Kandyan Dance Troupe to Perform at Holy Cross

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross will host "An Evening of Kandyan Dance" by the most renowned Sri Lankan troupe, the Surasena Dance and Drum Ensemble, on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. in the Brooks Concert Hall.

The leader of the dance troupe, Peter Surasena, is a grandmaster of traditional Kandyan dance; his ancestors performed in the royal courts of Kandyan kings. Every year since 1978, Surasena has been awarded a gold medal at the Sri Lanka National Dance Competition. A devoted and talented teacher, he has been a dance instructor for students in the Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) program for 10 years.

Holy Cross has recently joined the ISLE consortium, offering students the opportunity to study abroad in Sri Lanka. Other participating colleges include: Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Carleton, Grinnell, Whitman and Swarthmore.

The dance performance will feature a mixture of traditional music-drums, conch shells and trumpets-and dances from the Kandyan region of Sri Lanka. Among other dances, the Samanala Vannama, or Butterfly Dance, will be performed by Surasena. One of the most popular dances in the repertoire of Kandyan dancing, the performer depicts the gentle and graceful movements of a butterfly.

The performance is free and open to the public.