Best foot forward | Daily News


Best foot forward

For some, easy and graceful movements come naturally. Once you find your groove, nurturing a love for music and enjoying rhythmical movements everyday come with great value. This allows them to foster their sense of physical expressions and spark creativity.

The dance troupe of Lyceum International School Nugegoda recently took part in the International Dance Festival and Competition which was held in Moscow, Russia, recently. They won first place in the traditional folk dance category for the two dance items they presented at the event. The Lyceum Nugegoda dance team comprised of 19 students. They presented a Sword Dance and Lee Keli item at the competition. The Sword Dance also managed to bag the highest award, ‘Best of the Best Dance’.

Around 250 dance teams from 30 western countries competed at the International Dance Festival and Competition this year. All the participants were from schools across the globe. The stage was set for around 2500 students to showcase their dancing skills. Lyceum Nugegoda representing Sri Lanka was the only South Asian school which was present at the event.


“The International Dance Festival and Competition is basically an interschool competition which has been introduced to bring the dancing skills of the youth onto a global platform. Many Russian schools as well as schools from western countries took part in the event. This was the first time that Lyceum International Nugegoda took part in the event,” explained Lyceum Group Chief Coordinator of Cultural Dancing Rasika Kothalawala.

Lyceum Nugegoda Dancing Coordinator Nisha Kothalawala noted that the dance items were designed in a manner so that the international dance enthusiasts could grasp the idea behind the dance as well as to reflect the Sri Lankan traditions.

Reflecting on the competition Sandalindu Duggannarala, the captain of the dance team, said that he has always had a passion for dancing from grade one.

“We have been taking part in competitions from grade five onwards. Our dance items have always topped the all island dance competitions. However this was our first experience abroad. We had to compete with students from foreign countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. That made it a very exciting experience to look forward to,” he said.

Sandalindu is from Grade 11. He has been a member of the dance teams which had won first place in the all island dancing competitions held in the past. He was in both the Sword Dance as well as the Lee Keli dance items.

“As the captain of the dance team I had to see that everything was in order. We had props like the swords and shields which went with the Sword Dance to take along with us and I had to make sure that they were not misplaced” he said.

Isuri Chandrasiri says that the event taught her how to cooperate as a team and how to face challenges.

“The temperature and climate in Russia is totally different from the atmosphere we have in Sri Lanka. Bearing those conditions and coping with the trials that you face in a foreign land made things difficult. However we managed to pull things off with winning colours as both our dance items clinched first place. Winning the Best of the Best award was the icing on the cake. We made a lot of new friends and shared a lot of memories,” she added with a smile.

Isuri has been dancing since lower nursery. Though her mother has engaged in dancing during her childhood, Isuri was the one in the family who has developed a passion for the subject. She believes that her flair for dancing brought her fame and success.

“Some of us had our examinations around the corner but we still wanted to take part in the event because it was a great opportunity which will benefit our future. The experience was worth the hardships,” she said.

For Komudi Pinnedoowe Kandyan dancing signifies the glory of Sri Lanka’s rich culture. She says that there are so many diverse steps and gestures involved in the dance genre.

“We did not know what was going on at the finale of the competition as everything was announced in Russian. When they called our name we were backstage. It was both a shocking and thrilling moment for us,” she recalled.

She says that they practiced throughout December to get ready for the event. Hard work, determination and the spirit to keep going till they got the steps and gestures right was the team’s success formula.

“All the groups who took part in the competition performed well. This made us realize that we had to perform exceptionally well to make a significant impact. I was especially enthralled by a western dance which was performed to the track called ‘Believer’,” says Nimduli Athukorala.

Though Nimduli was in the Sword Dance, she says that if she had to choose which was the best one between the two, she would definitely choose Lee Keli.

“The team performed exceptionally well and I felt that we were capable of winning the event. We also interacted with some of the other dance troupes but language was a barrier as they were not very conversant in English. We learnt a lot by watching their performances,” she added.

Apart from their winning moment the next highlight of the whole experience for the team was the moment when it started snowing in Moscow. It was a first time experience for many of the youth in the team.

Lashawn De Mel is from grade 11. He has been a member from both dance items.

“The Sword Dance is full of energy while the Lee Keli brings the Sri Lankan culture to the fore. I enjoyed the Sword Dance because of the vigor behind the dance moves,” he said.

Noyeli Jayasekara says that she would encourage youth to engage in Kandyan dancing because it teaches them about the roots of the nation.

“You need to learn to balance your extracurricular activities and your studies. It is essential to become an all rounder,” she stressed.

She says that she is grateful to the teachers for giving them the training which not only enhanced their skills but also led them to secure this win.

The Lyceum Group Coordinating Principal Kumari Grero had been supporting them all the way backed by the Founder Mohan Lal Grero, Director Nikitha Grero, and Deputy principals Dulka Mendis and Azfa Rafik. Apart from Rasika and Nisha Kothalawala, Tharaka Sandaruwani, Chalani Pabashwari and Malindu Madhuranga too trained the students.

Apart from taking part in the all island inter school dance competition the other item in the dance troupe’s calendar is their talent show ‘Maathra’ which is staged every year.


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