Thursday, 16th March 2006
I remember the first time I saw Chitrasena and Vajira dance. I was a student in a western capital and came with my friends to see this wonder from Sri Lanka. When the performance was over I was filled with so much exhilaration and a powerful sense of delight. When I look back at that moment of exhilaration, I sometimes wonder why I was filled with so much joy- what were the elements that went into that moment.
Firstly- there was strong sense of national pride. Today national pride is somewhat complicated. Today, I believe that both Sinhala and Tamil nationalism have become self destructive. Some may also wonder what is national pride when the nation itself is contested and there is so much hatred, bigotry and intolerance on all sides. But those were the days of innocence, and national pride was a simple thing, the joy in seeing the land where you were born and the people that you most identify with producing such talent, such creativity. I recall that moment of national pride with a terrible sense of nostalgia.
The second reason for my exhilaration was the recognition of sheer genius. These were not dancers going through a routine and doing their steps. These were inspired artists. When I see Upekha dance even today, I see that genius:-. the love of music, bodies immersed in the rhythm, the confidant mastery of body movements, the commitment to excellence and a passion for their art form. When they danced everyone reveled in that moment of artistic perfection. These were moments of transcendence, a divine gift to an inspired couple...
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