Dance and the nation: performance, ritual, and politics in Sri Lanka 9780299231644

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Dance and the nation: performance, ritual, and politics in Sri Lanka
 9780299231644

Table of contents :
Frontmatter
List of Illustrations (page ix)
Acknowledgments (page xi)
Note on Transliteration and Usage (page xv)
Introduction (page 3)
1. Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual (page 23)
2. Performers, Patrons, Dance (page 74)
3. A History of Kandyan Dance, 1875-1948 (page 96)
4. Dance, Ethnicity, and the State (page 128)
5. Performing the Nation: The Berava and Kandyan Dance (page 151)
6. Kohomba Kankariya as Spectacle (page 174)
7. Between Purity and Respectability: Sinhala Women and Kandyan Dance (page 198)
Appendix 1: Contents of DVD (page 219)
Appendix 2: Criteria for Grading of Kalayatanayas (page 221)
Appendix 3: Kohomba Kankariyas Observed, 1987-1988 (page 223)
Glossary (page 225)
Notes (page 227)
References (page 251)
Index (page 263)

Citation preview

DANCE AND THE NATION

SOCIETY OF DANCE HISTORY SCHOLARS The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. As a constituent member of the American Council of Learned Societies, SDHS holds wide-ranging annual conferences, publishes new scholarship through its book series and proceedings, collaborates regularly with peer institutions in the United States and abroad, and presents yearly awards for exemplary scholarship. President: Janice Ross, Stanford University Recording Secretary: Allana Lindgren, University of Victoria Corresponding Secretary: Gay Morris, New York, New York Treasurer: Susan Wiesner, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

BoAaRD OF DIRECTORS Ann Cooper Albright, Oberlin College Susan C. Cook, University of Wisconsin- Madison Sherril Dodds, University of Surrey Lisa Doolittle, University of Lethbridge Nadine George-Graves, University of California, San Diego Jens Richard Giersdorf, Marymount Manhattan College Lena Hammeregren, Stockholm University Anthea Kraut, University of California, Riverside Yatin Lin, ‘Taipei National University of the Arts Vida Midgelow, University of Northampton Nelda Monés Mestre, Autonomous University of Barcelona Terry Monaghan, Goldsmiths College, University of London Ann Nugent, University of Chichester Fernando Passos, Federal University of Bahia Patricia Rader, New York Public Library Jacqueline Shea Murphy, University of California, Riverside Yutian Wong, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

SDHS Epiroriat BoarpD Char: Ann Cooper Albright, Oberlin College Theresa Buckland, De Montfort University Darcey Callison, York University Sarah Davies Cordova, Marquette University Jennifer Fisher, University of California, Irvine Nadine George-Graves, University of California, San Diego Ellen Graff, ‘The New School Marion Kant, University of Pennsylvania Vida Midgelow, University of Northampton Yutian Wong, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

I RI 0 Dance and the Nation PERFORMANCE, RITUAL, AND POLITICS IN SRI LANKA

Susan A. Reed

THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN PRESS

Publication of this volume has been made possible, in part, through support from the SOCIETY OF DANCE HISTORY SCHOLARS and BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY.

The University of Wisconsin Press 1930 Monroe Street, 3rd Floor Madison, Wisconsin 53711-2059 uwpress.wisc.edu

3 Henrietta Street London WC2E 8LU, England eurospanbookstore.com Copyright © 2010 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any format or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the Internet or a Web site without written permission of the University of Wisconsin Press, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles and reviews.

I3242 Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Reed, Susan Anita, 1957Dance and the nation: performance, ritual, and politics in Sri Lanka / Susan A. Reed. p. cm. — (Studies in dance history) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-299-23164-4 (pbk.: alk. paper) 1. Dance—Sri Lanka— Kandy Region. 2. Dance— Political aspects— Sri Lanka.

3. Sinhalese (Sri Lankan people) Ethnic identity.

4. Sri Lanka Cultural policy. I. Title.

GV1703.S74R44 2010 793-3 195493 de22 2009008144.

Front cover photograph: Peter Surasena, with drummers I. G. Sirisoma (cen/er) and Rattota Sirisena (right), at a private performance in Kandy, February 1987. Photograph by Susan A. Reed. Back cover photograph: Peter Surasena, performing in Kandy, 1982. Photograph courtesy of the Mary Binney Wheeler Image Collection, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania.

For my mother,

and in memory of my father

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CONTENTS

List oF ILLUSTRATIONS 1x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS x] NoTE ON [T'RANSLITERATION AND USAGE XV

Introduction 3

I Kohomba Kankartya as Village Ritual 29

2 Performers, Patrons, Dance 74 3 A History of Kandyan Dance, 1875-1948 96

4 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 128 5 Performing the Nation: ‘The Berava and Kandyan Dance foal

6 Kohomba Kankartya as Spectacle 174

Kandyan Dance 198

| Between Purity and Respectability: Sinhala Women and

APPENDIX 1: CONTENTS OF DVD 219

Notes 22

APPENDIX 2: CRITERIA FOR GRADING OF KALAYATANAYAS eat

GLOSSARY 220) REFERENCES Zl INDEX 263

APPENDIX 3: KOHOMBA KANKARIYAS OBSERVED, 1987-1988 = 223

vu

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ILLUSTRATIONS

Map

Map of Sri Lanka Z Figures ‘Tittapajjala Samaraweera accompanied by drummers ‘littapajjala

Sumanaweera and ‘littapajjala Premachandra 3

‘Tittapajjala Samaraweera in the mandtya position 43

kankariya, Murudentya 49 the Arrow (Kol Paduva) 56 Dancing the Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma) at a Kohomba

Mul yakdessa ‘littapajjala Suramba performing the Dance of

Mul yakdessa Tittapajjala Suramba chanting to the gods of

the mal yahana at a Kohomba kankariya, Murudeniya 60 Drummers performing atya bera at a Kohomba kankartya 63 The Devils’ Dance at the Private Perehara before the Prince, handy 102

Dance class at Sri Lanka Deshiya Kalayatanaya, ‘Tittapajjala 199 Vaidyavathi Rajapakse dancing a vannama at a private performance 205

Colombo 216

Women ves dancers performing in a welcoming procession 1n

1X

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+--—______ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

‘Thanks, first, to the many dancers and drummers in Sri Lanka who so generously assisted me in my research. | owe an enormous debt to my two teachers, the late ‘Tittapayala Yakdessalage Suramba and Peter Surasena. ‘Tittapayala Suramba patiently guided me through the many complexities of the Aohomba kankarwa, while Peter Surasena, with immense good humor, taught me Kandyan dancing and shared with me his deep knowledge of the dance. ‘littapajjala Sumanaweera, Iittapajjala Samaraweera, [ittapajjala Premachandra, N. M. G. Nawalage, Rattota A. Y. Sirisena, and I. G. Sirisoma all graciously assisted me in numerous ways: their friendship, patience, and artistry in performance were sources of encouragement and inspiration. Among the many other performers and dance teachers who generously gave of their time, I am especially grateful to H. M. Navaratne Banda, the late Pani Bharata, ‘Tanya de Silva, the late Chitrasena Dias, Mudiyanse Dissanayake,

J. E. Gunasena, J. D. Hapugoda, Miranda Hemalatha, Esmee Jayasinghe, Almut Jayaweera, K. B. Jinadasa, Ransina Jothiratne, Srimathi Jothiratne, S. M. R. Makehelvela, Simon Malagammana, G. G. Nandana, Karunadasa Rajapakse, Hema Samarakoon, S. R. H. B. Senanayaka, Piyasara Shilpadhipathi, Balavatgoda Sirisoma, and 8. B. ‘Tennakoon. At the Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Colombo I received considerable support from the director, Dr. 'Tissa Kartyavasam. I am indebted to Vaidyavathi Rajapakse for her assistance with my research at the institute, and for sharing her knowledge of ritual. My thanks to Premakumara Epitawala, H. M. A. B. Herath, the late Godwin Samararatne, and Kapila Vimaladharma for helping clarify many aspects of dance and ritual. At the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Kandy, Mr. K. D. G. Sumanadasa and Mr. Kapila Dissanayake generously gave of their time and assistance. At the USEF in Colombo the director, Bogoda Premaratne, was immensely helpful. My thanks also to Jacqueline Mok of the USIS for her advice and assistance. Many others in Sri Lanka contributed to this study. Xl

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atc ie laa Introduction ACH YEAR, during the full-moon festival of the month of Asala, thousands of foreign tourists and Sri Lankans converge on the former royal capital of Kandy in Sri Lanka’s highlands to watch the ritual and spectacle of the Asala Perahara, a procession held in honor of the sacred ‘Tooth Relic of the Buddha and the four guardian deities of the island. With scores of batik- and satin-clad elephants adorned with electric lights, male Kandyan dancers with spectacular silver headdresses, colorfully costumed women and children folk dancers, acrobats, flag-bearers, whip-crackers, and drummers, the procession wends its way nightly through the narrow streets of Kandy over the course of ten days. Tourists watch from hotels or from special stands erected for the occasion, while most of the locals observe from the streets or from balconies of homes and businesses. ‘he procession is described 1n local media and in tourist brochures as an ancient royal ritual, and the male IKandyan dancers are lauded as keepers of a tradition that has been passed down through generations. While this 1s the most spectacular of the sites in which Kandyan dancers

perform, it 1s only one of many. Kandyan dancers men and boys, and increasingly, women and girls can now be seen in a wide range of performance sites. Kandyan dance in contemporary Sri Lanka suggests a series of images, one shading into the other: elaborately ornamented ritual priests dancing at a hohomba kankariya, an all-night village ceremony, high in the mountains near Kandy; athletic male dancers executing a series of handsprings under bright video lights at a kankariya in Colombo; young women performing acrobatic movements at a Buddhist temple in the dark of night; girls in flashy green costumes and plumed headdresses dancing a peacock dance for tourists at a local casino; an elegant young woman, alone on a stage, solemnly performing the Gajaga Vannama, depicting the movements of an elephant waving its trunk, while her parents and fellow students watch in admiration. The diverse array of images and performance sites illustrates the extent to which the dance has become an integral part of the Sri Lankan cultural landscape. 2

4 Introduction The ubiquity of Kandyan dance reflects its significance as a symbol of ethnic and national identity. With the emergence of cultural nationalisms in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, dance has come to assume pride of place in the construction of such identities. Globally, the centrality of dance as a sign of identity 1s, | would argue, more important now than at any other time in history, impelled by the burgeoning growth of interest in “cultural heritage” fueled by states as well as by private organizations. As a highly portable, largely nonthreatening, and relatively accessible medium, dance is easily packaged and staged as cultural tradition. With the rapid expansion of tourism and the desire for ever more exotic and authentic tourist experiences, the marketing of cultural heritage 1s now big business. And partly, I believe, as a reaction to a perceived fear of cultural homogenization caused by the spread of mass consumer culture, there 1s increased interest in recognizing local histories and traditions, even in postindustrial countries like the United States. Consequently, the concept of cultural heritage has become increasingly significant in academic fields such as anthropology as well as for communities, organizations, and policymakers worldwide. !

Kandyan dance 1s the preeminent dance of Sri Lanka, a dance identified with the majority Sinhala ethnic community and heavily promoted by the state as a symbol of traditional Sinhala culture. In this book, an historical ethnography of IKandyan dance, I explore how a local ritual-based dance form was transformed into an ethnic and national symbol and the consequences this transformation had for the community of traditional dancers as well as for new eroups of performers, especially women. In analyzing this process I trace the history of Kandyan dance in relation to a number of different groups and individuals. For while the traditional dancers of the berava (drummer) caste have played the most important role in the production of Kandyan dance, many others have been instrumental in its development. hese include colonial officials, foreign entrepreneurs, Kandyan aristocrats, low-country elites, Burgher artists, Smhala government officials, tourist agents, and middle- and upper-class performers and choreographers. ‘Vhe agendas and interests of these various groups, of course, were not always (or even often) aligned with those of the berava, who themselves did not always agree on key issues. ‘hus the history of Kandyan dance can be characterized as one of continuous struggle, negotiation, and compromise. ‘This study also situates Kandyan dance in the context of global transformations of local dance and ritual traditions that began in the late eighteenth to midnineteenth century, characterized by a “poetics of detachment’ the severing of practices from their contexts for the purposes of exhibition (KirshenblattGimblett 1998, 18). This transformation, rooted in a particularly European

Introduction 5 worldview that ‘Timothy Mitchell has termed “the exhibitionary order” (1992, 290), has been variously described in terms of several related processes, including folklorization, aestheticization, cultural objectification, and the invention of tradition.* One of the main features of the transformation of complex local traditions of performance into aestheticized events 1s the erasure of the ideological power of performance and its ability to challenge dominant political and social orders (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998, 72). As David Guss notes, “At the heart of all traditionalizing processes is the desire to mask over real issues of power and domination” (2000, 14). Kandyan dance 1s a textbook case of this dynamic, exemplifying how the incorporation of the dance in the service of a nationalist agenda required assimilation to the values of the dominant middleclass culture.

Dance and Nationalism Dance has long been used as a powerful symbol of ethnic and national identity. Since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with the rise of cultural nationalisms in Europe and its colonies, dance has figured prominently in the creation of many ethnic and national “cultures.”* Indeed, as the eminent folklore scholar Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett points out, “Having a past, a ‘folklore’ of your own, and institutions to bolster these claims, is fundamental to the politics of culture: the possession of a national folklore, partecularly as legitimated by a national museum and troupe, 1s cited as a mark of being civilized” (1998, 65, my emphasis).? As an expression and embodiment of “culture,” dance as a medium is especially well suited for displays of 1dentity, combining music, dress, body, and movement to convey ideas of a group’s distinctiveness.

The equation of dance with “culture” has become so commonplace that dance performances are often viewed as exhibiting the essential “character” or ‘spirit’ of an ethnic group or nation. A “cultural performance” usually means a performance of dance and music. The notion that dance 1s an integral aspect of “culture” has been promoted globally through tourism and international festivals and competitions and by agencies such as UNESCO and the Asia Society. Dance has also been central to the promotion of “cultural heritage” by indigenous and ethnic group organizations, diasporic cultural associations, private arts preservation groups, and multinational corporations. The centrality of dance as an expression of “culture” and its use in the construction of national identities is rooted in the ideas of the romantic nationalists of nineteenth-century Europe. Romantic nationalists drew their inspiration from the ideas of Johann Gottfried von Herder, who in the late eighteenth century identified the spirit of the nation with the folk culture of the

6 Introduction peasantry — especially oral poetry and folk song. Because of the primacy given

to language by Herder and other German romantics such as the Grimm brothers, initial efforts to collect and document folk culture focused on folk song, folk poetry, folktales, heroic epics, and myths (Bendix 1997, 48). Beginning in the 1860s, however, scholars in Eastern Europe and Russia began to publish comprehensive studies on folk dance, and in Western Europe articles on peasant dance appeared in many folklore and ethnographic journals (Lange 1980, 4).

