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Sri Lanka’s development and big businesses



Anila Dias Bandaranaike, Ph.D.

There is universal agreement that Sri Lanka is in an economic mess on several fronts. Even those in government, playing ostrich until recently, are beginning to articulate this reality. We cannot get out of this mess in a hurry. It will take prioritisation, commitment and time. It will require government, Big Businesses, small businesses and the people, working together in the national interest, to pull us out of it. As to whether that will happen, remains to be seen.

Qualified professionals with knowledge, acumen and experience, have spoken and written in the public domain on addressing our macro-economic problems – slow economic growth, low government revenue, wasteful expenditure, misaligned interest, exchange and tax rates and parlous levels of foreign earnings, reserves and debt. Some have suggested a clear macro-economic path to start the recovery process with debt restructuring. Is anyone listening?

Development Goals vs. Indicators

When the mess gets critical, we lose sight of the forest for the trees. We forget what these economic terms (trees) and statistics are really about. So, focussing on the forest, this article attempts to connect those terms to the human and environmental aspect of this mess.

Sri Lanka has 2 key resources – its people and its environment.

In that context, economic indicators used to measure development – GDP, FDI, export earnings, inflation, exchange and interest rates, foreign reserves and debt – are merely means to an end. That end goal is to improve human well-being, through sustainable development, which protects the environment for future well-being. Economic indicators are just measures of whether Sri Lanka provides adequate jobs, incomes and domestic and foreign goods and services, at reasonable prices, to its people, to improve their well-being. In that process, if all goes well, corporates grow their businesses and shareholders get better returns on their investments.

However, all households have to earn living wages to feed, clothe, house and educate their families and keep secure and healthy. If the majority are struggling to make ends meet, they will leave Sri Lanka, or take to the streets, or plunder the environment for short term gains. Then, businesses suffer from labour shortages, strikes and social instability, governments from low revenue and overall instability and everyone from environmental degradation and inadequate goods and services for their well-being.

In addition to the problems identified by economic indicators (trees), focussing on the forest conveys that Sri Lanka has two more problems. First is Sri Lanka’s severe brain drain. Professionals, skilled and unskilled workers are leaving the country in frustration and despair. Second is under-valuing our fragile biodiversity, resulting in ill-conceived projects destroying it all over Sri Lanka? One example is the Minneriya “Gathering” of elephants. This can earn massive tourism dollars.

Currently however, high water levels, from excess water being diverted from the Moragahakanda irrigation project into Minneriya tank, threatens the “Gathering”. Tourism earnings and other economic benefits from the “Gathering” are estimated to be several orders of magnitude higher than from the irrigation project’s agricultural output. Does government care? Reducing Sri Lanka’s spectacular St. Clair’s waterfall to a trickle, for hydropower, is another example.

So, just as important as regaining macro-economic stability, is the need to value and grow our human and environmental resources.

Environmental Resources

We must recognise and prioritise our incredible marine life, beaches, rainforests, mangroves, wetlands, water-bodies, and the flora and fauna they hold. We must protect them from ill-conceived and damaging construction, landfills, waste-dumping and sand-mining, as well as from over-using, poaching, illicit-logging and deforestation.

Let’s take tourism as an example. Sri Lanka has two strong competitive advantages. First, its biodiversity, just described. Second, its diverse, sophisticated, cuisine – upcountry and low country Sinhala; Northern, Eastern and upcountry Tamil; and Muslim, Malay and Burgher specialities. However, most roads leading to our environmental and culinary treasures cannot handle large coachloads. So, we should target tourist earnings, rather than numbers, and strategise to attract smaller numbers of high-end, high-spending tourists, who love nature, food and new experiences. We should show-case and promote our unique, local cuisine and brews, rather than serve them imported cheese, salmon and wines, which they can get elsewhere. That way, we raise value addition, reduce imports and promote backward linkages.

Innovative entrepreneurs, including foreigners who operate under the radar, are doing just that – offering community and nature-based tourism and local food, from small, exclusive hideaways, at various price levels. But what of our corporates? They build large hotels in resort areas, catering to coachloads of two-week package holidays for Europe’s low-spending workers. When bombs, tsunamis and pandemics occurred, they begged a debt-riddled government for handouts to recoup their ill-thought investments.

