Kandyan Dancers & Drummers

Kandyan Dancers & Drummers

Vasala and Sandaruwan, the drummers, and Subath and Prasad the dancers in their splendid traditional attire were already to welcome a new bride and groom at a wedding reception in Anuradhapura when I met them.

The four young men have been training and dancing for 6 to 7 years and now works for the Regional Cultural Department.

The Kandyan dance as the name suggests originated in the hill capital Kandy but the origins of classical dances of Sri Lanka is steeped in an exorcism ritual called Kohomba Kankariya performed to banish demons in the head of a bewitched king.

“This genre is today considered the classical dance of Sri Lanka. In Sanskrit terminology it is considered pure dance (nrtta); it features a highly developed system of tala (rhythm), provided by cymbals called thalampataa. There are five distinct types; the ves, naiyandi, uddekki, pantheru, and vannams,” writes Sicille P.C. Kotelawala.

Read more in her article about “Classical Dances of Sri Lanka” on the WWW Virtual Library – Sri Lanka.

See also Wikipedia Kandyan Dance

Photographs © Chulie de Silva