It was a wonderful experience to watch ‘Maathra’ a dance ensemble with 13 episodes a brilliant performance on stage by the students of Lyceum schools. It was staged at the BMICH on October 14th 2017 for the 10th consecutive year under the patronage of many distinguished guests including several cabinet ministers.
Two shows were on stage at 3 pm and at 6 pm. This was the traditional Sri Lankan dance combined with creative dancing and music to a spectacular audience, was a part of the mission of the school to promote the rich cultural and social heritage of Sri Lanka. There were scintillating performances by almost all the branch schools which enthralled the audience. The chief coordinator, the talented teacher in charge of performing arts Mr. Rasika Kothalawala specializes in all forms of traditional and creative dancing. He and his team possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of dancing.
‘Maathra’ had the privilege of performing for a decade bringing great pride to the name Lyceum. Mr.Kothalawala and his team had been able to bring out the hidden talents of children of Lyceum giving them the great traditional art enriched with theatrical discipline and varying techniques of dance styles. He transformed traditional art resuscitating indigenous techniques through innovation, from lighting and sound to makeup and costume designing were perfect which mirrors his great ability of choreography.Various acts were packaged differently giving a telegenic sensuality.
‘Maathra’ had explored and experimented many forms of dancing where it was evident in the noval creations such as “Jaya maha kaali” done by Lyceum Wattala which was a combination of rhythm, colour , action and novelty.Examples for raising awareness in sinhala village traditions are “Padura” by Lyceum Nugegoda and “Bakkare” by Lyceum Ratnapura. “Ghata Liya” by Lyceum Wattala encompasses artistic curiosity. ‘Maathra’ with a vast array of diverse acts, the students had the power to go beyond the limits and perform as professional and dramatic dancers.
Children are not merely taught dancing. ‘Maathra’ instills life and learning skills. They learn to value artistic expression and to develop a standard of excellence. “Hastha paada” was a gleeming traditional dance along with “Riddhi” which showed much promise and creativity. ( 1 of 2 ) 2 “Seasons” by Lyceum Nugegoda was magnificently executed along with the rhythm and creativity “Mahasona”, resembles our ancient days of the kings. It offers an insight into the vibrant culture of Sri Lanka, coming down through generations. “Selalihini” was a resounding, tantalizing and a remarkable performance that would remain in the hearts of people.
“Kaala Neela” from Lyceum Nuwara Eliya was also spectacular and wonderful. Stage management and lighting shows solid experience in all these acts and professionalism as well. “Mohini” showed traditional and creative art forms by Lyceum Gampaha and “Heladiva” depicted our ancient precious heritage. ‘Maathra’ maintains a high profile providing promising performances depicting Sri Lankan culture over the last ten years. Multicultural performances enhance the feeling of friendship and togetherness. This I hope is quite classical and remarkable in an international school. Traditional dance forms were artistically woven together bringing out the sense of ability and creativity of the students. Contemporary dance styles were introduced providing outstanding, reliable, confident and professional future dancers.
A combination of dancing and music teachers of all Lyceum schools, under the coordination of Mr.Rasika Kothalawala, ‘Maathra’ was a beautiful stage performance which mesmerized the audience. The announcers were Lyceum students who brought glamour and depth to the whole show adding credit to all the Lyceum schools. The founder Mr.Mohan Lal Grero, The Coordinating Principal Mrs.Kumari Grero and the Director Mr.Nikitha Grero were the pillars of this fascination who provided support and encouragement to make this brilliant cultural programme a success. Along with the vivacious hard working team, Dr.Azfa Rafeeq’s coordination was commendable. Devoted teachers, students and parents were exceptionally incredible. ‘Maathra’ has brought Sri Lankan indigenous art to an international level. There is no doubt that ‘Maathra’ won the hearts of the audience and will be remembered always.
Ms Nilanthri Perera