The dance teacher

Dance teacher Rajapakse once toured the world with his students from the elite Trinity College in Kandy. He reflects on the impact of tourism on traditional dance and his hometown of Amunugama. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam and Menika van der Poorten.

Join the discussion: 4 comments

  • malaka says:

    Amazingly captivating stories… keep up the good work…

  • Kannan Arunasalam says:

    Mr. Rajapakse hails from the village of Amunugama, which has a reputation for Kandyan dance. He has traveled the world with his dancing. As a dancer and a dance teacher at the prestigious Trinity College, he has been welcomed by a mulitidue of countries. Mr. Rajapakse proudly showed me the family album, with photos of him being hosted by the governments of and photos of his children. Although both his son and daughter followed the family tradition at first and learned Kandyan dance, his son was an aeronautical engineer living in Abu Dhabi, and his daughter now lived in Japan. She married a Japanese tourist who was so captivated by her dancing on stage, that he plucked up the courage to ask her out. Things from his travels hung around their home. There was a also a certificate of his competence at Japanese which he has begun to learn so he can communicate with her daughter’s family in Japan.
    But despite these accomplishments and of his family, Mr Rajapakse has not forgotten his roots. He speaks proudly of his ancestry and the village that turned out many famous dancers. He spoke about the tradition meaning of the dress worn by dancers in his troupe including story of the Ves, the costume dedicated to the Sun God.

  • Hear Lanka's Celebrated Stories Through The Voices of The Elderly - says:

    […] that aims to bring out old stories and narratives through the elders of the island. Be it dance instructors or educators, Mr. Arunasalam captures striking images, including short multimedia projects, with […]


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