Our wild life parks suffer from irresponsible over-crowding and undisciplined safari vehicles. Yet, has the collective corporate voice raised these issues adequately? Government has even sanctioned baby elephants in private captivity for the influential, with little protest from collective Big Business. Tourism is one example, among many.

Human Resources

We urgently need labour market and education system reforms. Labour market reforms must address labour shortages, low wages and inflexible labour laws that hurt both employers and employees. Big Business has not put adequate collective effort into reforming archaic labour laws for longer term benefits, rather choosing, with a short-term horizon, to forever work around them. Education system reforms must address inadequate skills in problem-solving, in language and communication, and in computer use. Big Businesses complain about employee quality, but only some put their money where their mouth is.

Let’s take private company wages as an example. Salaries of the few who meteorically rise, are phenomenal. But for the bulk of qualified young executives, salaries are just about enough to live with their parents and take public transport to work. Can we blame brain drain to greener pastures? What about cutbacks during the pandemic? Many businesses were hit by it. But some – health care, online consumer sales and other online activities – thrived. Although social life was curtailed, none at high income levels suffered any material change in their levels of creature comfort. The worst hit were lower income workers, especially daily wage earners. Some had no work and no income at all. Yet, some big companies, even those which thrived, prioritised their bottom lines, and cut wages and benefits to the most vulnerable.

Big Businesses changing gear and thinking in the longer- term interests of their human resources could mean less focus on the immediate bottom line, as well as paying higher non-regressive taxes and higher living wages, training costs and social security benefits to their employees, if they wish to retain them. There is no easy way out.

Big Business Input

Published national data, on the output and employment structure of the Sri Lankan economy, show that large formal businesses total less than half of Sri Lanka’s economic output and about a third of employment. However, their collective voice wields much more influence than their share of those pies. Government and Big Business need each other to survive and to move forward for their own and the national interest. Hence, the collective voice of Big Business can, if they choose to do so, push for better governance and informed investment and development decisions.

But do they? The last 2021 Budget was clearly a disaster, and later proved itself so. However, at a public webinar, along with corporate leaders, a senior EDB official praised it highly. Yet, he resigned his post very soon thereafter. I was once at a formal reception of big business leaders, where some, who had been poking fun at the Central Bank Governor, fawned over him when he joined their group. I may not have agreed with the Governor’s policies, but he did not deserve such blatant hypocrisy. In the last 15 years, I have not seen the Chambers take a strong collective stand against any ill-conceived government decision on any issue.

One example was the Act allowing government takeover of “Non-Performing” companies. Another is the current foreign exchange debacle. The Central Bank Governor cited exporters not converting their earnings to rupees as the reason why banks are facing exchange shortages which, in turn, affects their ability to open LCs. Export groups publicly denied these allegations, but none bluntly stated the real reason – Central Bank’s unofficial directive to banks to artificially hold the exchange rate at Rs. 203/dollar, when it should be much higher! This ill-conceived directive has also affected migrant worker remittances to Sri Lanka. They now resort to alternate unofficial mechanisms to ensure a realistic conversion rate for their hard-earned dollars sent to Sri Lanka. Will business Chambers speak out, before the Governor cites migrant workers too, like exporters, of being unpatriotic?

If Sri Lanka is to get out of this mess, there has to be a paradigm shift in thinking and action among the Big Business community, away from rent-seeking, to pushing for longer-term collective development that will benefit, not just them, but all stakeholders. Straight talk from Big Business may be the only way to get governments to listen and act. If companies fear to speak out individually because of retaliation from government, they must do so collectively, disagreeing and providing constructive criticism, when necessary, through their various Chambers and other business groups. No government can penalise Big Business working together, without detrimental consequences to itself.

Sri Lanka should focus, in the shorter term, on macro-economic stability, and, as importantly, in the longer term, on safeguarding and growing our human and environmental resources. The Big Business community must collectively push for this, in their own longer-term interests.

The “Road Map” presented recently for Sri Lanka to get out of this mess, was definitely a map – it showed us ALL roads to ALL places. Its presentation of 85 colourful slides, each crammed with graphs, charts and words, only conveyed utter, obfuscating, confusion. If meant to show the way forward, 20 succinct slides could have done it. I sympathise with the officers who were commissioned to prepare that “Road Map”. I hope members of the Big Business community, including business chambers and relevant organisations, will use their influential, collective voice for some straight talk, to help the architects of that “Road Map” find their way back into the light and lead Sri Lanka out of the darkness we are currently in.

