dancing around Army cultural troupe to 'Blooms'
Disna Priyanthi who had been in the SL Army service for 15 years had
no intention to be just a housewife after retiring early. Instead, with
the support of her husband she opened up her own dancing academy
'Blooms' determined to put to good use the experience she had in the
Army. Her dancing academy 'Blooms' is instrumental in producing many
talented dancers through her teaching. She is fortunate to have gained
much through her Army career and the discipline was most valuable in
organizing her life and dancing related activities.
She has come a long way in developing the potential of many children
to make best use of their talents and guide them to become socially
responsible citizens. Not only children, she also touches the hearts of
adults by providing them healthy life style tips and exercises. Dancing
has become a form of stress management and there is a growing demand for
proper institutionalized training. In this regard her academy, which
blends the cultural aspects and traditional dancing methods, has become
a popular choice for many.
She was interviewed by Daily News Business.
Excerpts of the interview.
Q. What is the business you are
engaged in and how do you set about it?
A. I started "Blooms" dancing academy to provide training for
children and also adults in upcountry dancing and low country dancing
methods. After retiring from the Army where I was a member of the Army
Cultural Troupe for 15 years I did not want to play the role of a
housewife throughout my life. Thus with the encouragement of my husband
and eldest daughter I started dancing classes at my home. These classes
were conducted according to age groups and quite a number of individuals
show interst in learning how to dance. These are not big classes so I
can pay individual attention to enable them to master this art. The
response has been encouraging and the number has grown over time. This
made me to have a separate location for the classes and that is how
"Blooms" was started.
I studied at Horana Sri Pali Vidyalaya. I under studied dancing with
the guidance of dancing gurus Piyasara and Kanthi at the Erandathie
Kalayathanaya. Later I started dancing under Rohana Beddage and sat for
Ghandarva Intermediate Examination. I completed the Ghandarva finals
while I was in the Army. This examination is conducted by the Government
My talents were made best use of at the Army Cultural Troup where I
had the opportunity to further improve. I also was a dancing instructor
in the Army. I retired after a 15-year career and wanted to share my
knowledge and develop skills in others especially in children. The
dancing classes at home have now become expanded in to "Blooms" academy.
Q. How do you balance your family
life and business?
A. My husband Lalith
Amarasiri was also attached to the Army. He was in the Western Band. I
have three daughters. The eldest Iresha Dilrukshi completed her Advanced
Level examination and awaiting entry into the Aesthetic University. My
second daughter Madushani Wimarshana will be doing her Advanced Level
Examination in 2012 under the commerce stream. The youngest Gayathri
Nayanathara is in the eight year. They all support me in this venture
and this is the secret behind my success.
I started classes in mid 2002 after a short break where I retired
from the Army in 2001. I first started the classes at home and the
support was vital to gradually build this into an academy.
My husband and the eldest daughter who has a keen interest in the
subject of aesthetic helps me a great deal. She studies dancing under
dancing teacher Preethi Ganegoda. Their continuous support is an asset
for me. My parents are also with me and they too contribute in the
Q: Can you tell us about the
challenges you had to face in your business journey?
A. The idea of starting
dancing classes was mooted when I joined the Ex-Army Women's
Association. Major Ramani Kangaraarachchi and Capt. Victoria Lakshmi
inspired me immensely to make this a reality. My enthusiasm was fuelled
by their motivation and guidance. As I retired early I needed to do
something that could benefit my family. This was in a way a challenge.
By dint of hard work and consistency my venture is moving ahead
Q. What are your goals?
A. My focus is to impart
my knowledge and skills to the benefit of the others. I value the
cultural aspects in our country and always strive to preserve these
values and inculcate them in our children.
Q. Was being a woman an advantage to
be in business?
A. Yes. I was fortunate that the parents recognized the
importance of giving their children the skills of the extra curricular
activities. They have confidence in me and I take good care of their
children while training them in dancing.
Priyanthi with her husband and two daughters. Pictures by
Q. What is your advice to women in
A. It is important to have
a proper knowledge of business management. Women should have identified
priorities and need to strike a balance between the family life and
business. They should not only focus on monetary gains and they need to
be reasonable in whatever they do.
Q. What were your achievements in
family life and business?
A. With regard to family I
am enjoying life as we are very supportive of each other. My husband is
a pillar of strength and children are doing well in their studies. I
lead a pretty contended family life.
Where the business is concerned, I am happy for the progress it has
made so far. I do not intend to become mass scale because quality comes
first for me. It gives me great satisfaction when my students perform
well in their concerts. The appreciation and feedback from their parents
gives me the added strength to move forward.
Q. What is your contribution to
A. We train children of
Ex- Army personnel of the Ex- Army Women's Association to perform at the
International Children's Day celebrations organized by the United
Nations held at the BMICH Colombo annually. I served as the Vice
President of this Association and this experience has been a supplement
in building the venture.
I have close relationship with my village in Horana, Elimba Junction
where I render my service in advice and also give my time, money and
energy to develop our village. The training received from the Army has
transformed me into a strong person and this has been advantageous when
it comes to facing diffiuclt situations.
I had the dream of joining the Army when I saw a Women's Army Parade
at the Independent Day celebration in Kalutara in 2004. I was fascinated
by the smartness of the Army women. This was the turning point in my
life. Later in life, my sister sent an application on my behalf and I
got selected. I enrolled in the Army realizing my dream. I have given
back to the society the benefit of my training and skills gain through
the disciplined Army career. Today I lead a peaceful life and direct
younger generation to uphold social values and become responsible
citizens using their full potential.