In Scandinavia the study and promotion of folk culture as national heritage was largely facilitated by the establishment of open-air museums intended to “preserve the entire folk culture for posterity” (Lange 1980, 5). With the growth of industrialization, Sweden, like many other Western European countries, feared the loss of its rural traditions. In 1891 the Skansen museum, which incorporated complete farmsteads and village buildings that had been brought from different regions of the country, opened in Stockholm. Folk dance was central to the museum’s activities, with performances by both the museum’s own folk dance troupe and villagers who were invited to perform there (Lange 1980, 5). Soon after, Finland, Norway, and Denmark established their own open-air museus, each with its own folk dance group (Lange 1980, 26). From 1900 to the 1920s interest in folk dance increased throughout most of Europe. Many national organizations were founded in order to promote folk dance and to establish archives documenting folk dance, folk music, and resional costumes. In most European countries folk dance revivals developed out of a “nationalistic impulse” to preserve folk culture, leading to the integration of folk dance into education programs, where it was promoted as “healthful, expressive and patriotic recreation” (Friedland 1998, 34). Dance manuals and booklets were widely used to promote the teaching and revival of folk dances. In Europe in the late 1920s and 1930s and through World War II “intense interest in folk dance as a symbol of national identity was undeterred” (Friedland 1998, 35), and from the 1930s on the historical study and documentation of folk dance proliferated. Romantic nationalism also had considerable impact in Europe’s colonies, particularly among the indigenous intellectual elite who were at the forefront of nationalist movements. ‘hese elites, who typically lived in urban areas and had been educated in European languages, were deeply involved in the construction of “national cultures” that would embody the national “spirit” or “soul” of the people. For the urban intelligentsia of the colonies, as in Europe, the “authentic” culture of the nation was to be found among the rural folk. With this culding ideal, the ideas and discipline of folklore and folklore scholarship were adopted by nationalist intellectuals as a means of promoting national identity.

Introduction 7 Private and state institutions were established for the collection of folklore, folkloric dance troupes were organized, and in many countries folk dance was promoted in the schools.°®

In the British colonies of India and Ceylon nationalist interest in dance was focused not only on those dances termed as “folk” but also on what came to be known as “classical” dances. In the early decades of the twentieth century, English-educated elites in India created the category of “Indian Classical Dance” in association with various revivalist and social reform movements of the time. With this category came the establishment of dance schools, conservatories, and research academies of the performing arts (Mareglin 1985, 2). ‘The

dances many of which had originated in temple worship were divorced from their original contexts. In line with the spirit of social reform, the middleand upper-class proponents of the dances sought to refine the dances through the process of classicization.’ Classicizing the dances required that they be

shorn of undesirable elements of eroticism, irrationality, and superstition. Designating the dances as classical also suggested that they were on par with the European classical ballet. ‘Uhe category of classical dance was also adopted in other Asian countries such as ‘Thailand, Gambodia, and Indonesia to refer to dance traditions rooted in the temples and royal courts. In the period between 1945 and 1968, when more than sixty new states were created as a result of the end of colonial rule (Geertz 1973, 234), dance emerged as a key component in the creation of postcolonial “national cultures.” Muinistries of culture and education were established to promote the traditional arts, and national dance troupes were organized to tour abroad as well as at home,

where they were used to foster national unity. The Ceylon National Dancers was one of the first of such troupes, founded in 1948.° A number of international cultural organizations founded in the 1mmed1ate postwar period also played an important role in promoting national dance. UNESCO, for example, which was established in 1945, sponsored academic seminars on “traditional culture” in Ceylon (1956) and Madras (1958), encouraging research on traditional arts and folklore as well as their promotion and

exhibition.’ ‘Vhe International Folk Music Council (now the International Council for ‘Traditional Music, IC’TM), founded in 1947 and affiliated with UNESCO in 1949, was established in order to promote the documentation and preservation of traditional dance and music throughout the world. ‘The Asia Society, founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller HI, has sponsored the performances of scores of national dance troupes, including dancers from Sri Lanka. Since the 1950s, state-sponsored national dance troupes have proliferated, and some states, such as Sri Lanka and Cuba, have several. Dance troupes have

proven to be useful politically, and dancers are often employed as cultural

6 Introduction ambassadors to foreign countries.!° In Asia and South Asia dance performances, festivals, and competitions are also used to promote a sense of regional unity among nations. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), primarily an economic and political organization, for example, has sponsored dance performances that bring together performers from each member nation. Dance troupes are also useful to the state in economic terms, particularly in their role in tourism, both domestic and international. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries the concept of “national dance” continues to be salient in many postcolonial nation-states, and the “national” remains a central organizing principle of dance performances for both local and global audiences. However, ideas of what constitute “national dance” have changed (at least in some countries), expanding beyond the standard repertoire of “traditional,” “folk,” and “classical” dances. Although these forms remain the core of many national dance performances, “modern” and “fusion” dances once denigrated as corruptions of traditional forms are now acceptable, at least in some contexts. ‘The use of nonindigenous elements is no longer necessarily condemned as inappropriate or neocolonial, and dances that combine ideas and techniques from multiple cultural sources can still be considered “national.”

‘This is the case in the Philippines, where the state provides support for hybrid forms that incorporate techniques that are not defined as “indigenous” or “traditional” (Ness 1997). One of the most popular Filipino dance productions in recent decades has been the ballet /gorot, which 1s effectively an “indigenization” of the Western classical ballet, incorporating movements from Western ballet with costumes and dance steps from a variety of Filipino ethnic groups. Anthropologist Sally Ann Ness argues that /gorot attempts an “undoing of colonial aesthetic experience” (1997, 68) and 1s an effort to “decolonize” the ballet genre (1997, 79).

In India scores of inventive new dances considered to be both “Indian” and

“modern” have been produced since the 1980s (Erdman 1996, 297). For 1nstance, the late choreographer and dancer Chandralekha, a major figure in the Indian modern dance movement, created her unique dances from a number of indigenous traditions such as bharata natyam, yoga, and the martial arts of South India. Dancers have also been at the forefront of challenging the notion that “traditional” means static and frozen in time. In Sri Lanka even the most orthodox Kandyan ritual dancers have been open to expanding the repertoire of dances as long as they adhere to fundamental tenets of the dance. Dance scholar Janet O’Shea argues that the viability of the “traditional” Indian dance of bharata natyam in the contemporary world owes much to the fact that it is dynamic,

Introduction J and she praises bharata natyam dancers for “opening up arenas of debate, cialogue, and difference within a ‘traditional’ form” (2007, x11).

Although the urban middle classes and elites provide much of the support for “classical” and “modern” dances, they are often ambivalent about “folk” dances, which they view as too simple and unsophisticated to merit serious attention. Of the several national folk dance troupes studied by Anthony Shay, for example, only the ‘Turkish State Folk Dance Ensemble had a substantial local audience. In the other countries he researched, urban elites regarded folk dance as “quaint” and only “suitable for tourists” (2002, 223). ‘Che attitude of elites to-

ward folk or traditional dances often depends on the context of their performance. In Sri Lanka, for instance, many urban elites consider the performance of traditional IKkandyan dance appropriate for ritual processions, weddings, state occasions, and tourist performances, but they do not consider it an art suitable for the “high art” concert stage.

Sri Lanka: Orientation Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) 1s a tropical island located about twenty miles off the southern coast of India. Although relatively small (about the size of West Virginia), the island 1s blessed with a diverse physical geography and

climate. ‘The coast boasts beautiful palm-fringed beaches, while the central mountainous Kandyan region is the site of rich green terraced rice fields, stunning peaks, shimmering rivers and waterfalls, and an abundance of flora and wildlife. In 2008, the population of the island was about 21 million.

The Sinhalas form the largest ethnic group, making up about threequarters (74 percent) of the island’s population. ‘hey reside primarily in the central (up-country) and southwest coastal (low-country) regions of the island. The Sinhalas are primarily Buddhist and speak Sinhala, an Indo-European language. The second-largest ethnic group 1s made up of Sri Lankan ‘Tamils (12

percent), who are predominantly Hindu and speak ‘Tamil, a Dravidian language. [hey reside mostly in the northern and eastern regions, with significant numbers in Colombo, the capital. Other ethnic groups include Sri Lankan Muslims (7 percent), Estate or Indian ‘Tamils (6 percent), and Burghers (Sri Lankans of European descent, less than 1 percent).!! Although the coastal region of the island had been colonized by both the Portuguese (1505-1658) and the Dutch (1658~ 1796), 1t was not until the central hill-country kingdom of Kandy was ceded to the British in 1815 that a European colonial power ruled the entire island. British rule had an enormous impact on all aspects of Ceylonese society, transforming its economic, political, religious, and cultural structures. ‘The monarchy was replaced by a democratic structure

10 Introduction of government, the system of land tenure and service gave way to a cash economy, English displaced the languages of Smhala and ‘Tamil among the elite, and the British system of education was adopted. Ceylon was considered the most anglicized of Britain’s Asian colonies, and even today, as anthropologist Stanley ‘Tambiah notes, many Sri Lankans are “proud of their British veneer” (1986, 3). British colonial policies and practices helped to create divisions between ethnic groups, especially between the Sinhalas and Sri Lankan ‘Tamils. After Independence in 1948 and especially after 1956, when S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was elected prime minister on a platform of promoting Sinhala Buddhist religion, language, and culture, these divisions deepened as successive Sinhala Buddhist governments adopted policies that discriminated against ‘Tamils in the fields of education and employment. ‘The policies of the Sinhala state led to protests by ‘Tamuls, which in turn led to anti- Tamil riots in 1958, 1977, 1981, and 1983. July 1983 was the worst of these instances of mass violence. !?

In July 1983 a group of ‘Tamil militants the Liberation ‘Tigers of ‘Tamil Eelam (LUTE)— killed and mutilated thirteen Sinhala soldiers in the northern region of Jaffna. After the corpses were brought to Colombo and publicly displayed in the Kanatte cemetery, organized mob violence against Lamuiuls broke out in Colombo. From there attacks on ‘Tamils spread to other major towns, 1ncluding Kandy. ‘he homes, businesses, and factories of ‘Tamils were burned and looted. ‘Thousands died, and tens of thousands were left homeless. The events of July 1983 marked the beginning of the civil war between the Sinhala-dominated Sri Lankan government and ‘Tamil separatists, who sought to establish a separate state (Eelam) for the ‘Tamils. ‘The war was concentrated primarily in the northern and eastern regions of the island. In May 2009, after more than twenty-five years of conflict, the government of Sri Lanka defeated the LIVE. ‘The death toll from the war 1s estimated at nearly 100,000; the suftering engulfed millions. In addition to Sinhala ‘Tamil violence there was in 1971 and again in 1987 89 violence between a Sinhala nationalist youth movement, the Janata Vimukti Peramuna (J VP, People’s Liberation Front), and the government. ‘The insurrec-

tion of the JVP in 1987 89 claimed about fifty thousand lives.!° I lived in Sri Lanka during this period, and I discuss it in more detail below.

Kandyan Dance Kandyan dance 1s one of three dance forms identified with the majority Sinhala ethnic community, each named for its region of origin. Kandyan dances derive from the Kandyan, or up-country (wda rata), region of the central mountainous hill country; Ruhunu ( pahata rata) dances are from the low-country region of the

Introduction 1] populous southwest coast; and Sabaragamuva dances are from the region of the southwest interior. Each region’s paradigmatic dances are derived from village ritual practices: in Kandy, from the Kohomba kankartya; in the lowcountry, from healing rituals to remove the effects of malevolent spirits; and in Sabaragamuva, from an elaborate postharvest thanksgiving ceremony known as gammaduva.'* Each regional form has a characteristic movement style, and although it 1s possible to discern commonalities among them, they are quite distinct. Kandyan dance 1s preeminent among the Sinhala dance forms, and while its roots are in the Kandyan region, the dance 1s now identified as a “national”

dance, as it is performed and practiced throughout the Sinhala-dominated regions of the country.!° A fourth dance form, bharata natyam, 1s identified in Sri Lanka as a ‘Tamil dance.!®

As the national dance of Sri Lanka, heavily supported by the state, Kandyan dance is nowadays visible in a wide array of sites, from schools and tourist stages to religious and secular rituals. One of the most significant moments in the history of Kandyan dance was the adoption of the dance as a required subject in the school curriculum in the 1940s and 1950s, and today virtually every school in the Sinhala-dominated areas of the country employs a resident Kandyan dance teacher.!/ Since 1956, when Sinhala Buddhist nationalists emerged victorious in national elections, Kandyan dance has played a critical role in the construction of Sri Lanka as a nation of the Sinhalas. Myth and ritual trace the origins of the dance to the colonization of the island by the Sinhala people and even the name of the dance, evoking the royal city of the last of Lanka’s kings, suggests links to the country’s dominant ethnic group.!® Although the ritual of the dance’s origin, the lengthy and elaborate Kohomba kankartya, 1s now rarely performed for traditional purposes, it 1s periodically sponsored by the state as a cultural and educational exhibition.

‘The Kohomba kankartya figures prominently in this book because the histories of the Kandyan dance and the kankariya in the twentieth and twenty-

first centuries are inseparable. For decades it was the traditional kankariya ritual dancers of the berava caste who were the dance teachers of the nation. The curriculum for advanced training in Kandyan dance, at both the secondary and the university levels, is based largely on the kankariya, and includes the study and memorization of ritual texts and skill in the arts of building ritual structures. [he enduring appeal of the kankartya speaks also to the fact that its origin myth the myth of Vijaya, the founding father of the Sinhala people remains deeply significant for Sinhalas.

The archetypal Kandyan dancer is a male dancer adorned in the spectacular kankartya dress known as the ves costume. ‘The costume consists of a

ys Introduction gleaming silver headdress decked with shimmering bo leaves, silver armbands and anklets, a beaded harness, and a lower garment of voluminous white cloths

overlaid with a wide, ornamented belt. ‘The ornaments of the ritual dancer ( yakdessa), especially the ritual crown (ves tattuva), were traditionally the most 1m-

portant symbols of a dancer’s status as a skilled ritual performer. ‘The ornaments of the ves costume are considered to be half of those worn by the healerking Malaya, whose curing of the ancient Lankan king Panduvas in the fifth century BCE is the culmination of the myth of the kankartya. ‘Vhe kankartya 1s said to be a reenactment of that ritual of royal healing, and the yakdessas consider themselves heirs to the healing powers of Malaya. ‘Vhe conferring of the ves ornaments in the ceremony of the dancer’s initiation, known as the “tying of the ves” (ves bandima), traditionally took place only after several years of study with a ritual master.