(The author retired as Assistant Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) in 2007. As Director of Statistics, CBSL, she spearheaded the compilation of Provincial GDP data and the collection of survey data on living conditions in all nine provinces, following a lapse of 20 years since 1983. From 2015 to 2020, she was a member of the three-member Independent Delimitation Commission)

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Beyond the fiction of Alborada



By Sarath Chandrajeewa

“No matter how much a work of art is sweet, if it hides the truth and disregards humanity it can only be equalled to a beautiful but empty shell that attracts us.” (L.E. Kerbel – Russian Sculptor)

‘Alborada’ is the Spanish word for ‘the dawn’. In 1984, a music group was born in Peru, South America by the same name and they gained immense popularity. Their music mainly spread among people in North and South America. Their music’s foundation was the traditional music of Native Americans who lived in the Andes mountain range ( Likewise, in 2005 a soap opera by the same name was broadcast in Mexico, North America, which became very popular. This story was based on a series of events that took place during the historical period when Panama and Mexico were on the verge of gaining freedom from Spain (

In 2021 Asoka Handagama made a film in Sri Lanka by the same name, Alborada. The protagonist of this film is Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973), the Chilean Consul in Ceylon for two years, from 1929 to 1931. He was very young, only 25, when he was appointed to this post. Ceylon was a colony at the time and he was lodged at No. 56, 42nd street, Wellawatte, Colombo 6, a place close to the sea. He had written down his reminiscences, in his own language, in book form. Later it was translated into English and published under the title ‘Memoirs’. According to this book, he had referred to his house as ‘My solitary bungalow’. It is said that the name Alborada was proposed by Pablo Neruda for the house of his friend, Lionel Wendt (1900 – 1944), who had lived at Guildford Crescent, Colombo 7.

Wendt too was fluent in several languages including English, Spanish and some other European languages. It is apparent, from documents and events that took place at that time, that his house, Alborada, had not been a lonely or tranquil place. It is clear that house Alborada was always full of people, such as painters, dancers, actors, photographers as well as pianists and those who enjoyed music. It was more like a cultural centre where discussions, art critiques and debates took place. (L.C. Van Geyzel, et al. [2000]. ‘Lionel Wendt: A Centennial tribute’. Lionel Wendt memorial fund; Sampath Bandara. [2017]. Lionel Wendt Kalava Saha Jeevithaya, Sarasavi Publication. [Sinhala]).

Though Handagama’s film was titled Alborada, the actual location, where incidents mentioned took place, was the Solitary Bungalow, the Chilean Consul’s official residence (Jamie James. [2019]. ‘Pablo Neruda’s life as a struggling Poet in Sri Lanka: A young poet’s Adventures in the Foreign Service’. Retrieved from In the 20th Century Sri Lankan context, Alborada was a distinguished active cultural centre. As a Sri Lankan cultural symbol, it directly connects with the character of Lionel Wendt. The creator of a work of art has the total freedom to create his work as he pleases and also to choose whatever name for the particular work. Handagama’s Alborada is similar to a poem, set to inspiring music. It includes a series of artistic figure compositions and features a number of skilled performing artistes. The trailer of Handagama’s film gave me some ideas.

When creating a work of art based on historical events, rather than myth and imaginary incidents, its trustworthiness depends on the people who faced the incident, the actual incidents, exact places, time period and the political and cultural background. Consequently, thorough research is necessary to identify accurate works based on historical incidents. It is difficult to rectify myths or false assumptions ingrained in society by unreliable books, documents, magazines or films. People will always embrace falsity, deception and myth, over the truth. Our culture as well as other cultures are replete with many such examples.


‘Alborada’ is the name of Lionel Wendt’s house. It is important as it is the house of a great Sri Lankan cultural icon of the last century. It is also important as Alborada was the name given to the renowned cultural centre of modern history, in Sri Lanka. It is from this place that art activities in our country were taken to the international arena. Alborada was situated at No. 18 old Guildford Crescent. Today this street is called Premasiri Kemadasa Mawatha. Six years after his demise, in 1950 his friend Harold Peiris (1905-1981) demolished his old house, Alborada, and built a gallery and a performing arts centre (Lionel Wendt Art Gallery and Theatre) to commemorate him. It was designed by painter Geoffrey Beling (1907 – 1992), Principal Art Inspector, Department of Education, and Bernard G. Thornley (Manel Fonseka. [1994]. ‘Rediscovering Lionel Wendt, Lionel Wendt Photographs’. Deutsche Bank Colombo and Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund).

