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The Prabhakaran movie full of inaccuracies

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by S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

According to IMDb “The Movie [Methagu] shows the true events that happened in Tamileelam to suppress Tamil ethnicity and it is talking about how and why Tamil leader Prabhakaran emerged in the Tamil freedom struggle in the Indian Ocean Island nation Sri Lanka.” Not all events are true as I explain.

According to Wikipedia, Methagu (transl. His Excellency) is a 2021 Indian Tamil-language political thriller film based on the life of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The release of the film was postponed several times due to legal issues, but finally had the digital release on 25 June 2021.”

The movie really concerns Prabhakaran’s early life up to the murder of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah. It cost US$80,000 to produce and credit is given at the end to many persons from all over the world for helping produce it.

The film, however, is effectively banned in Sri Lanka by arresting persons in possession of a copy, presumably because it has been released by “Thamileela Thirai Kalanjiam.” Many of my students (born after the events of the film had taken place) have seen it and pass it around hush-hush on thumb-drives. Given the mixed opinions among them or reluctance to give an opinion, I had to see it – which I did when I went recently to visit my children in California.

The film has several flaws. I will mention only some in this review.

Casting

Only the person acting for Srimavo Bandaranaike has given her name, Lizzie Antony. She is a Tamil Nadu actress. All the others have only one name, presumably a pseudonym. The one acting for Prabhakaran, is Kutti Mani! They all want anonymity I think because our government is so vindictive.

While that is ok, what is not is that many of the actors do not fit the characters they portray. It should have been easy to find actors who look at least a little like the characters they portray. Prabhakaran’s father with a full head of hair at age 80, Veluppillai, is balding when Prabhakaran is born and has the same hair some 25 years later. Only Prabhakaran’s mother is seen to age with dignity as the film progresses.

SJV Chelvanayakam who nearly always is in a cream-coloured suit and had a full head of hair to his end, is bald when he signs the BC Pact, and is seen in a checked kurta instead of the white verti-national that he occasionally wore with no collar. Bandaranaike’s suit seems out of a Hindi movie just like the kurtas worn by actors. His kurta has a collar. However, he is presented in good light, but unbelievably speaks ungrammatical English in the badly written script in discussing racism with Srimavo: “Up to where this racism will lead to, is not known to me.”

Alfred Duraiappah in real life had a green Fiat. In the movie he has a silver Ambassador presumably because that is what they could get in India. India does make foreign cars now and probably did not make the relevant Fiat model from the 1970s. For other inconsistencies, see the photos shown. I will move on to historical errors.

Alfred Duraiappah

I knew Alfred personally. Although I did not respect his politics, he is maligned a lot more than he deserves. His political position was to work with the government to get Tamil rights. It is a legitimate position. We did not like that because it was a horrid government. We who were young then regarded all who sucked up to Srimavo as traitors and that is enunciated by Prabhakaran in the movie.

The movie narrates that Duraiappah would do anything for office whereas the fact is the people of Jaffna elected him Mayor. He was a suave operator. When an uncle of mine, K. Nesiah, wrote a harsh editorial in The Cooperator about him, the next time he saw my uncle waiting for a bus, he stopped, offered him a lift, made good conversation, and told him “Sir, next time you write please be kind to me.” It is difficult to write against a man like that. As Mayor he built up the new market whereas the FP when it controlled the Council was good only at making speeches. I sensed that, after he developed Jaffna so much, people did not object to his giving away shops for a charge saying that when a cow does good work threshing the rice paddy it would eat a little. But we the youth did not buy such arguments.

Where he went wrong is that he held out to the world that Sirimavo was popular despite what she did to us through Standardisation. It was a time when imports were stopped. We in Jaffna, practically everyone, desperately needed bicycle tyres, then manufactured only by the government’s Kelaniya Tyre Corporation. Alfred as Mayor had complete control as they were sold through the Cooperative Stores. We lined up at the Mayor’s office and got him to give a chit to the Coop authorizing the sale of two tyres. In exchange we had to pay Rs. 2 and sign the SLFP Membership form. When I stood in line, he saw me and came out saying “Hello young Hoole” and gave me the authorization without my having to join the SLFP. It was widely said that Srimavo was so impressed with the torrent of new members as Tamils were joining the SLFP in droves, she gave him jobs to distribute which he did for a charge. There were other stories among the youth. The youth were furious and the sale of jobs undid him. Sirimavo it was said was shocked that he lost the 1975 election despite getting so many members.

