduate dancer from Shanthi Nikethan. He humbly expresses his gratitude to his celebrated masters Kulasiri Budhawatta, Ravibandu Vidyapathy, Mudiyanse Dissanayaka and Piyasara Shilpadhipathy for teaching him the traditional steps in `Udarata' and `Pahatharata' dances; and Kalamandalam Shri Shankaranarayanji and Hemantha Kumarji from whom he learnt `Kathakali' and `Manipuri' dances respectively in India.
Apart from teaching and performing with his `Dance Guild' at Ratmalana, Chandana serves as a visiting lecturer for the Dance Costume Designing course at the University of Moratuwa.
`Poetry in Motion' is organised by the Junior OBA of Mahanama to raise funds for the college swimming pool.
Produced by Lake House