When Lionel Wendt was alive, renowned upcountry master dancers, Amunugama Suramba and Nittawela Ukkuwa used to lodge at Alborada with their troupes, when they visited Colombo (Dancer Dr. Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, daughter of Master Dancer Suramba, Personal communication, 2017).

A documentary movie ‘Song of Ceylon’, directed by Basil Wright in 1934, was placed first at the Brussels International film festival in 1935. The creative segments of the movie were organized at Alborada. Manel Fonseka reported in an article, ‘Rediscovering Lionel Wendt’ in 1994, that in an interview with Julia Margaret Cameron, Basil Wright had said this about Lionel Wendt; “I think he was one of the greatest still photographers that ever lived. I should place him among the six best I’ve come across”.

As a result of discussions held at Alborada, master dancers Nittawela Ukkuwa and Amunugama Suramba were taken to England for a recording of drum beats, for the movie ‘Song of Ceylon’. This trip was sponsored by painter Harry Peiris (1904-1988). A dance school was established to develop up-country dance, in Gunnepana, Sirimalwatte, Kandy in the 1920s for Master Suramba, as a result of discussions held among a group led by Wendt and George Keyt (1901-1993). This troupe, which included the group of up-country dancers, Ukkuwa, Nittawela Gunaya, Punchi Gura and Sri Jayana Rajapakse, was later upgraded as the ‘Dance Ensemble of Central Lanka’. Jayana’s coming of age ceremony, inclusive of his ‘Ves ceremony’, held at the Degaldoruwa Rajamaha Viharaya, Kandy, in 1939, and Jayana’s dance training in India later, were all sponsored by Wendt (Dr. Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, Personal communication, 2017).

The first art inspector appointed to Sri Lanka, during the colonial era, was Charles Freegrove Winzer (1886-1940), an Englishman. He became close friends with Wendt, during his tenure in Sri Lanka. In the early years, Winzer and Wendt both wrote reviews on exhibitions of George Keyt, Justin Peiris Deraniyagala (1903-1967) and Geoffrey Beling. Wendt also translated Neruda’s art reviews from Spanish to English and published them (Manel Fonseka.

[1994]. ‘Rediscovering Lionel Wendt, Lionel Wendt Photographs’. Deutsche Bank Colombo and Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund).

The first avant-garde art movement in Sri Lanka, the ’43 Group’, was born under the leadership of Winzer and Wendt. The 43 Group consisted of Wendt (Chief Organizer), painters Harry Peiris (Chief Secretary), George Keyt, J.W.G Beling, Richard Gabriel (1924-2016), Ivan Peiris (1921-1988), Justin Pieris Deraniyagala, George Claessen (1909-1999), Aubrey Collette (1920-1992) and L.T.P Manjusri (1902-1982). The meetings of the 43 group were held at Alborada until Wendt’s death.

Afterwards the meetings were held at the house of Harry Peiris, Sapumal Foundation, Barnes Place (Sarath Chandrajeewa. [2010]. ‘Modern Art in Sri Lanka and its socio-political environment’, Artful resistance: contemporary Art from Sri Lanka, ZKF publishers. Germany).

As mentioned above, Pablo Neruda was only 25 when he was in Sri Lanka as the Chilean Ambassador (1929-1931). At 29, Wendt was four years older. In his book ‘Memoirs’, translated from Spanish into English by Hardie St. Martin, published by Penguin, Neruda had written thus about Wendt, on page 93.

“Little by little the impenetrable crust began to crack open and I struck up a few good friendships. At the same time, I discovered the younger generation, steeped in colonialist culture, who talked only about books just out in England. I found out that the pianist, photographer, critic and cinematographer Lionel Wendt was the central figure of a cultural life torn between the death rattles of the Empire and a human appraisal of the untapped values of Ceylon.

Lionel Wendt, who owned an extensive library and received all the latest books from England, got into the extravagant and generous habit of every week sending to my house, which was a good distance from the city, a cyclist loaded down with a sack of books. Thus, for some time, I read kilometers of English novels, among them the first edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, published privately in Florence” (Memoirs by Pablo Neruda, translated from Spanish by Hardie St. Martin [1997]. Penguin Books).