Today, however, the ves headdress has come to stand not for ritual knowledge but for “Sinhala” or “Sri Lankan” tradition. Male dancers wear the headdress at a variety of secular and sacred occasions, ranging from weddings and the opening of shopping malls to the greeting of foreign dignitaries and performances of acrobatic dances for tourists or at Buddhist temples. Indeed, the image of the ves dancer has become a kind of floating signifier of Sinhala tra-

dition, reproduced on postcards, lottery tickets, billboards, currency notes, stamps, batik note cards, papier-maché statuettes, and advertisements for businesses. Alongside the Sri Lankan lion flag and the Buddhist flag, the Kandyan ves dancer 1s one of the most popular visual symbols of Sri Lanka. The traditional dancers and drummers of Kandy were primarily from the berava (drummer) caste, the largest of Lanka’s low “service” castes. From the 1940s and 1950s, when dance was first incorporated into the school curriculum,

until the 1990s the Kandyan berava dominated the field of dance teaching. Following the decision to make dance a required part of the school curriculum, hundreds of berava were hired virtually overnight. Suddenly, nationalism made the knowledge and skill of the berava a valuable commodity. While today it 1s high-caste dancers who are increasingly coming to dominate the dance world in Sri Lanka, 1t was the berava who for more than four decades popularized the dance through their teaching.

The Sri Lankan state looms large in this account of Kandyan dance because it was primarily through the state education system that the dance was developed and is now sustained. Unlike the other arts of Sri Lanka such as painting, music, and theater in which the private sector has played a significant role, there has been little support for Kandyan dance outside the state. Other than for tourist performances, Kandyan dance is not performed as a concert dance on stage for ticket-buying customers.!? Stage performances of Kandyan

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dances and “ballets” (dance-dramas) most often take place at schools and are performed by schoolchildren, often as part of interschool competitions. Even the programs of tourist shows are modeled on state performances. In addition to promoting dance education, the state also supports several troupes that perform for state occasions and tours abroad. During the main period of my field research in the late 1980s and early 1990s state-supported troupes included two national troupes (one based in Colombo, the other in Kandy), a troupe from the aesthetics institute at Bellwood, and Army, Navy and Police Dance ‘Troupes (the latter considered the top choice for weddings at Colombo’s five-star hotels). Many secondary schools have troupes, the finest of which are sent abroad to participate in dance festivals and competitions. The state also periodically organizes smaller, more informal troupes to represent Sri Lanka abroad at festivals as a means to promote tourism.

Rewriting National Dance Critical dance studies aim to dislodge conventionally accepted truths about dance forms and histories. A major goal of this book is to give an account of a national dance from the perspective of nonelites. ‘This is a perspective that goes

14 Introduction against the grain of many popular and even some scholarly — histories of national dance as well as the often reproduced journalistic accounts and reviews that contribute to oversimplified narratives about national dances. While national dances are often derived from the practices of the rural peasantry, lowerclass urban groups, and indigenous communities, the role these communities

play in their development and the impact that the appropriation of their practices has on them ~— 1s often overlooked. ‘Uhis 1s most blatant in popular ac-

counts of national dances, which get reproduced in dance programs and in the media, but it 1s true for some scholarly accounts as well. Elites are often the writers of national dance history, so it is not surprising

that their accounts of dance would emphasize their perspectives. And elite dancers are often the “stars” who bring dance into national and international prominence. But histories by and about elite dancers have the power to become fact in ways that can be misleading, devaluing and even erasing the experiences and contributions of nonelite communities. The voices, the agency, and the stories of subaltern performers are often completely absent from national dance histories. We do not know, for example, how performers were approached, how they were or were not incorporated into the national practices, and how the reworkings of their traditions concretely affected their lives. am not arguing that elite perspectives should be completely displaced by the voices from the margins, but they do need to be challenged by them to produce a more complete and accurate account of national dances.’° ‘his study seeks to redress this la-

cuna in the scholarly dance literature by attending closely to the voices, the interpretations, and the roles of nonelite performers.

Respectability and Performance A dominant theme 1n this book 1s how dances and dancers have been transformed in relation to the values of middle-class culture and to an aesthetic of

respectability.-! Making performances and performers respectable 1s a common practice of postcolonial nations as they adapt traditional cultural forms for presentation as “cultural heritage.”** Implicit in this move is the assumption that traditional performances are too raw, crude, rustic, and unrefined for presentation on the modern stage. ‘Vhe gaze of cultural outsiders middle and upper classes, foreigners, and tourists—-domunates this process. Performances are changed to conform to the demands of the proscenium stage (such as forward orientation and use of special lighting, sound, and sets).*° ‘The values of precision, uniformity, neatness, colorfulness, brevity, youthfulness, and vigor as well as an emphasis on “the virtuosic, athletic, dramatic, and spectacular” (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998, 65) replace the values of the local aesthetic.?+

Introduction [3 As Indonesian arts officials told ethnomusicologist Philip Yampolsky (1995), traditional practices must be “upgraded” to be “in step with the times,” to be suitable as signs of a nation’s development, its modernity. ‘The process also apples

to performers from outside the middle and upper classes, who are expected to change their behavior to conform to middle-class ideals. Middle-class respectability has also played a major role in the transformation of Kandyan dance into a feminine practice. Prior to the introduction of dance into the schools in the mid-twentieth century, Sinhala women for the most part did not dance, as dance was considered a disreputable practice. Although a few elite women performed Kandyan dance on stage in the 1930s and 1940s, 1t was not until the late 1950s and early 1960s, when dance was introduced into the schools, that large numbers of women and girls began to study dance. Since then they have become an increasingly visible presence in the dance world. ‘The vast majority of dance students are female, and women are coming to dominate the profession of dance teaching. Despite the prominence and popularity of female dancers, however, women’s dancing 1s fraught with ambivalence and contradiction. ‘Uhe public display of women’s bodies on stage clashes with ideals of respectable Smhala Buddhist womanhood that emphasize the virtues of modesty, domesticity, and restraint. Because dance has the potential to be seen as immoral, women must be vigilant about where, how, and with whom they dance. While women’s dance practices have expanded greatly since the 1950s, women must constantly negotiate their practice 1n relation to ideals of the respectable feminine.

Thesahapters in brret In Chapter 1, “Kohomba Kankartya as Village Ritual,” I provide an overview of the Kandyan village mtual, Kohomba kankartya, and explore in detail the kankariya dances, including training, music, costume, and dance structure. I situate the ritual within the context of Sinhala Buddhist folk religion and provide a detailed description of the ritual’s origin myth and structure, and the role of the ritual performers. ‘The chapter provides the foundation for understanding the religious, cultural, and aesthetic significance of the dance from the perspective of the berava dancers. Chapter 2, “Performers, Patrons, Dance,” explores the community of berava dancers and their traditional patrons, the Kandyan elites, and provides an orientation to contemporary stage dance performances. I examine the popular vannam and ves stage dances, and describe how the dance has changed as it has been adapted for the stage. ‘The chapter concludes with a profile of the master ritualist ‘Tittapayala Suramba, my main consultant on ritual dance.

16 Introduction Chapter 3, “A History of Kandyan Dance, 18751948,” traces the history of Kandyan dance, especially the ves dance, during the period of British colonialism, when the dance moved from the maduva (ritual hall) to the stage. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, while kankariya dances continued to

be performed in the ritual setting, new venues for the dance emerged, and dance was reconceptualized as exhibition, culture, and “art.” In the period becinning in the 1870s and through the time of Ceylon’s independence in 1948, audiences for Kandyan dance expanded to include British colonial elites, Western Europeans, American dancers, Indian nationalists, and the urban elite of Colombo. ‘This chapter explores various dance sites, performances, and performers from the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1875 to the end of the colonial period in 1948. Chapter 4, “Dance, Ethnicity, and the State,” focuses on the history of the Kandyan dance from 1956, locating it within the larger context of Sinhala nationalism. I show how, beginning in the 1950s, Kandyan dance was defined as a symbol of Sinhala ethnic and national pride in opposition to the ‘Tamil promotion of South Indian forms of dance and music. ‘The chapter explores the impact of state intervention in dance training and the ways in which the berava dancers struggled to maintain the ritual meanings of the dance within the state educational structure. In Chapter 5, “Performing the Nation: ‘The Berava and Kandyan Dance,” J examine the ways in which the ideology of middle class respectability promoted by the state has impacted the traditional community of berava dancers. I explore the obstacles that the berava dancers have faced in trying to gain respectability for themselves, and describe what the nationalist appropriation of their practices has meant for the community.

In Chapter 6, “Kohomba Kankartya as Spectacle,” I examine performances of the kankartya in nontraditional contexts. Although the kankartya 1n its traditional form has long been in decline, beginning in the 1950s and increasingly through the 1980s and 1990s and to the present, the ritual been revitalized and staged as a cultural and educational display. ‘his chapter explores the variety of new forms the kankartya has taken. Chapter 7, “Between Purity and Respectability: Snhala Women and Kandyan Dance,’ examines how women negotiate their dance practices 1n relation to Sinhala ideas of feminine respectability and ritual purity. I explore several dimensions of women’s dance, including changes in style and repertoire, the production of images of the powerful feminine, the moral hierarchy of dance sites, the promotion of dance as a middle-class profession, the sexualization of dance, and the introduction of women ves dancers into new ritual and ceremonial contexts.

Introduction 17 Fieldwork I lived for nearly four years in Sri Lanka, conducting field research in the summer of 1954, from December 1986 to January 1989, from July 1991 to November 1992, and in the summer of 1997. In the United States in 1994 and in 2000, I conducted research with visiting Sri Lankan performers, and in the summer of 2000, I researched Kandyan dance in the Sinhala diaspora community. ‘The historical research for this project draws from a variety of sources including oral histories, dance programs, government publications, dance reviews, travelogues, and journalists’ accounts. Most of my time in Sr Lanka was spent in and around the town of Kandy. My initial stays were in homes a few miles from the town center off the Peradeniya Road. From those homes I had a view of the Hantana mountain range, which included the Boar Rock (Ura Gala), part of the mythic landscape of the Kohomba kankariya. I went to Kandy town almost daily to watch performances, conduct interviews, take dance lessons, or catch a bus or taxi to a village site. I often traveled to nearby villages to attend rituals and meet with dancers. My research assistant, Shanez, accompanied me on almost all of these ventures in the early months. During the first two periods of field research (1984, 1986-89) I developed

my closest relationships with the traditional dancers, those men (and a few women) of the berava caste whose families had preserved the dance for generations. Although I interviewed dancers and drummers from all three regions of the traditional dance Kandy, Kegalle, and Kurunegala— my closest ties were

with berava dancers from the Kandy region, especially the great kankariya master ‘Tittapajjala Suramba; his two sons, Sumanaweera and Samaraweera; and the distinguished stage performer Peter Surasena. At the end of 1987 I moved to Colombo, where I lived for two months, conducting research with the students and faculty at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies on Horton Place. DurIng 1991 92, while continuing work with the berava, | began more systematic research on women and gender, conducting interviews with the most prom1nent women teachers in Kandy. In 1997 I continued research on women and dance history and gathered further information on the Valiyak mangallaya, a ritual that is performed annually after the Kandy Asala Perahara. I was often told that I should have conducted my research twenty years ear-

her, when the Kohomba kankariya had been thriving and many of the great

dance and drumming masters were still alive. My friend Upali ElapataKatugaha, a patron of the dance who was a member of the Kandyan nobility, often told me stories and wrote me letters about these old dancers, once remarking, “As usual, now dead.” History pervaded almost every discussion of

18 Introduction dance with references to famous teachers and legendary dancers like Nittawela Gunaya and Heenbaba Dharmasiri and ritualists hke Bavilzamuva Lapaya.

Dancers and aficionados fondly recalled Kohomba kankartyas of the past, when Tittapajjala Suramba was a young man, performing with his charismatic drummer, Gadaladentya Ukkuwa. The period from 1987 to 1989 often referred to as bhisana kalaya, “the time of terror’ —was a particularly horrific one in Sri Lanka. Quite independent of the ongoing civil war between ‘Tamil separatists and the state, there ensued a violent conflict in the southern and central regions of the island between the state’s armed forces and the JVP, a Sinhala opposition movement. Over the

twenty-six-month period of my research in 1986 89, the circumstances of fieldwork changed dramatically. In July 1987 Kandy, which had been relatively quiet since the bloody riots of July 1983, became, like much of the rest of the country, a site of curfews, threats, and, ultimately, horrendous violence. ‘Uhe Indo-Lanka Accord, signed by Sri Lankan president J. R. Jayawardena and Incian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, sparked a wave of Sinhala Sinhala violence that was to continue for more than two years. The JVP, which had been banned following an abortive attempt to overthrow the government in 1971, went on a

violent antigovernment campaign that was in turn met by an equally violent and brutal “counterterrorism” of the government in which it is estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 were killed. This period is often referred to as the “second uprising” of the JVP. My first encounter with violence, however, occurred in the context of the ethnic conflict between ‘Tamil separatists and the government in April 1987. I had traveled several hours north of Kandy with my research assistant to the village of Kekirawa in the North-Central Province. ‘The occasion was a rare performance of a Vadiyak kankariya, a modified version of the Kohomba kankartya

found in this dry zone region. ‘The ritual was sponsored by the state-owned People’s Bank as a cultural heritage performance and was, in fact, being performed indoors on stage, accompanied by commentary for the audience. My research assistant and I were watching the ceremonial reenactment of the Ritual of the Boar when suddenly the ritual was interrupted with a chilling announcement. In the nearby town of Kitulotuwa, on the Habarana ‘Trincomalee Road,

the ‘Tamil ‘Tigers had massacred over a hundred Sinhala Buddhist pilgrims who had been traveling by bus to nearby sacred sites. ‘The ritual was stopped. We hurriedly gathered our things and drove to a

nearby Buddhist monastery for the remainder of the night. We slept in our hired car, and in the bright sun of the early morning, in the peaceful environs of the monastery grounds, it was hard to believe what had happened so close by. But, I assured myself, this 1s not Kandy: [ll be back in a safe zone soon.

Introduction 19 That sate feeling was short-lived. In July 1987, immediately after the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord in which President Jayawardena agreed to allow Indian forces into the country to help quell the ‘Tamil separatist violence, chaos ensued. ‘Che JVP took advantage of the unstable situation, emerging from their

underground status. During the ceremonial guard of honor at Katunayake Airport, moments before Prime Minister Gandhi’s departure, a Sinhala soldier in a gesture of rage raised his rifle and forcefully brought 1t down on Gandhi's shoulder. People were furious with the president for ceding what was, in their view, Lanka’s sovereignty. I did not know a single person who supported him:

he was viewed as a coward and a sell-out. On the outside of the wall that bounded the property where I lived, someone had scrawled in black paint “J.R. maramu” (Sill J.R.). The JVP called for curfews, and people stopped going to work. ‘The situation deteriorated to such an extent that the military was called in to force “essential services” employees to work at gunpoint. In the afternoon I would go out on the streets and find no buses, cars, or pedestrians. During this period in Kandy indeed, anywhere in the country — it was difficult to find out what was happening. Most of the news available to us was government news, consistently false or at least misleading. For local situations one had to rely on rumor. People became paranoid and suspicious. Now, in the midst of two major conflicts and a government that seemingly had no control over the situation, Sri Lankans became increasingly fearful. Accusations of poisonings of one ethnic group by another were rampant, and even close neighbors became wary of each other.

