On 14th January 2017, BBC Asian Network’s popular radio show hosted by Ashanti Omkar explored Kandyan dancing through British Sri Lankan Kandyan dancer, Dilini Seneviratne, for the first time in the shows’ history. The unique radio show itself is one of a kind, covering South India, Sri Lanka and the diaspora, in entertainment since it launched. Hosted by the lovely Ashanti Omkar – coincidentally born in Kandy, Sri Lanka had always wanted to discover the specialist dance style in her show.
Dilini Seneviratne, technology consultant at Wipro Ltd. working in cyber security stopped by the BBC Broadcasting house to share her journey along with a traditional Kandyan drummer Aruna Shantha Kotawella. Dilini started off the interview introducing Kandyan dancing as what is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most classical dance style, deriving from the royal capital of the country, Kandy. She went onto describe how Kandyan dancing features an intricate system of rhythm and how dancers are traditionally accompanied by cymbals and drums during performances.
Dilini then explains how she had always been passionate about this classical dance style and reveals her dance teachers over the years Miss Kumudu Perera, Professor Mudiyanse Dissanayake and her personal inspiration – the Channa Upuli dance troupe based in Sri Lanka as the foundations of her dance life. Since being at University of Southampton, undergoing her bachelor degree, she has started a classical dance society, SKBD, created the first ever inter-university classical dance competition, THAALA, teaches Kandyan dancing to her own students, started teaching online through her YouTube channel and regularly blogs about the theory behind Kandyan Dance. She has performed Kandyan dancing at various high profile events and venues in UK including Sri Lankan High Commission, Lord’s Cricket Ground, ICC Champions Trophy, British Airways Sri Lanka launch, Sangakkara – Sir Ian Botham SL Walk Launch and Derana TV in Sri Lanka.
Dilini finally ends her interview with a closing note of how Kandyan dancing is underrated around the globe apart from Sri Lanka and all her commitment towards dancing is because she wants it to be known by everyone.
Check out her on social media and follow her accounts to know more about this unique dance style!