To be continued

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Politics at its most primitive



By Uditha Devapriya

Review of Shaveen Bandaranayake’s Groundswell

Sarasavi Publications, 2021, 118 pages, Rs. 300

Half-way into Shaveen Bandaranayake’s novel, the Minister at the heart of the story tells us that the wealth he earned was people, not money. This is what politicians usually say. In the very least, it is what people who dislike politicians imagine they say.

Come to think of it, both amount to the same thing: we’ve turned politicians into objects of hate so much that we’ve come to love them for being who we think they are. Since we can’t control them in real life, we want to dominate them in popular fiction. The number of plays and films that poke fun at Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Ministers testify to how badly we want to be, not like them, but above them.

I am deeply suspicious of satire of that sort. In his excellent review of Pusswedilla, Hafeel Farisz tells us why political parody ends up serving the people and objects being parodied. This is not rocket science. At its best, political satire can move us to anger, disenchantment, and rebellion. At its worst, it can lull us into a sense of complacency with things as they are and as they seem. Farisz seemed to think that Pusswedilla epitomised the latter, reinforcing cultural stereotypes while offering no proper critique of the political establishment and the ruling class. I suppose you can say the same thing of Vijaya Nandasiri’s comedies: at his best, he makes us aware of the corruption of the political class; at his worst, he turns the corrupt into objects of love-hate, full of tropes and clichés but nothing substantive.

Shaveen Bandaranayake’s Groundswell reads as a political satire, though I have my doubts. Interweaving different stories and unfolding like a film, it goes back and forth. I won’t call its ending funny, but then how can any novel involving politics end on a funny note?

What Bandaranayake does in his story, short as it is, is to tell us that nothing good can come out of a system mired as much in corruption as in patronage. Since these people are tied to each other through politics, politics can prove to be their undoing. The way he forays into this theme and explores it, without regurgitating the usual political clichés, puts the novel at a notch or two above what you come across at, say, the Lionel Wendt. Without conforming to crude stereotypes, he attempts to humanise his characters, showing us why connections matter in politics, and why they don’t always work out.

The plot is simple enough. A woman comes across a corpse of a man at the foot of a hill one fine morning. She informs the police. By the looks of it, he seems to have lost his grip and fallen to his death. The story then rewinds to a political rally at that most obtrusive site of political rallies, a temple, where we are introduced to Sarath Aluwihare, a Minister trying to win his next election. We are also introduced to Sunil, a young man endeavouring to land a job. Events will unfold in a way that will bring the two of them together.

We are told that Sarath hails from a family of politicians, and that this family has been in politics for over two generations. The surname tells us as much. Sunil, on the other hand, is so unobtrusive that Shaveen doesn’t grant him the privilege of a surname, which, after all, is the preserve of those who matter. Like other village youths lacking employment and in dire search of a patron from the ruling class, Sunil clearly is not important; even when he finds a job as Aluwihare’s driver, his status rises, but not so much as to protect him from the novel’s ending. He is as destined to his place in life as Aluwihare is to his.

There are other characters though, and they have surnames. There is the head priest of the temple, for instance, an unabashed admirer of Aluwihare who uses him to achieve his not so religious purposes. Then there is Dileepa Jayanetti, who rises “from rags to riches” and ends up becoming the owner of the country’s biggest media house. Dileepa finds his way up by befriending the daughter of another prominent politician, who introduces him to Aluwihare, who in turn becomes his biggest benefactor. You sense the pattern here.

Halfway through the story, Dileepa hires Lasantha Muthukumarana, a journalist who tries to stick to the tenets of his trade. Dileepa does this because he thinks that by hiring the honest, he can keep them from being honest. For someone who is so bright and manipulative, this is far from the most brilliant decision he could have taken: a few pages later, Muthukumarana is investigating a hit-and-run incident which may be connected to Aluwihare.

In Bandaranayake’s world, everyone seems to know everyone else. That is why it comes to no surprise that the man run down by a vehicle in the middle of the night should have been married to a woman Aluwihare just happened to hire at his Ministry, and that she should be rumoured to have formed the object of Aluwihare’s affections. That Lasantha thought for a moment that a news report linking all this to a prominent Minister would make it in a paper linked to and blessed by that Minister is, of course, intriguing. But he tries to get it published it anyway. When the predictable opprobrium follows and he finds he can’t get it in, the story moves to its inevitable and in many ways unsurprising conclusion.