Despite the conditions I was able to continue my research. Kandy still wasn't as bad as some other locales, though people were afraid to go out at night. ‘The dancers stopped performing night rituals, but I was able to attend day performances, conduct interviews, and take part in dance classes. In August 1987 I traveled by car to Kataragama to see the famous pilgrimage site and attend the festival of the Kataragama Asala Perahara. Along the way, looping down the mountains to the south, we passed shells of burned Ceylon ‘Transport Board (C'T'B) buses. ‘Tourists had stopped coming. ‘The roads were nearly empty. Although I didn’t know it then, we had entered the region of some of the worst of the government violence, where thousands of young men had been “disappeared.” Kataragama, normally filled this time of year with tens of thousands of pilgrims, was quiet. At the night perahara (ritual procession), spectators numbered in the low hundreds. As a foreigner, however, | did not feel in any particular danger: foreigners had not been targeted by the ‘Tamil separatists or by the JVP. Iwas cautious but in fact had more freedom than most Sri Lankans.

Things did not improve. In December 1988 Ranasinghe Premadasa was elected president, taking over the United National Party (UNP) mantle from

20 Introduction Jayawardena, who had been president for eleven years. Premadasa, who had been prime minister under Jayawardena and was closely aligned with him, turned out to be even more brutal than the former president. Disappearances, murders, and torture increased. In late November 1988 I left the country with friends to travel to India and Nepal. When we returned in December, the mood in Sri Lanka was dark. I left for the United States in January 1980. Friends later told me that I had left just in time. I missed the worst of the time of terror in Kandy: the nightmarish period from late January 1989 to the

middle of the year. Back in the States I feared for my young male dancer friends. Later I was to learn that one was detained for months by the government, tortured, kept in a windowless, dank room below ground, and finally saved from death by the pleas of another dancer. Another young dancer I'd known was disappeared, never to be seen again. When I returned to Sri Lanka in the summer of 1991, I heard horrible stories of torture, beheadings, and disappearances. Virtually everyone I spoke with knew a friend or relative who had been maimed, tortured, or killed by government agents or by the JVP. My dance teacher, Peter Surasena, was recruited to teach Kandyan dancing to former JV Pers in the state “rehabilitation camps.” ‘he government proudly displayed in the newspapers photos of these young men dancing in the ves costume. Performing Kandyan dance was a sign that one was reintegrated into Sinhala society.

The violence of the ethnic conflict and the years of terror deeply affected everyone | knew in Sri Lanka. People did not know whom to trust and many formerly close relationships with coworkers, teachers, neighbors, friends, and even family members were strained. Some of my closest consultants became nervous, emotionally volatile, and psychologically fragile.*°

During my stay in Sri Lanka between July 1991 and November 1992, I resumed my relationships with the traditional berava dancers, concurrently developing a new set of relationships with some prominent women teachers. | returned to Sri Lanka in the summer of 1997 and continued my research with women dancers and on the Valtyak ritual. Over the course of my field research, I attended scores of ritual and dance performances 1n a wide variety of contexts. ‘These included village rituals such

as the Kohomba kankariya, bali (ritual for planetary deities) and countersorcery (huniyam) ceremonies, the Valiyak ritual at the Vishnu shrine in Kandy, peraharas, state-sponsored cultural heritage and educational rituals, classes at village dance schools and at government institutions, performances of tourist and state dance troupes, a performance of a female temple dance (digge natuma), and the ritual of a dancer’s initiation (ves bandima). I also attended performances of bharata natyam, as well as a lavish bharata natyam arangetram (dance debut)

Introduction 2] in Colombo. Observing and conversing with audience members, organizers, teachers, state officials, and performers at these events gave me a broad view of the ways in which dance and dancers were perceived and evaluated from a diversity of perspectives. In addition to the methods typically employed by cultural anthropologists

for field research (interviews, observations, participation in daily hfe), | employed two additional methods that are essential to this study: learning the Kandyan dance and using video documentation to elicit critical commentary. Over the course of my years in the field I filmed more than fifty hours of dance and ritual in various sites, including numerous Kohomba kankartyas, the Asala Perahara, tourist performances, rehearsals, and classes at government and village dance schools. With my portable, battery-operated video monitor — the size of a small television set I was able to travel to villages to watch the videos with dancers, a process that allowed me to ask detailed questions about form

and meaning as well as to hear the dancers’ critiques of performers and performances. ‘The videos have also been an invaluable reference tool for me throughout the writing process; the DVD that accompanies this book is drawn from these field videos (see appendix 1). During my first years in Kandy (1987 8g) I took Kandyan dance lessons for

several hours a week with Peter Surasena, a highly esteemed performer and teacher. Each week Mr. Surasena arrived promptly after his normal teaching duties at St. Sylvester’s College to teach me and my research assistant, Shanez, in the open-air concert hall at the Kandyan Arts Center, situated on the Kandy lake.

We began, always, with namaskara, the obeisance to our parents, our teach-

ers, the gods, and the Buddha. Surasena, immaculate in his white national dress, would drum and dance, demonstrating correct technique for his soon to be soaked in sweat pupils, who were dressed in black tights, knee-length skirts, and ‘l-shirts.*° ‘Vhe stage floor on which we performed was concrete, which was cool but unforgiving. Occasionally, a tourist would peer over the balcony to watch, but otherwise we had, thankfully, no audience. We learned the basic foot and hand exercises, discrete sections of various dances, and, finally, some of the vannamas — short stage dance pieces whose steps are derived from the Kohomba

kankariya. Mr. Surasena was the consummate teacher patient, clear, and systematic in his approach, always willing to demonstrate over and over the correct technique, occasionally imitating our movements to hilarious effect. It was through dancing that I learned to hear the melodies of the drum and to appreciate its intricate rhythms. And it was largely through these lessons that I developed an understanding of the structure and aesthetics of Kandyan dance as well as a deep appreciation of the power and pleasure that the dance evokes.

Ze Introduction In writing this book I have strived to accurately represent the views and perspectives of those who so generously gave of their time and knowledge. As most of my consultants wished their identities and views to be made known, I have used their actual names in the text. In a few instances, however, 1n which I have judged a consultant’s comments to be potentially problematic, I employ a generic descriptor or other device in order to protect the person’s identity.

This book is both an ethnographic and historical account of Kandyan dance. When I embarked on this project, I did not intend to produce a history

of the dance. However as much of the anthropological scholarship has demonstrated — ethnographic work in Sri Lanka requires that one must in some fashion engage with the past. ‘The dancers I worked with constantly referred to famous dancers and dance events from earlier times, and I also came to learn that much that had been written about the history of dance was inaccurate or incomplete. As there was no systematic dance history available, I have felt compelled to construct one, drawing from the accounts of the dancers and the few English-language sources available. What I have produced in this book, particularly for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (chapter 2), 1s what I consider a skeletal history of the dance. I offer it as a starting point, an outline, to be fleshed out by further research.

th i le icc KKohomba Kankartya as Village Ritual Although a Kohomba kankariya is performed at my house, even world peace could be generated from it. Say someone in the village is angry. Say

there is a court case going on. When a kankariya is performed, it 1s announced to everyone. ... On the day of the kankariya everyone comes. On that day all ill feeling

and resentment disappear. And good feeling, peace, harmony, and comradeship are generated. ... On that day there is happiness in the village. This is the most important thing, The person who was angry now becomes friendly. He has food in my house, then he goes. Isn’t that the elimination of the biggest fault [dosa]? Tittapajjala Yakdessalage Suramba

HE KOHOMBA KANKARIYA is aritual of forgiveness, generosity, and peace. Although it is a ritual of propitiation for the local Kandyan deities, its effects are felt in the village and its surrounds, as it restores the human community and soothes social tensions in a collective rite of healing. When I asked two of Sri Lanka’s most knowledgeable dancers, ‘Tittapajjala Suramba and Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, to explain the purpose of the ritual, they did not first mention the gods but instead spoke of the ways in which the kankariya drew villagers together in a spirit of cooperation and amity. In the traditional kankariya everyone in the village made a contribution, be it as small as a bunch of plantains or as large as several cloths dedicated to the gods. Offerings of flowers, fruits, camphor, oil lamps, oil, cloth for the canopy, banana trunks for the ritual hall (maduva) all were accepted. ‘Uhe services of the washerman, the drummers, the dancers, and the ritual assistants are seen as offerings in kind and are acknowledged in the ceremony. During various sections of the kankartya some of these offerings are distributed, and some of the Z9

24 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual ritual acts, such as the Ritual of the Boar (Ura Yakkama), emphasize the value of giving and sharing.

For centuries the Kohomba kankartya was the most important ritual in Kandyan villages, performed as a thanksgiving, a forgiving, and a postharvest

celebration. Give what is due to the Kohomba gods: the first rice, the first pumpkin, a coconut tree, the plantain fruits, betel leaves, all kinds of produce. Collect the coin offerings set aside to cure illness, for marriages, for infertile gardens. Offer dancing and drumming to welcome the gods, to entertain the audience, to compete with other performers. Listen to the myths, the lengthy chants, of the betrayal of the indigenous demon-princess Kuveni by her husband, Vuaya, alleged father of the Sinhalas in Lanka. Be healed through ritual, like Vyaya’s nephew Panduvas, the king of Lanka, once was. Enjoy the comic dramas, mocking the Indian gurus and indigenous Vaddas. Hold a kankartya every year, or if the family or the village cannot afford that, then sponsor half of one, the panduru venkirima.

By the 1980s, performances of the Kohomba kankartya, particularly in rural villages, were rare. The nature of village life had changed, the local gods had given way to more powerful deities, belief in many of the old ritual traditions had been shaken. “Everything has changed,” Vaidyavathi told me. “Now the people’s beliefs have receded. . . . ‘These things are gone because of the desire to earn money. It’s the way the whole world is going. . . . Now paddy fields aren't productive. Uhere are various problems, water problems, the earth has changed, everything has changed. ‘Things change, that is the nature [of existence]. So now there is no way to hold a Kohomba kankartya.” Before I left for my first visit to Sri Lanka in 1984, I was told, “You won’t see a kankartya, it’s no longer done.” But I was fortunate. Near Kandy one of the older generation of kankariya dancers was still performing the ritual. Everyone

knew him; there had even been a television documentary on his life as an astrologer, ritual dancer, and master of the kankartya. Walking the narrow path to littapajjala Suramba’s house that first time, I was not sure what to expect. But Suramba had known other foreigners and many Sri Lankan scholars. He knew why I was there, like the urban English-educated folklorists of the 1950s and 1960s, like the American ethnomusicologist from the 1970s, like the Brazilian dancer, the Swiss psychologist, and the local scholars of the 1g8os. I was there to learn from him, and there was little doubt as to the reason. Over the next several years I made many visits to his house and attended many kankartyas. But the relationship remained in many ways as it began. I was the student, writing the “big book,” perhaps not knowing, as he told Shanez, my research assistant, the value of what I was doing, the value it had for the country, for the culture. As Vaidyavathi told me, “[ For] our Sri Lankan people, we

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual Zo Sinhalas, the only treasure in our country [1s] the three dance forms: Kandyan, low-country, Sabaragamuva.” So it was with many of the kankartyas I saw: they were performed for the benefit of the country, to preserve Sinhala culture. “It’s only a museum piece,” a well-known dance teacher and choreographer from Colombo remarked to me, and the ritual dancers said, ““Vhe kankartya and the classical art are dying.” Not simply a fact but a lament. ‘The kankariya

had been alive through their fathers, grandfathers, uncles. Dying, but still worth something.

The kankariyas of the late eighties and nineties ranged from those sponsored by a family or village for traditional purposes to kankariyas sponsored by the state as cultural heritage or for educational purposes. Foreign scholars also sponsored a number of kankartyas in order to document them. Any could be deemed “authentic” or “false” (doru), depending on who was speaking, how they had been treated, who was in charge. Most likely to go awry were those managed by the state in an effort at fairness, ritual dancer-priests (_yakdessas) from the three different regional traditions (Kandy, Kurunegala, and Kegalle) were always invited, and government officials attempted to contain the ritual,

“control” the dancers, often ruffling feathers all around. If it didn’t come off quite right, the state-sponsored kankariya could always be dismissed, unlike the others. kor even in the scholar-sponsored rituals there had to be an actual patient/sponsor (aturaya), often the researcher. In July 1988 my American friend Gary, a subcontractor for USAID, and I, both dressed in white, served as joint aturayas. In between offerings and blessings, Gary and his wife tended to the cuests (scholars, Peace Corps volunteers, friends, and neighbors), while I stood at one end of the ritual hall, bracing myself against a post to video the dancers and drummers. Later, Suramba told me they had reduced the ritual chanting, knowing I was more interested in dance. But it was still a “complete” kankariya, especially significant because 1t was performed in the sight of the Dalada Mahegawa, the ‘lemple of the Buddha’s ‘Looth. ‘The Kohomba kankartya, which includes singing, prose recitation, dance, drumming, drama, and comedy, 1s a ritual complex that has intrigued everyone who has seen it with the richness, ambiguity, and obscurity of its symbolism. As extensive discussion of the kankariya’s history and interpretation 1s outside the scope of this book, I will note here only a few key points to help orient the reader. Despite the fact that the central myth of the kankartya (discussed below) 1s well known to Sinhala speakers, the ritual does not lend itself to easy interpretation. Interviews I conducted with Sinhala audience members at a kankariya in the southern town of Ambalangoda in 1987, for example, revealed that virtually all of the spectators were baffled by most aspects of the ritual and had considerable difficulty following the events. One reason is that the language of

26 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual the sung or recited texts 1s often quite hard to follow, both because keeping to the ritual meter requires a “distortion” of the language and because much of the vocabulary 1s unfamiliar to contemporary Sinhala speakers. In addition, although the ritual acts are performed in a set order, they do not follow a chronological, lmear narrative, and many bear little direct relation to the origin myth. As the respected Sri Lankan folklorist and scholar Charles Godakumbura has convincingly argued, “Many other rituals have been interwoven with the Kohomba kankariya” (1955, 293). [his vastly complicates attempts to decipher the ritual acts.! A central theme of scholarly interpretations of the ritual is the notion of political legitimacy, the right of the Sinhalas to rule over the island. ‘Uhe origin

myth of the kankariya reveals tensions between the “betrayed” indigenous peoples of Lanka (the aboriginal Vaddas), symbolized by Kuveni, and the rogue prince Vyaya, considered the founder of the Sinhala people. ‘This tension 1s enacted in various segments of the ritual such as the Lament of Kuveni (Kuveni Asna) and in the comic drama known as the Ritual of the Vadda (Vaddi

Yakkama). Other acts in the ritual address the issue of South Indian migrant priests and again demonstrate Sinhala hegemony over the island. In one of the comic dramas, for instance, a priest from India is trained to speak correct Sinhala, demonstrating that he must learn to assimilate to the dominant culture. To truly do justice to the meanings of the Kohomba kankariya would require another book. ‘The focus of this chapter 1s to provide an overview of the ritual and give a detailed account of the aesthetics of kankariya dance.