The International Tamil Conference

The real numbers at the conference were much bigger than shown in the movie, and Veerasingham Hall a lot more spacious that the hall they could find in India for the movie. The claim is made that nine people were killed and they show the police beating up the crowd and killing a conference organizer by stepping on his neck. As the three-member Commission appointed under Justice de Kretser showed, the police went to arrest an international participant who, having been denied a visa in India, applied in Malaysia and came for the conference that Srimavo wanted in Colombo where she could make it a show piece under her.

She was furious and asked the police to deport the man. Alfred played no part in disrupting the conference as claimed in the movie. The police while going in a jeep to the venue, found people seated and listening outside the hall. The jeep was driven into them, and the public reacted by overturning it. The police fired into the air, the electric wires dropped on the galvanized pipes placed for crowd control. Those in contact with the pipes were electrocuted. One of the nine was my dear OL mathematics teacher at St. John’s College, Mr. Sigmaringam who ran home in panic and died of a heart attack. There was an attack by the police insofar as they drove into the crowd and beat the crowd when they threw sand at the police but no attack so savage as depicted in the movie. No conference organizer was killed by ASP Jaffna stepping on his neck as depicted.

Correcting accounts like this in the movie is difficult, perhaps foolhardy, because as someone once asked me, “So are you saying the police were nice?”

Pon Sivakumar

Pon Sivakumar bombed Duraiappah’s car while he had his regular tea at Premier Café across my home on 2nd Cross Street. A scene in the movie shows Prabhakaran plotting and saying we must hit back. “Who?,” they ask. They think of Srimavo and then she being big they think of a traitor. When asked which traitor, Prabhakaran says Duraiappah. But then, instead, Sivakumar (a friend of mine) is sent to kill ASP Chandrasekera.

Sivakumar wears a clean, white, long-sleeved shirt and tie which I doubt he ever wore except for his OL Identity Card photograph. Although he dropped out with the OLs (before or after passing I do not know) an A-Grade school principal told me very seriously that he had entered the university but rejected his seat to engage in the Tamil struggle.

In the movie Sivakumaran goes to shoot the ASP, the gun misfires and he bites a cyanide capsule and dies promptly. In truth he went to rob a bank, something went wrong, and the bank guards gave chase and villagers, not realizing who he was, joined the chase. Recognizing that his capture was inevitable, he bit the cyanide capsule (I believe in Neerveli) and died three days later in Jaffna hospital.

The movie scene from 1974 shows, as part of Sivakumar’s reading, the book “Bourne Ultimatum.” It is a 1990 novel by Robert Ludlum. I do not think any of them could read English at that level. It is how nationalist myths are made.

Questionable Accounts

The finale of the movie is where Prabhakaran murders Alfred. Respectable histories question if indeed Prabhkaran was the murderer of Alfred.

In the movie Prabahakaran’s supposed sister Kayal is molested by a police constable whom she kills by banging a pot on his head. I am not aware of such an incident.

A Buddhist monk, presumably a general figure for all racist monks, says very offensive things of Tamils. He says that he wants Tamils not to obey the Sinhalese but to fear them. He adds, “The weapon of education must not be in Tamil hands. Tamils are educated and working for the government. If this goes on, we will be their slaves. We must first reduce the close relationship Tamis have with Tamil Nadu. Tamils are strengthened by this relationship. If this continues, we will have no land. Are we to commit suicide? We must stop Tamils studying.”

Srimavo agrees and this is the precursor to standardization. The real story of Standardisation is far more complex than that, although some crazy Sinhalese people might have thought like this.

Prabhakaran invents the slogan “Student’s Sakthi is very big Sakthi. If education goes, a generation goes.” Hearing of the real incident of the burning of the Hindu Priest by Sinhalese mobs in Panadura, Prabhakaran asks “Why do we not hit back?”

I can go on. But with so many errors and truths mixed up, I will not repeat all aspects of the narrative.

Censorship

In a democracy censorship is to be eschewed. A free discussion will bring out what aspects of the movie are credible and what not. In sum, the government has overreacted by banning the movie, even that being not by a formal gazette but through fear by arresting persons in possession of the movie. That enhances the arbitrary powers of the police. That will only increase the value of the movie and make more people want to see it. Indeed, if I had not seen the movie to write this, many young people will believe all that is in it. Whose good does it serve?



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Beyond the fiction of Alborada

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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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTD2VDcxvNc). 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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iM5s_d1vls).

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 https://lithub.com/pablo-nerudas-life-as-a-struggling-poet-in-sri-lanka/). 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

‘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

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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 udakdev1@gmail.com

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

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Text and pictures by
PRIYAN DE SILVA

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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