In saying all this, I am by no means revealing the plot. In fact, surprising as it may seem, the plot is what least interests me about Bandaranayake’s novel. This is a narrative I have come across many times, in many forms. Bandaranayake takes great pains to make it all relevant to the immediate political situation, i.e. the one we are in, now. Those who manage to draw links between his characters and their “real-life counterparts” should, therefore, be forgiven for thinking that he has attempted political critique masquerading as satire. My interest in it, then, has less to do with the novel than the genre it belongs to.

If Groundswell can be called a satire, it is satirical only to the extent that his characters are caricatures. Yet, as I implied earlier, it is not a satire in the way that a work like Pusswedilla is. The characters fit into preconceived and familiar patterns, but that doesn’t make them the clichéd tropes they turn into elsewhere. These characters are more rounded, certainly more complex. Sarath Aluwihare, for instance, does not possess the overstuffed tummy his counterparts from countless parodies do, while Sunil doesn’t become a Renfield type figure hell bent on catering to his “Master.” Even though Bandaranayake can be facetious, and is pugnacious, he refuses to dabble in the kind of satirical humour which could have turned his story into a Vijaya Nandasiri style parody of politics in Sri Lanka.

Depending on how you view it, this may be the strongest point or the biggest weakness in Bandaranayake’s novel. Groundswell makes several important points, and they should be considered pertinent whether they be couched the language of satire or of serious political critique. The medium is hardly the message, contrary to what people might say, and the way you communicate your ideas should not really impact the importance of those ideas.

And yet, there are one or two episodes which reveal Bandaranayake’s funny side. It is here that the disjuncture between the satirical undertones and the ponderous overtones of the narrative, and the author’s voice, proves fatal to the development of the story.

Bandaranayake is at his best when he is setting up situations, and these situations are, all things considered, effective in setting up the plot. He tries to create atmosphere, and does a good job of laying the context. But when each and every point is prefaced by laboriously long explanations of social phenomena, such as the separation between temple and State in Sri Lanka, or the wretched fate encountered by a million or so menial workers in West Asia, you struggle to distinguish between the narrative and the commentary.

For local readers, these explanations will at best be passé. I suspect they will be for foreign readers as well. Groundswell is a novel, or more correctly a novella, which could have been shorter, tighter, and more effective without them. Not surprisingly, the story gains strength when Bandaranayake cuts to the chase, and loses track when he does not.

I have read this kind of story many times before. What makes this one interesting is that it is Bandaranayake’s first attempt at fiction, and that, for a first attempt, it’s damn good. Even within its limits, he has come up with something enjoyable. That I enjoyed the book, and of course the brilliant illustrations that more than just decorate it*, is why I wish it were leaner, shorter, and tighter. Less can be more. More often than not, it is.

* With one exception: the eighth drawing depicts a scene that, if you think about it carefully, is at odds with the text on the opposite page.

The writer can be reached at

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Thirty two little ballerinas win awards at TBSC’s 2021 prize giving



Text and pictures by

Thirty two little ballerinas were presented with certificates of achievements and awards at the 2021 prize giving of The Ballet school of Colombo (TBSC) held recently.

Directors of TBSC Tara Cooke and Romina Gyi said that they were extremely proud of the achievements of their charges and thanked the students and parents for their dedication in attending classes diligently despite the trying conditions.

Certificates of achievement were awarded in the baby ballet, junior ballet and intermediate ballet categories to students who excelled in pre-classical and pre-jazz ballet.

Debbie McRitchie, International Director of the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing (to which TBSC is affiliated), in her congratulatory message thanked the parents for investing in their childrens dance education and the teachers of TBSC for preparing the candidates. She said that dance is like life and is a journey but not a destination and encouraged all stakeholders to work harder.

The prize giving was a proud moment for both students and parents as it was a parent who presented the certificates of achievement to their child. Five-year-old Shenaya de Alwis Samarasinghe was the youngest candidate at the prize giving, passing with honours in pre-classical ballet.

The Ballet School of Colombo was the former ‘Oosha Garten Sschool of Ballet’ pioneered by the late Kalasuri Oosha Saravanamuttu-Wijesinghe and was instituted as the ‘The Ballet School of Colombo’ in 2016.

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