Kohomba Kankariya: An Overview ‘The Kohomba kankariya 1s rooted in a society that no longer exists. ‘Uhat society was of the agricultural Kandyan village, hierarchically ordered along caste lines and centered on rice cultivation. Since the imposition of British rule in the IKkandyan provinces in the nineteenth century, Kandyan village life has been completely transformed. ‘The land tenure and patronage system that sustained

the yakdessas the ritual dancer-priests of the kankariya has been replaced by a capitalist economy, and in the religious sphere traditional Sinhala Buddhism has largely been displaced by a rationalized “Protestant Buddhism” (Gombrich and Obeyesekere 1988). The folk religious deities of the kankartya have largely fallen into neglect, displaced by other, more powerful gods. The Kohomba kankartya was traditionally performed to propitiate the local deities of the central hill region of Sri Lanka in order to bring blessings, wellbeing, and prosperity to the land and its inhabitants. ‘The kankartya 1s classified as a santikarma (“peace-making” ritual), a category of Sinhala rituals performed

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 2d for beneficial purposes. ‘Che kankariya 1s one of the most complex and ancient of existing Sinhala folk religious rituals, though its precise origins are a matter of speculation. As noted above, the ritual 1s clearly an amalgamation of a number of ritual practices from different sources. ‘Uhere is little doubt that some of

the ritual is of South Indian origin (Godakumbura 1955, 293), and elements from Vadda rituals have also been incorporated.” The main performers are ritual dancer-priests (yakdessas) and drummers (berakarayas) of the berava (drummer) caste. ‘he chief ritualist is known as the mul yakdessa; he is the main authority on ritual procedure and practice. When one wishes to sponsor a ritual, one contacts the mul yakdessa, and he 1s responsible for the organization and performance of the ceremony. In the 1980s and

1990s the number of performers in a kankariya ranged from a minimum of twelve (six dancers, six drummers) to twenty or more, depending on economic factors. Charles Godakumbura told one observer in the late 1940s that he had witnessed kankariyas with eighty to one hundred dancers (De Zoete 1957, 125).

The Kohomba kankariya was traditionally linked with the agricultural cycle, the ceremony usually taking place after the principal rice harvest.’ However, the ceremony can be performed at any time of year, as needed (Molamure 1958, 63). Research on the ritual from the nineteenth century describes a close relationship between the propitiation of the Kohomba deities and rites associated with rice cultivation (Nevill 1886). ‘Today the ritual is usually performed

over a two-day period, although older dancers recalled kankariyas that had been held for up to seven days. A kankariya can be performed for a variety of reasons. ‘Ivaditionally, a family or a village sponsored a kankartya in order to bring prosperity to the villag-

ers, to prevent the spread of disease and blight to crops. Kankariyas are also held for more specific reasons: to win a court case, improve employment prospects, cure a person of an illness, and so on. ‘he power of the ritual is such that it is often performed for multiple purposes.

Sinhala Folk Religion The kankartya 1s a ritual of what scholars term the “popular,” “folk,” or “spirit” religion of Sinhala Buddhists. Although each of these terms obscures some features of the religion (e.g., “popular” or “folk” deities were often patronized by the state), | prefer the term “folk” and will use it throughout.* As Gombrich and Obeyesekere note, “Uhe religious life of Smhala Buddhists has always (except for a few individuals) included ... worship of gods and propitiation of demons,

behef in and attempted manipulation of supernatural powers things for which the Buddhist scriptures give no specific authority and which the actors

28 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual themselves have generally considered to form no part of Buddhism, though perfectly compatible with it” (1988, 3). It 1s this aspect of Sinhala religious life that I refer to as “folk religion.” While there are some common features found in all Sinhala folk religious practices, there 1s also considerable regional and local variation, which makes historical and regional analysis complicated. As Heinz Bechert observes, “It [1s]

quite clear that there 1s no general system of popular religion which can be compared approximately to the system of Buddhism, but that we have to do with a multiplicity of cults, astonishing in view of the limited area, which never

became canonical and therefore are subjected to continual change” (1978a, 196). Even a cursory description of the deities of the kankartya and an analysis of the relevant ritual texts are significantly complicated by this aspect of historical and regional variation, and the following discussion is intended only as a general overview.?

Tue THREE WORLDS

The traditional Sinhala Buddhist cosmos consists of three worlds those of humans, malevolent beings or “spirits of the wild” (yakas), and gods (devas) — over which the Buddha, as “lord of the three worlds,” presides (Obeyesekere 1984, 53).° The three worlds are not “geographically differentiated” but rather constitute a “logical ordering or classification of beings living in diversely situated ‘worlds’” (Obeyesekere 1984, 53).’ The Buddha’s “supreme and superordinate status 1s unequivocal” (Obeyesekere 1984, 56), and it is he who has granted the authority to the gods to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

The Sinhala cosmos is hierarchical, and the gods and yakas are ranked according to their ethical conduct. In general, the gods are rational, moral, attractive, and pure, in contrast to the yakas, who are impure, malevolent, and irrational. ‘he cosmos operates on the principle of karma, in which one’s actions determine one’s fate, so deities can rise and fall in the hierarchy depending on their conduct. The Sinhala deities seem to always be in a state of flux, some rising in status from demonic to divine, some becoming more remote as they advance toward Buddhahood, and still others being neglected due to displacement by more powerful deities. Many of the deities invoked in the kankariya are in most areas obsolete, propitiated only in relatively remote areas of the Kandyan provinces. Some of them are no longer active at all.

THE Twetve Gops The kankariya in general propitiates a group of deities referred to as the Twelve Gods (Dolaha Deviyo), although the actual number of deities invoked

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual Zo in any given ritual varies. ‘Vhe deities propitiated in the Kohomba kankartya 1nclude both relatively pure gods, such as Irugal Bandara, and very malevolent yakas, such as Kadavera. The cult of the ‘Twelve Gods 1s very complex, and its complexity 1s compounded by the fact that the nature and names of the various gods and yakas fluctuate over time and across regions and even within the textual traditions of a single ritual lineage ( paramparava). Identifying precisely who the deities are and their relations to each other 1s a daunting task. For example, citing some ritual verses sung by ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, ethnomusicologist Ronald Walcott notes that the “lst of gods from section to section does not remain stable; even in ‘Littapajjala’s verses alone” (1978, 195). Moreover, “even if the name of a god appears 1n two areas, his description in the kavi [verses] of the two schools may differ, suggesting the existence of two different gods” (Walcott 1978, 199). Deities and spirit beings are referred to variously as deva or deviyo (god), devata (godling), bandara (lord), and _yaka or yakku (malevolent spirit), suggesting that these categories are not at all clear-cut. For example, in the kankartya, the

important Kohomba deities are sometimes referred to as deviyo and sometimes as yakku. As Gombrich points out, the term_yaka is very ambiguous (1971, 161), and in the Kandyan region it is often interchangeable with the terms deva (god) and devata (godling or lesser god).® Several of the kankariya deities are re-

ferred to as bandara. In general the bandara deities are humans that have been deified after death (Obeyesekere 1984, 287). In the late nineteenth century Archibald Lawrie named “Waltyaku-dewtyo” and “Wedtiyaku-dewtyo” on a list of the ‘Twelve Gods worshiped at a temple (Aovila) in the village of Ramboda (1896, 759). Here the terms yakku and deviyo are combined to refer to the same deity.?

As a general rule, however, the term yaka refers to the less powerful, relatively less virtuous beings, while deviyo refers to more powerful, relatively more virtuous beings. Gombrich notes in this regard that in general the term _yaka 1mples “at least potential sinfulness” (1971, 161). his contrasts with the virtuous higher or “big” gods, such as Sakra and Vishnu, who dwell in heavenly realms and who would never be referred to as yakas. According to ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, the most important deities propitiated in the kankariya are the three Kohomba gods (New Kohomba, Old Kohomba, and Great Kohomba), the Valiyak, Irugal Bandara, and Kande Bandara. ‘The images of the Kohomba gods in the main altar ( yahana) and the verses about the Kohomba deities make clear that they are deified humans. ‘The god Viramunda and the malevolent yaka Kadavera are also important spirit beings propitiated in the kankartya.!9 A key indicator of a deity’s nature and status 1s the type of offerings given to him or her. In the kankartya, pure items such as fruit, cloth, and incense are given to the higher deities, while less pure items such as

30 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual fried foods, alcohol, and ganja (marijuana) are offered to those of lesser stature. The scores of deities propitiated in the kankartya are all male, with the exception of Sriya Kantava, the earth goddess, and the goddess Pattini, whose role in the ritual 1s minor.

The Origin Myth of the Kohomba Kankariya ‘The Kohomba kankartya is considered a reenactment of a ritual performed to heal one of Lanka’s first kings, Panduvas, of afflictions he suffered because of the curse of the demon-princess Kuveni. ‘The healing of Panduvas, accomplished by King Malaya of India with a host of assistants, was performed to save not only the king but also, following the logic of divine kingship, the country. Key sections of the myth are well known to most contemporary Sinhala

speakers, as it incorporates the Vijaya Kuveni origin myth of the Sinhalas. The Vijaya myth is “the foundational myth for Sri Lankan history” and “an inescapable part of the historical consciousness of the Sinhalas” (Obeyesekere 2006, 138). Although the Vyaya Kuveni story is described in the well-known Buddhist chronicles the Dipavamsa and the Mahavamsa (fifth century CE), the healing of Panduvas by Malaya 1s not found in written records until the fifteenth century, from which 1s dated the Lament of Kuveni (Kuveni Asna).!! In the kankariya the myth of Malaya is recited or sung in the Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava), the Lament of Kuveni (Kuveni Asna), and the Five Stories (Kata Paha), particularly the Story of King Vyaya (Vyaya Raja Katava). ‘There are many variations to the story. In contemporary rituals the mul yakdessa often gives a summary of the important features of the myth to the audience prior to the start of the evening ceremony. Although I found most Sinhalas in the Kandy area familiar with general features of the myth, the introduction by the mul yakdessa makes explicit the lLnk between the myth and the ritual. ‘Vhis relationship 1s twofold. First, the Kohomba kankariya itself 1s a reenactment of the original healing ritual, which is performed as the resolution of the crisis in the story. Second, the myth provides the backdrop for much, though not all, of what goes on in the various ritual acts. SINHABAHU AND THE ARRIVAL OF VIJAYA IN LANKA

In India the rebellious daughter of the king of Vanga (Bengal, in North India) leaves her home and joins a traveling caravan. ‘he caravan 1s attacked by a hon (senha), and the princess, instead of fleeing, follows the lion and is taken by

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 31 him to his cave. From this union two children are born: Sinhabahu, a son, and Sinhavalli (also known as Sinhasivali), a daughter. When Sinhabahu reaches the age of sixteen, he leaves the cave of his father and, taking his mother and sister on his back, goes to the capital city. The hon father, grieving the loss of his

children, begins to look for them in various towns, causing terror among the townspeople. ‘The king offers a reward to anyone who will kill the lion father. Sinhabahu then goes to his father’s cave and kills him. As a reward the king builds Sinhabahu a city, and he is married to his sister. Soon afterward a son, Vyaya (Victory), 1s born to the royal couple. Vijaya is a terror; he “beats, breaks and kills, breaks fences, uproots plants, kills children and animals, has evil thoughts, 1s full of wickedness and disobeys

the King; because he harms them the people wonder if Vijaya 1s death itself” (Vyaya Raja hatava in Walcott 1978, 449).'* Because of Vijaya’s deeds, Sinhabahu desires to kill him. Convinced by his ministers that this is ill considered, however, King Sinhabahu compromises and agrees to deport him. Vijaya 1s banished from his homeland and sent afloat with seven hundred men in a ship. He lands on the shores of Lanka on the same day that the Buddha passes into final nzvana (in the fifth century BCE).!° VIJAYA AND KUVENI

In Lanka, Vyaya’s seven hundred men are captured by an indigenous demoness ( yakkinz), Kuveni. Going in search of his men, Vyaya arrives to find Kuveni in the guise of a beautiful young maiden. Attracted by her charms, Vijaya sleeps with Kuveni and takes her as his wife. From this union two children are

born. One night while sleeping, Kuveni and Vyaya hear a loud noise: the sounds of a wedding of yakas, Kuvent’s people. ‘he wedding party 1s feasting, drinking, dancing, and singing. When Kuvenz1 tells Vaya that the wedding is the source of the noise, he says, “We are humans; you are yakas. We cannot live together.” He tells her that tomorrow he will leave the city. But IKtuveni says there is no reason to fear yakas, and she, with Vyaya’s soldiers, helps destroy them,

killing all of the yaka commanders. However, some of the yakas, including three of Kuvent’s uncles (her mother’s brothers), escape. After some years, Vyaya’s ministers call upon him to banish Kuveni in favor of a princess from India. In their view Kuveni, not being of proper royal caste (Asatrzya), 1s unsuitable for Viyaya, who wants to be consecrated as king. In order to remedy this, a princess from the South Indian city of Madurai is brought to

Lanka. Vaya abandons Kuveni and their children and marries the princess from Madurai.

OZ Kohomba kankariya as Village Ritual THE REVENGE OF KUVENI

Hurt and enraged by her abandonment, Kuveni takes the form of a leopard (dwiya) and at night goes to Vyaya’s palace. Unable to enter, Kuveni transforms her tongue into a diamond and penetrates the gates of the palace. A watchful cuard sees her and cuts off her diamond tongue, placing it in a covered bowl. He takes the bowl to Vijaya and opens it, upon which Kuveni transforms herself back into a leopard. Vyaya, gripped by fear, suffers numerous illnesses.

In another version of the story Kuveni leaves for the jungle after Vijaya deserts her. However, enraged, she returns to his palace, and during the third watch of the night she pierces seven forts, seven stone doors, and seven iron doors with her “glass tongue.” After she penetrates all of these, her tongue falls off, spewing blood, and is captured in a gold receptacle, which is then covered. Tissa, one of Vyaya’s ministers, takes the receptacle to the king and removes

the cover. From the piece of tongue a leopard is created.'* The leopard pounces on the king, causing him to become frightened, and then disappears (Vyaya Raa Katava in Walcott 1978, 616).!°

DEATH OF VIJAYA AND THE COMING OF PANDUVAS

According to the version of the Vyaya Raa hatava recorded by Walcott, after the

leopard leaves, the curse of Kuveni comes upon Vijaya, and he suffers from thirty-two major diseases that result in his eventual death.!® Soon after Vijaya’s death his brother’s son, Panduvas, 1s brought from India to rule Lanka. AFFLICTIONS OF PANDUVAS

As soon as Panduvas 1s made king of Lanka he begins to have frightful dreams of Kuveni in her form as a leopard. As a result, he suffers the effects of many illnesses.'’ Seeing Panduvas in great distress, Sakra, the protector god of Lanka, becomes concerned, fearing the death of the king. He searches 1n vain throughout Lanka for someone pure who has the power to cure Panduvas. Sakra then learns of King Malaya, pure-born of a lily (mane(), living in India.!° Calling an assembly of the gods, Sakra asks who can bring King Malaya to cure Panduvas.

The god Shiva (Isvara), most ancient of the gods, says he can, and to prove his ability before the others he performs a miraculous feat, making his body expand until his head 1s in heaven (Brahma loka) and his foot on a gem beneath the earth.

Upon seeing this feat, Rahu the Asura (demigod) takes the form of a boar and, descending to the lower world, cuts Shiva’s foot. Returning to the assembly,

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 59 Rahu asks Shiva to turn a somersault (bahurz), whereupon blood flows from the

foot Rahu had cut. Having thus demonstrated his cleverness, Rahu 1s given permission to assume the guise of a boar in order to trick King Malaya into coming to Lanka.!9

Rauvu Brines Kino MAtaya To LANKA Rahu thus disguised goes to India to the gardens of King Malaya, situated in the mountains. ‘here he spends seven days uprooting trees and destroying the kine’s garden completely. Upon seeing the vast destruction of the garden, a guard runs to inform King Malaya. After much persuasion the king goes to the

garden. Rahu, intent on bringing Malaya to Lanka, deliberately charges through Malaya’s fortress. Malaya vainly attempts to strike the boar, who then steps on the king’s bow and leaps over his head. Running through the town, passing the palace buildings and streets, Rahu jumps the seven seas and lands in Lanka. With King Malaya and his retinue in pursuit, the boar runs from the

northern tip of Lanka through Jaffna, the northern jungle (vanni), and the towns of the north and central regions. ‘Uhe boar leaps over the Mahaveli River

and comes to the forest park in the mountain range of Hantana (near the present-day city of Kandy). There he is struck by Malaya’s golden sword and instantly turns to stone.?" THe Gops REQuEsT MALAYA TO GuURE PANDUVAS

Then the principal god, Sakra, accompanied by the assembly of gods, informs King Malaya that he has been brought to Lanka in order to cure King Panduvas of the afflictions caused by Kuveni’s curse. In response, King Malaya smiles (or laughs) and says that in order for the cure to be accomplished sixty-five rituals (or a ritual of sixty-five parts) must be performed in a suitable place. Considering Hantana to be unfit, Malaya selects the Maha Mevuna, the gardens in the city of Anuradhapura, as the site for the ritual(s).*! THE HEALING OF PANDUVAS

The healing of Panduvas is recounted in some detail in the ritual texts of the kankariya as well as in a number of well-known literary texts, and there are several versions and interpretations of precisely how the healing was accomplished. ‘Texts of the kankartya describe how sixty-four rituals were performed in an attempt to heal Panduvas, but it was only when the sixty-fifth and final ritual was performed that he was cured. Most texts and ritualists concur that the

34 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual final ritual healing was performed by King Malaya (or a surrogate) with the aid

of Brahmins from India. However, the specifics of the ritual and who performed it vary.

In one version, King Malaya summons Brahmins from Madurai in South India to help perform rituals.** Panduvas is seated on a gold hon throne, and several ceremonies are performed for his cure, each lasting seven days. ‘These include the ceremonies of the sacred horse, the Vali yakas, the Vadi yakas, the jasmine flowers, the betel leaf offering, and the Kohomba yakas. ‘The last ritual takes place when four Brahmins perform, one dressed as a leopard, one as a deer, a third with the auspicious drum, and the fourth with half of the ornaments of King Malaya. ‘The leopard chases the deer, and the deer chases the leopard. Ritual “dramas and mimes” are performed, and King Panduvas, “who was doomed to die in twelve hours|,] was given a new lease of life for twelve years’ (Gunawardhana 1977, 68 69). According to my consultants, Panduvas’s cure was effected when he laughed at these dramas. The importance of humor and laughter 1s a prominent theme in many Sinhala Buddhist village rituals. Most major rituals emphasize humor, games, and play, and playfulness is intrinsically valued as producing happiness.*? On one occasion, when I asked yakdessa S$. M. R. Makehelvela why he performed a certain dance sequence in a humorous way, he replied that the deities enjoy such playful acts, noting that ritual games such as the horn game (ankeltya) and water sports (dzya keliya) were done for the deities, and they were also enjoyed by

the Sinhala kings. Gommenting on the importance of the comic dramas in the kankartya, ‘littapajjala Suramba told me that the dramas were important because “they make people happy and laugh.” Indeed, Suramba stressed that “the most important thing for a person, more than food and medicine, 1s happiness | pretzya] and humor [/assaya].”

Along with the importance of humor, the healing of Panduvas also reflects conceptions of health and illness that are based in traditional Sinhala medical practice. Central among these 1s the Buddhist notion that conditions of the mind are integrally connected to conditions of the body and that illnesses caused by negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger can be overcome by positive emotions of joy and happiness. In the ritual accounts of the healing of Panduvas it is quite clear that bodily illnesses are seen as symptoms of an underlying emotional imbalance caused by the fear brought on by the curse of Kuven1. MALAYA ENTRUSTS THE HEALING RITUALS TO LOCAL DEITIES

Following the curing of Panduvas, King Malaya returns to the mountains of Hantana. Not desiring to return to Lanka again, he calls a conference of the

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 35 deities and entrusts to them the authority (varan) to conduct several types of rit-

ual. Prominent among those appointed are Irugal Bandara, Kande Bandara, and the three Kohomba gods (New Kohomba, Old Kohomba, and Great Kohomba), along with several other Bandaras and the five Viramunda gods. ‘The malevolent spirit Kadavera is granted permission to take sixty-four types of yaka offerings at three times of the day. Numerous other deities are also mentioned, including the great guru and the small guru, nine Meleyi gods, and thirty-six Vadiyak gods. All of these deities and spirit beings are propitiated in the traditional Kohomba kankartya.

Dance in the Kankariya Dancing 1s so central to the kankartya that yakdessas who also recite texts, sing, and perform dramas in the ritual—typically speak of their performance as “dancing a kankariya” (kankariyak natanava). ‘Vhe success of a kankartya 1s

judged largely by the aesthetic quality of the performances of the dancers as well as the drummers. Since the goal of a kankariya 1s to please the gods and the human audience, performers strive to dance beautifully (/assanata). ‘Vhe best

dancers and drummers are highly prized, and their reputations are widely known throughout the Kandyan region. The character of kankariya dances 1s regal and heroic, a characterization that is heightened by the splendor of the elaborate ves costume, said to be composed of half of the ornaments of the healer-king Malaya. ‘The performer’s identity as heir to the healing powers of King Malaya 1s critical to the aesthetic qualities of nobility, dignity, and majesty valued in a performer. ‘The proud and stately bearing of a king 1s made manifest 1n the erect carriage of the body, the upturned position of the head, and the downward gaze of the dancer. Performers refer to the kankariya dances as tandava dances. Tandava and lasya are terms used by dancers throughout South Asia to characterize two distinct styles of dancing (Vatsyayan 1967, 232). Dances performed in the tandava style are vigorous, bold, and heroic, while dances performed in the lasya style are graceful, gentle, and tender. In general, dancers in contemporary Sri Lanka equate tandava with “masculine” and lasya with “feminine,” and among stage performers it 1s widely assumed that men should dance in the tandava style and women in the lasya style (see chapter 7). However, some yakdessas told me that while most of the dances in the kankariya are performed in the tandava style, there are a few, such as the Betel Leaf Offering Dance (Bulat Padaya), that are performed in the lasya style.?# Kkankartya dancers are also singers, and traditionally the art of singing was

highly valued by ritualists. Indeed, 1t would more accurately characterize the

36 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual kankariya performers to call them singer-dancers, since traditionally singing was valued as much as dancing and is deeply connected with it. The aesthetic skills of dancers are evaluated critically both by their peers and by the audience. Good dancers are strong and energetic and demonstrate precision in their movements and a superb sense of rhythm. The best performers have great charisma and bring a presence to the dance that others lack. Tittapajjala Suramba, even in his seventies, was a charismatic performer whose vitality and precision commanded attention, even when he was performing the most subtle of dances. When I showed dancers videos of Suramba’s performances, they would always comment on his elegant and regal bearing. However, while beauty in dance 1s valued, it 1s not always the case that the mul yakdessa is the best dancer in his group. Not every mul yakdessa 1s charismatic or even especially gifted as a dancer. Since the role of mul yakdessa demands so much, it is sufficient if the mul yakdessa is a competent performer. KANKARIYA AND SOUTH INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE

Kankariya dances bear a family resemblance to the South Indian classical dance traditions of bharata natyam and kathakah, but the precise historical rela-

tions between the forms are difficult to discern. ‘Vhroughout its history, Sri Lanka has had close ties to dynasties in South India, and Sri Lankan royal famies often intermarried with South Indian families of perceived equal status. The kingdoms of Sri Lanka were thus frequently subject to cultural influences from South India, but how these influences were adapted and transformed in the Lankan context is largely a matter of speculation. While the kankariya dances have obvious affinities with the dances of South India, they are unique, having developed within the cultural milieu of Kandyan folk religion. Kankariya dances are classified by dancers as nrtta, or “pure dance.”*° In the system of aesthetics codified in the Sanskrit dance and drama treatise, the Natyasastra (200 BCE 200 CE), there are three types of dance: natya, dramatic dance with expression and narrative; nrtya, dance with expression or mime; and nrtta, pure or abstract dance. Bharata natyam and kathakali performances incorporate all three of these dance types and employ a complex system of gestures. By contrast, the kankariya dances are almost exclusively nrtta, with only a few dances incorporating elements of mimetic gesture or expression. For the dances of Sri Lanka, there 1s no written aesthetic treatise on dance and drama similar to the Indian classical texts of the Natyasastra or The Mirror of Gesture (Abhinaya Darpana) (Makulloluwa 1976, 1), although dancers told me

that a comprehensive document about Sinhala dance once existed. ‘The evidence for the existence of a system of dance in Sri Lanka thus must be derived

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 37 from other sources: historical chronicles, stone sculptures, wood carvings, Ivory carvings, bronzes, temple paintings, literature and poetry, land tenure records, and the palm leaf manuscripts possessed by various dance lineages (natum paramparavas).

Most of these sources (the land tenure records and palm leaf manuscripts are exceptions) relate to female dancers. At various periods 1n its history there has been in Sri Lanka a tradition of female temple dancers similar to the devadasis of South India.*° ‘The dances they performed are described vividly in the sandesa (message) poems of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and it 1s evident from these descriptions that the dances include abhinaya, or emotional expression. ‘Vhe Mayura (peacock) Sandesaya explicitly refers to abhinaya, while the

Parevi (dove) Sandesaya mentions the movements of the dancers’ heads, eyebrows, eyes, fingers, and hands (Raghavan 1967, 38, 37).2’/ The sandesa poets also appear to be quite familiar with the Natyasastra, and references to the sage Bharata, the author of the Natyasastra, abound (Raghavan 1967, 35).

The dances of the female temple dancers are referred to today as digge natum, or dances of the digge. ‘The digge is a spacious, open hall situated in front of the main sanctuary of major deity shrines (devalayas). ‘The dances of the digge were performed as an obligatory service by Sinhala women of a subcaste of the govzgama (cultivator) caste.*® Although the dances had largely died out by the end of the nineteenth century, they continued at a few temples into the mid-twentieth century and at one temple, Soragune, to as late as the 1970s. By the 1980s the dances were no longer performed. Unfortunately, we do not have similarly detailed literary or poetic descriptions of male dancers, and there are few images of male dancers in the archaeological record. Lacking these sources, then, tracing the connections between the kankartya dances and the Indian classical forms thus must be done largely in terms of the aesthetic forms and principles of the dance. And here it is unde-

niable that many of the body positions, movements, and principles of kankartya dance are informed by many of the same principles as Indian classical dance as described in the Natyasastra.*? In my discussion below I will mention some of these connections.

Music oF THE KANKARIYA

Singing May you live as long as an eon [hapa] May you live as long as the sun and moon exist May you live as long as the sky and earth exist May you live even beyond this econ

38 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual Worship with bent head Worship with bent knee Worship by listening

With these lines, addressed to the gods of the kankariya, the yakdessas begin the chanted recitation and singing of the Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava), the most elaborate song-poem in the ritual.%° The singing-recitation of the complete invocation, which recounts the story of Viyaya, Kuveni, Panduvas, and King Malaya, is one of the longest in the ritual, taking up to about an hour and a half to perform. Other songs and prose recitations vary from a few minutes to more than an hour. Because the kankartya today is a condensed version of a ceremony that was earlier performed over the course of several days, the entire repertoire of kankariya songs cannot be performed, and the mul yakdessa is given considerable latitude in determining the length of each segment. In many ritual acts a few verses stand for the whole. Singing and chanted prose recitation in the kankartya is demanding. Yakdessas must memorize hundreds of verses, and the singing in the kankartya cumulatively adds up to several hours. ‘he energy and concentration the singing requires, especially considering the vigorous dances that the yakdessas also perform, is extraordinary. As Ronald Walcott notes in his comprehensive ethnomusicological study, singing in the kankartya 1s “a highly developed and difhCultart’ (1676,21).>" Singing 1s not done in a rote or routine fashion but with emotion, emphasis,

and precision. As Walcott notes, while they are singing, “the performers think primarily of the words, the weight of syllable and poetic meter of the lines. Their flow and beauty are enhanced with appropriate rhythms, melody and movement, whereby the impact of their meaning is heightened” (1978, 48). The mul yakdessa bears the greatest burden in singing, as he is expected to sing and to lead the singing of all of the major chants and songs. Yakdessas position themselves in a variety of spatial formations as they sing. Often, the performers stand in two lines, facing each other, using stylized hand and arm movements and gestures to emphasize particular notes or syllables, frequently gesturing toward the gods in the altars. ‘These linear patterns are often interspersed with stylized walking up and down the length of the maduva. ‘The yakdessas also sing or recite while facing the altars, their hands in the worship, or namaskara, position. Some songs are accompanied by drumming, and some are not. The song texts consist of the many episodes related to the Vyaya-Kuveni myth and stories of the various gods propitiated in the ritual. ‘he songs performed for Kohomba and the other gods tell of their origins, their powers, and their territories. he ritual texts of the kankartya were traditionally recorded in

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual og) palm leaf manuscripts, which were jealously guarded by kankartya families. Some of the texts, in Sinhala, are now available in published form. Walcott’s study (1978) contains the most extensive English translations.

Due to the lack of qualified performers, the art of kankartya singing was dying out even by the 1950s (Molamure 1956, 32). In the 1980s only two yakdessas, S. M. R. Makehelvala and ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, were recognized as masters of kankariya song and prose recitation. It was the singing of these two masters, recorded in the 1970s by the Research Unit of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, that became the basis for the translations presented in Walcott’s thesis. In kankartyas today, especially those sponsored by the state as cultural performances, dancers perform highly abbreviated versions of the songs, and the proportion of singing to dancing has shifted dramatically in favor of dancing,

“Ayubovan, ayubovan, ayubovan.” At the end of most ritual acts in the kankartya, dancers chant the word “ayubovan” three times. “Ayubovan” means “may you live long” and encapsulates the life-giving and life-extending purpose of the ritual. ‘The yakdessas’ singing of this phrase echoes as a refrain throughout the kankartya.

Drumming Drumming 1s the traditional music of village Sri Lanka, performed in deity shrines and Buddhist temples and at a variety of village and family ceremonies. All Sinhala dances are performed to drums, which vary by region. ‘The kankariya dances are performed to the resonant sounds of the powerful Kandyan gata beraya, a double-headed, wooden barrel drum worn around the waist.°? Drummers are typically accompanied by a cymbal player who keeps time with talampota, small hand cymbals. The four basic drum syllables — tat, jit, ton, nam have sacred significance: tat 1s a salutation to the Buddha; jit, to the gods; ton, to the guru; and nam, to the audience (Raghavan 1967, 73). Uhe specific rhythmic patterns or phrases known as bera pada or bera matra are developed from these syllables.

The relationship between drumming and dancing 1s very close, and the dancers’ movements are often synchronized with the drum rhythms. One way to characterize the relationship 1s to view the dancers’ movements as a visual representation of the drum strokes.°* While this is true in general, there are also times when the dancers are not entirely in synch with the drummers, choosing to dance “inside” or “outside” the drum patterns. Dancers also perform a variety of movements to the same padaya; there 1s not a one-to-one correlation between drum strokes and dance movements.

Drum rhythms are recited by the drummers in series of onomatopoetic syllables such as “ta kun da ga jin.” The precise syllables they use are selected from a small set and can vary from one drummer to another, but all drummers

40) Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual and dancers can recognize the tones. An example of a simple drum rhythm recited in syllables 1s “jin ga ta go go” or “don don jin jin gat jin.” Syllables such as kun, don, and go, with vowels uw or 0, have a “darker” or lower sound; syllables such as ta, kede, gata, and tari, with vowels a, e, or 2, have a “brighter” or higher sound; and jin, jit, and nan have the highest sounds ( Jayaweera 2004, 60). The close relationship between kankariya drumming and dancing 1s evi-

denced by the fact that almost all of the drum patterns in the kankartya are named after the dance sequences for which they are played (Kulatillake 1976, 34). Lhe kankartya in fact 1s considered the repository of Kandyan drumming: Sri Lankan ethnomusicologist C. D. 8. Kulatillake has stated that the kankariya “exhibits the full repertory of drum music meant for the Geta-bera” (1976, 27). The relationship between a dancer and his drummer is extremely close. ‘There are always an equal number of drummers and dancers at a kankariya, and they are typically invited in pairs. Mul yakdessas and senior dancers perform with drummers they have known for years, and even younger dancers often bring their own drummers. ‘The importance of having a close relationship with a drummer is made clear when a dancer 1s unable to perform with his favorite drummer. ‘he lack of coordination between the dancer and drummer is obvious and leads to difficulties and frustration for both performers. Drummers are highly respected as ritualists and performers and in addition to performing in the drumming and dance segments of the ritual may also perform as actors in the comic dramas and join in or even lead the recitation of verses.

VES COSTUME AND NAIYADI COSTUME

King Malaya is described in the verses of the kankariya as one “who 1s like the crescent moon, adorned in full golden flowing attire, the crest of the sun on his head.” + ‘This image captures the splendor of the dancer when dressed in the full ves costume. Dancers consider the ornaments worn by the yakdessa to be half of the sixty-four royal ornaments (susata abarana) worn by the healer-king Malaya. A detailed description of the king’s sixty-four ornaments 1s given in the Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava).°° Although King Malaya’s ornaments are gold, Suramba told me that the dancers wear silver because only kings are permitted to wear gold.°°

The most prized and ritually powerful element of the ves costume is the headdress, the ves tattuva. Although traditionally yakdessas stored their ves tattu-

vas and other ornaments in a deity shrine (devalaya), in the 1980s most of the older generation dancers I knew kept their ves tattuvas at home, stored in a special woven cane box (ves pettiya). ‘he ves tattuva is considered so sacred and

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 41 powerful that 1t is employed in one healing ritual, the panduru venkirima, as the central object of worship on the altar. Dancers, especially older dancers, prize their ves tattuvas, and some families retain possession of those of their ancestors. [ittapajjala Suramba told me he honored his ves tattuva each day by lighting incense for it. The ves tattuva consists of several elements. ‘The most sacred 1s the jatava, a lacquered wooden crown-piece in the shape of a dagoba, or Buddhist reliquary. The jatava is covered by seven silver spikes ( payim pota), said to represent flames.

From the jatava hangs a long cloth streamer embroidered in black, red, and white (jata rala or jata patiya). ‘Vhe front of the headdress consists of a large semi-

circular tiara (stkhabandanaya) composed of silver-plated ornamental wood pieces from which hang bo leaves. ‘Uhe sikhabandanaya 1s kept in place by a bow-shaped silver ornament also fringed with bo leaves (nettimalaya). ‘Two large mango-shaped earpieces (todupat) cover the ears.

The dancer’s shoulders are adorned with glittering silver cobra-hoodshaped silver pieces (wrabahu), and on his arms he wears three sets of sparkling silver bangles (band valalu), six on each arm. Around his neck the dancer wears a beautifully woven bead neckpiece (Aarapatiya). On his wrists are butterflyshaped silver-plated wood ornaments (Kazmetta). On his upper body the dancer wears a striking circular beadwork harness, the avul hara. The avul hara is imbued with power derived from the materials with which it 1s made. ‘Iraditionally, the central disc (petta) in the avul hara was made from ivory cut from an elephant’s tusk, while the other discs were made from buffalo horn or the scales of a pangolin (caballava), an animal renowned

for its ability to suffocate an elephant by constricting its trunk. ‘he avul hara extends over the dancer’s shoulders and sides and adorns his back with strands of beads. On his lower body the dancer wears several cloths, collectively known as hangala. Vhe longest 1s the ul udaya, a white cloth that drapes to the ankles. Over this he wears tightly pleated white cloths (devalla) that come to his knees. A red cummerbund 1s wrapped tightly around his waist. On his waist and hips the dancer wears a thin cloth ( potpota) that is pleated to form layers of frills (neriya). A wide silver-studded belt (bubulu pattya) 1s worn around the waist, from which drapes an elongated triangular red cloth, decorated with silver bosses, in the shape of an elephant’s trunk (¢nahadaya). ‘Vhe color red, as befits the ritual, signifies fertility and vitality. On his feet the dancer wears heavy shot-filled silver anklets (se/ambu). Each of the ornaments in the costume is related to the Buddha, the gods, or the planetary deities. Buddhist elements, for instance, are present in the jatava,

which 1s shaped like a Buddhist reliquary, and in the tiny silver bo leaves of the headdress, symbolic of the bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained

42 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual enlightenment. ‘he long streamer that hangs from the headdress 1s said to represent the river Ganges flowing from the head of the god Shiva, and the mangoshaped earpieces represent the goddess Pattin1. ‘he sun 1s represented by the silver spikes in the sikhabandanaya and in the circular design of the beaded chest ornament. Crescent moons hang from the lower part of the earpieces. Traditionally, dancers were not permitted to wear the full ves costume until they had completed several years of training and had undergone the ceremony of the dancer’s initiation, known as ves bandima, or tying of the ves. ‘Vhe ceremony was considered the most important event in the life of a yakdessa. As the ceremony 1s quite lengthy, and a full description 1s available elsewhere (Molamure 1958), I highhe¢ht here just a few of 1ts main features.°/

‘Typically, pupils were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five when they underwent the initiation, which took place in a deity shrine (devalaya) or a Buddhist temple (wharaya). After some preliminary acts during which monks chant protective verses and drummers play the auspicious drums, the student and the teacher are secluded behind closed doors. At an auspicious time the guru places the jatava on the student’s head and ties it down with straps of dark linen. ‘Vhe rest of the headdress 1s then secured, and the pupil 1s covered in a white cloth and led outside by his teacher to some temporary altars. He gazes into a bowl to see his reflection and washes his face. He then gazes at a lactiferous tree, and the teacher removes the white covering. ‘he student then returns to the altars to worship while the teacher recites auspicious verses and invocations to the gods. Afterward the student greets his teacher and his parents and relatives, who give him gifts, which are handed over to the teacher. ‘The student then briefly performs some dance steps in homage to the gods with fellow pupils and yakdessas, after which the ceremony concludes. Prior to his initiation a yakdessa-in-training would perform in the kankartya wearing the nazyadi (also called nazyand:) costume.*® Instead of the ves tattuva, the naiyadi dancer wears a white cloth turban (wramale), and the voluminous cloths of the lower ves garment are replaced with a simpler three-tiered garment of white cloth with red edging (ralz manta) (Raghavan 1967, 76). The other ornaments are similar to those worn by the initiated ves dancer, including the beaded neck ornament, beaded chest ornament, shoulder plates, arm bangles, and anklets. FUNDAMENTALS OF KANKARIYA DANCE

Mandiya The basic position of the kankariya dancer, from which all dances begin, 1s known as mandiya.°*? In the manditya position the dancer’s feet are placed about

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44 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual shoulder width apart with the knees turned out. ‘he arms are held at shoulder height, with elbows bent at a little more than a 90 degree angle. ‘he hands are held with the four fingers together and the thumb outstretched, while the head is tilted shghtly upward. ‘The body of the dancer in mandliya 1s thus composed of aseries of right or near-right angles at the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows. Dancers are expected to maintain a semblance of the mandiya at all times, even during the most acrobatic jumps and spins. On one occasion, in our dance class, Peter Surasena described to us how to envision the mandtya position. He told us to imagine two circles composed by our limbs. One circle was on a horizontal plane made by our outstretched arms and hands. ‘Vhe other was a circle on a vertical plane formed by our foot and leg positions. [he image of these circles shows that while the mandtya 1s composed of angles, these are soft angles, which should not be held rigidly but gently. If there is too much tension, the dancer will appear stiff and strained. If there is too little tension, the dancer will appear lax and enervated.

Exercises ‘Training in kankariya dance 1s formal and systematic, with established sequences of exercises, basic and elaborated dance movements, and highly structured patterning and choreography. ‘Vhese techniques were passed down from generation to generation through the dance lineages (paramparavas) as students trained in the classic guru sesya (teacher student) style found throughout South Asia (see chapter 2). Although there 1s variation between the different lineages regarding specific exercises or movements, the basic structure of the training is the same. ‘Iraditionally, a student studied for six to ten years in order to become proficient in kankariya dancing. Dance training begins with the dandzyama (bar) sarambayas (exercises), nowadays more commonly referred to as the pa (foot) sarambayas. ‘Vhese twelve exercises were traditionally performed with students holding onto the dandiyama, a

long bamboo pole, placed about waist high. The dandityama enabled beginning students to hold a deep mandrtya position more easily than they could without it. When a student performs the pa sarambayas without the dandiyama, as is common today, he places his hands on his waist.

The pa sarambayas begin with simple steps danced to a rhythm such as “tei, te, te1, tel” (first exercise) and build to more complex steps performed to rhythms such as “ta tei yat, ta te1 yat, ta tei yat, ta te1” (sixth exercise). ‘he pa sarambayas concentrate on correct posture, footwork, and rhythm. Each exercise 1s performed at three speeds: slow, moderate, and fast. When performed at the higher speeds, even the simplest exercises can be quite strenuous.

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 45 The second set of exercises, called goda (ground) or at (arm) sarambayas, add the arm and hand movements. ‘This requires the coordination of the five parts of the body ( pancha angaya): hands, feet, eyes, head, and body (Kotelawala 1998,

48). The rhythms of the ground exercises are not necessarily more complex than the pa sarambayas (e.g., the rhythms for the second and third exercises are the same in both), but the ground exercises are more demanding physically because they engage the whole body. Each of the twelve ground exercises also has a concluding set of steps known as kastirama (discussed below). ‘The foot and arm exercises are not only intended for dancers in the early stages of training but are also performed regularly by advanced dancers. ‘littapajjala Suramba told me that he often practiced the basic sarambayas. Some of the more complex goda sarambayas and their kastiramas are incorporated into kankartya dances. When I asked older generation dancers how they learned to perform, they

often answered by reciting a standard phrase, “Daka purudda, aha purudda, kara purudda,” which can be translated as “Learning by seeing, learning by hearing, learning by doing.” ‘The Sinhala term purudda literally means “practice or habit,” so the phrase conveys a sense of learning through repeated or habitual exposure and repetition. Although observing and listening are valued, learning by doing 1s the main technique of dance training. Dancers follow the movements of their teachers in the beginning stages and then are allowed to perform in select parts of the

kankariya. In a kankartya, dancers and drummers are strictly ordered by seniority, with the most senior dancers and drummers at the head of their respective lines.t° As part of their training the young students perform at the end of the line, so they can watch the more advanced dancers and follow their movements.

“Where the Hand Goes .. .” A well-known passage from the Indian aesthetic treatise The Mirror of Gesture (Abhinaya Darpana) poetically describes the interplay of voice, eyes, feet, hands, and mind in Indian classical dance: “Having made the invocation . . . the dancing may begin. ‘The song should be sustained in the throat; the mood | bhava] must be shown by the eyes; time [/a/a] 1s marked by the feet. For where the hand goes, the eyes follow; where the eyes go, the mind follows; where the mind goes, the mood follows; where the mood goes, there 1s the flavor [rasa].°*! Although the passage describes an expressive dance with mood (bhava) and refined emotion or flavor (vasa), 1t 1s striking for a comparative analysis of the kankartya, as it also outlines key features of aesthetic principles found in the ritual’s nrtta dances.*?

46 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual “Having made the invocation, . . . the dancing may begin.” Kankariya dances, like the dance described here, are devotional dances performed to please the deities and to consecrate offerings for them. Almost every dance in the kankartya begins with an invocation, calling the gods by their names to be present and singing to and for them. “The song should be sustained in the throat.” As discussed above, singing 1s integral to the kankartya dances, with singing taking place before, during, and at the end of dances. “lime [éa/a] 1s marked by the feet.” ‘Che footwork of the kankartya dancer, described below, provides a percussive rhythm for all dances. “For where the hand goes, the eyes follow.” ‘This is an essential element in all kankariya dances: the dancer follows his hands with his eyes. “Where the eyes go, the mind follows.” ‘This 1s implicit in kankartya dancing, in which the energy and focus of the dancer are on his hand and arm movements even during the most rapid and acrobatic steps. The hand movements of kankariya dancers are a focal point of the dance. The basic hand position 1s with the four fingers together and the thumb extended. ‘Uhis position 1s held softly, not rigidly, and some dancers, such as Mr. Surasena, hold the index finger shghtly above and apart from the others, producing a graceful line. Dancers follow their hands with their eyes as they trace sweeping motions

through the air in shapes of arcs, ovals, and graceful circles. ‘The dancers’ hands should curve from the wrist through the fingertips as they carve patterns in space. In the more staccato and strenuous segments of the dance the hands and arms punctuate the drum rhythms with sharply defined movements performed in rapid succession. ‘The motion of the hands and arms conveys the character of a dance movement, be it somber and meditative, fluid and graceful, or vigorous and explosive. There 1s evidence to suggest that in earlier times some kankariya dances incorporated hastayas, or hand gestures, that had precise meanings. ‘UTheja Gunawardhana includes a ritual act called Hasta Dolaha, or ‘Twelve Hand Gestures, in her description of the kankartya (1977, 35). In my research I did not come across this as a discrete segment of the ritual, but I did observe the twelve hand gestures performed as part of the dance known as Ek ‘Talaya. ‘Tittapayjala Suramba gave me a list of the twelve hastayas from a manuscript 1n his possession. Among the hastayas on the list were the santa (peace), varada (charity), abhaya (fearlessness), bhumi (earth), muhuda (sea), chandra (moon), naga (cobra), and deva (god) hastayas.*°

Although dancers are aware that the kankariya dance tradition included twelve hastayas, they do not perform them, and their significance in the kankariya dances seems to have been lost. Even in the 1950s dance scholar Faubion

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 4/ Bowers found that while dancers performed a few different hand gestures, they did not attribute to them any specific meanings (1956, 95). Photos from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries show dancers performing with hand gestures that are no longer used (e.g., Wendt 1950, 241; Wosien 1974, 108). Why the practice of using varied hand gestures died out 1s a mystery.

Eyes, Gaze, and Expression Nobility and pride are expressed in the movements of the dancer’s eyes and head. ‘he dancer holds his head in a very specific way, tilted slightly back, with his chin raised. His gaze is directed downward. ‘This position conveys an air of confidence and authority. The gaze is a very powerful concept in Sinhala culture as it 1s elsewhere in South Asia.## Although the eyes in kankariya dance do not express a specific mood or emotion, they are nonetheless extremely significant. Indeed, the ways in which I learned how to use my eyes in dance made it very clear that meaning can be conveyed in eye movements in a way that 1s not overtly expressive. During our dance lessons Mr. Surasena would frequently demonstrate the correct gaze and its relation to our hands, reminding us to always keep a proud bearing. The gaze of the dancer 1s a soft gaze, usually focused on the hands, partic-

ularly the hand that is leading. ‘his gaze thus has an internal focus and does not often engage other dancers, except to ensure they are correctly following the dance patterns. ‘To practice our eye and hand coordination, Mr. Surasena would sometimes have us stand in the mandiya position and focus solely on cor-

rect hand and arm movements, practicing how to follow our hands with our eyes. He spent many hours demonstrating and correcting our upper body movements, instilling in us a sense of the force, power, and regal quality of the dance. Kankartya dancers keep the focus of their attention on the activities inside the maduva and do not make direct eye contact with audience members while

performing. ‘The gaze and facial expressions of the dancers subtly convey mood and emotion, but these are highly individual and not mandated by the dance form itself. Some dancers are somber and solemn, while others perform with a sense of fun and abandon. In general, the facial expression of a kankariya dancer should be pleasant but not overtly or intentionally expressive. As a nrtta dance, kankartya dances do not employ any deliberate movements of the eyes, eyebrows, or mouth.

Footwork In the opening phases of the first group dance, the Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma), each dancer raises his right foot and rapidly shakes his heavy, metal anklets, producing a bright, jangling sound that resonates through the

48 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual maduva and beyond. A dancer’s anklets draw attention both to their percussive sounds and to the dancer’s feet. In the kankariya, as in Indian classical dance (as well as Indic religions), feet are very significant, in part because they are the point of contact with the sacred earth.*© Kankartya dances emphasize the intricate footwork of the dancers. ‘The fundamental position of the kankariya dancer, though he makes splendid leaps and full pirouettes in the aur, is rooted in close contact with the earth. Reverence for the earth 1s expressed in the namaskara, the bodily homage the dancer pays to his parents (or audience), teacher, the gods, and the Buddha at the beginning and end of a dance class. In each of the first three parts of the four-part salutation, the dancer, while crouched on his heels, touches the earth three times with his fingertips while reciting the syllabic phrase “tetyat, tetyat, teryat tam.” The basic foot position is one in which the sole of the foot has full contact with the ground. Other foot positions include contact with the heel only, ball only, or the outer edge of the sole. ‘The footwork of the dancers is complex and percussive. With their feet the dancers trace various designs on the ground such as circles, squares, lines, s-shapes, figure eights, and diamond-shaped patterns. ‘The dancer’s feet keep time to the rhythms of the drum, and dancers often perform a particular dance phrase at three different speeds slow, moderate, and fast. It 1s at the fastest speeds that a dancer’s talent in matching the rhythms is most vividly displayed. In the late nmeteenth century, in addition to the hollow anklets, dancers wore leather bands with rows of bells around their lower legs. ‘Vhese belled leggings are depicted in a print of dancers in ves performing at a procession for the Prince of Wales in 1875 (see chapter 3, page 102). By the mid-twentieth century however, dancers appear to have stopped wearing belled leggings, and are depicted wearing only the silver anklets.*/ GENERAL CHARACTER OF GROUP DANCES

The major group dances of the kankartya are lively and energetic displays of virility and power, with the movements demonstrating the strength, endurance, and agility of the performers. In the most energetic phases of the dance, the dancer seeks to attain extreme extension of the body. He employs a wide range of movement within his individual sphere, incorporating high steps, extended arms, and the low and deep base of the mandiya position. In the climactic and improvisatory sections of dances (described below) the kankariya dancer performs a variety of high-speed acrobatic movements. ‘These include leaps while extending the arms as if in flight, pirouettes performed in rapid succession like a spinning top, and airborne spins and whuls.*®

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Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 49

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64 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual Although this sort of performance requires intense concentration, the spirit 1s one of friendly competition, the drummers often acknowledging their own and others’ performances with a smile or nod. ‘Vhe audience now 1s quiet, intent on the performers as they display their skills. After all have taken their turn, the senior drummer resumes his position as leader, and the drummers stand, as earlier, opposite each other in two parallel lines. Concluding the Auspicious Drums, the drummers bow toward the altars.

Dance of Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma) As the drummers walk to the sidelines, the mul yakdessa and the other dancers arrive in the maduva. ‘The entrance of the dancers is dramatic; they present a striking image adorned in their elaborate ves costumes. As they walk, the dancers’ oblong anklets of hollowed silver jingle, while the drummers tune their

drums in preparation for the first major group dance, the Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma).

The dancers and drummers bow and greet each other. ‘The dance begins with the dancers in two parallel lines consisting of an even number of dancers arrayed along the length of the maduva. ‘The drummers line up behind them. The formation of the dance 1s determined by seniority: the mul yakdessa and other senior dancers at the head of the lines, the youngest and least experienced dancers at the opposite ends. Each dancer holds a lamp made out of a hollowed coconut in one hand; in the other he holds a sharpened stick that 1s used to gesture and to stoke the fire in the coconut lamp. Once the dancers assemble in their respective lines the dance begins. The structure of Yak Anuma is the three-phase structure described for major group dances above, in which the dancers perform set patterns together at the beginning and the end, with a middle section consisting of individual display and improvisation. In the first phase, the dancers perform together to invite the deities to the kankartya. ‘They face each other in two lines and perform some dance steps laterally, first to the right, then to the left. After executing a few dance phrases, the dancers pause and bow toward the yahana. The dancers then begin reciting an invocation, naming each deity, and inviting them to the ritual. ‘This part of the dance lasts a few minutes. A lengthier invocation to the deities, the Ayile Yadima, will follow after the Yak Anuma.

Remaining in two lines but oriented slightly toward the yahana, the dancers resume performing some lateral dance steps. A distinctive move in this part of the dance 1s one in which each dancer raises his right foot and shakes his anklet. ‘he sounds of the rattling anklets reverberate throughout the maduva and its surrounds. After this phase the dancers walk to the opposite side of the

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 65 maduva, changing places with those opposite them. ‘his transition 1s marked by the playing of the “journey rhythm,” or gaman matra. While they are in this new formation, the dancers again perform a series of lateral dance movements, then return to their original positions by again walking across the maduva to the beat of the gaman matra. After a few more dance phrases, the mul yakdessa and the senior dancer, who is opposite him, turn to the center of the ritual hall and walk in a stylized manner toward the minor altar (ayile), followed by the other dancers. Once they reach the ayile the two leaders turn to face the yahana and dance toward it, with the others dancing in two columns behind them. As the lead dancers reach a point a few feet from the altar, they again turn and walk back toward the ayile, the other dancers following. ‘This pattern is repeated several times. The next phase of the dance, which can last for several minutes, 1s the 1mprovisation phase. ‘This phase follows the pattern described above, in which each dancer is given an opportunity to demonstrate various alankara matras. After each dancer has had the opportunity to lead, all of the dancers return to the ritual hall, resuming their original positions in the two lines. The final dance phrases are performed, and all bow to the deities in the yahana.

Invocation to the Deities (Ayile Yadima) Ayile Yadima is a recited invocation to the deities. As the senior dancers begin the recitation, the others, including some drummers, join in. ‘The performers recite the names of the main deities the three Kohomba deities, Irugal Bandara, Kande Bandara, the three Valiyak, and the five Viramunda — and invite them to the kankariya. As each one 1s invited, his origins, place of residence, attendants, and powers are described. With these invocations the deities are expected to cast their gaze on the altars as a manifestation of their presence. At around half past eleven the performers take a short break. Some audience members stand and talk while cups of tea are brought to the dancers and drummers. After a few minutes the senior dancer indicates that the next section is about to begin.

The Lament of Kuveni (Kuveni Asna) The Lament of Kuveni (Ktuveni Asna) is the climax of the early evening performance of a Kohomba kankartya, the act that many in the audience have been eagerly anticipating. The Asna is performed around midnight, a time when the wild spirits (yakas) are said to be active. Although the timing of the lament emphasizes Kuvent’s identity as a yaka, the heart-rending words and lyrical dances of the lament do not dwell on her wildness but are rather a poignant and sympathetic expression of her anguish over the loss of her lover, Vijaya.

66 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual According to dancers, the mood of the lament both the song and the dance — is sadness.

In the Kuveni Asna the dancers take on the role of Kuveni, singing her lament as their own. ‘The song of the Kuveni Asna is considered one of the most poetic texts in the ritual, vividly expressing Kuvent’s grief and her subsequent anger by describing how things that once gave pleasure now only bring pain. Kuveni sings that “the petals of fragrant flowers that were spread on the bed prick like thorns,” “the coolness of the sandalwood-scented breezes are now hike fire,’ and “the sounds of the singing birds pierce the ears like spikes.”>? A distinctive feature of the Kuveni Asna 1s that an element of mimesis 1s 1ncorporated into the dance. A ritual helper, clad in an ordinary white cloth and vest, takes part in the dance, holding a long-handled coconut shell lamp (at pandama), representing Vyaya. Throughout most of the dance the helper walks backward, facing the lead dancer. ‘The dancers, as Kuveni, are said to be chasing Viyaya. At a particular point in the latter part of the dance the dancers start to

pursue “Vyaya” with more vigor, attempting to grab the torch as the ritual helper runs very rapidly (and skillfully). Often the torchbearer plays his role with a sense of fun, making silly facial expressions as he is being pursued. ‘The dance 1s performed in a circular pattern, with the dancers in single file. Each dancer 1s paired side by side with his drummer. As in the earlier group dance of the Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma), the dancers carry a coconut shell lamp in one hand and a stick to stoke the lamp’s fire in the other. ‘The

mul yakdessa leads off the line of dancers in a series of graceful and lyrical movements. Singing as they dance, the dancers trace a circle around the borders of the maduva, first clockwise, then counterclockwise and back again, the speed of their movements increasing until the dancers are almost running in pursuit of the torchbearer. ‘he dancers are encouraged in their chase by the audience, who whistle and cheer as the dance reaches a near frenzy of movement and drumming. Finally, the torchbearer 1s “caught,” as a dancer takes hold of the torch. After this climactic point each performer in sequence, as 1n the Invitation to the Deities, takes the lead role and performs elaborations (alankara). ‘The light from the torch functions as a kind of “spotlight” that highlights each dancer as he takes the lead (Makulloluwa 1976, 19). After all have had a chance to show their skills, the dancers come back together and conclude by bowing toward the main altar. ‘The dance of the Lament of Kuveni typically lasts from one to two hours.

When the dance ends at about 1:30 a.m., many of the audience members leave; children are prodded awake and carried home. ‘Those remaining close in and sit bordering the ritual hall on both sides. By now the night air 1s cool, and

many are wrapped in sweaters or blankets. Some of the dancers leave the

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 67 maduva and take a short break. ‘he drummers begin to play, while four of the dancers perform briefly before the small altar. he rhythm 1s a series of three drum patterns for the yakas known as Yaktun Padaya. Although dancers perform, this sequence 1s primarily for the drummers to demonstrate their skills.

Dances of Seven Offerings (Hat Padaya) After the Yaktun Padaya, the mul yakdessa begins the first of a series of solo dances, the Dances of Seven Offerings (Hat Padaya). Usually, dancers perform three or four of the seven: the dances of the betel leaves (bulat), water pot (Kotala), resin incense (dummala), and cloth (salu). ‘Vhe offering dances are per-

formed in an elegant and reverent manner, with the dancer focused intently on the offering he carries and on the altars of the gods. Uhe dancer 1s accompanied by two drummers and a cymbal player. The first dance, the Betel Leaf Offering Dance, 1s performed by the mul yakdessa. ‘The yakdessa holds the betel leaves, which have been draped with a white

cloth, in both hands, his arms outstretched toward the yahana. He begins the slow, measured dance, offering the betel to the deities. He performs simple steps laterally to the right and then to the left, then circles, approaches the altar, turns, and walks back to his original place, dancing in various patterns though always oriented toward the main altar. After a few minutes performing in front of the yahana he bows and recites wishes of “ayubovan.” He then turns and walks toward the opposite end of the maduva. He repeats similar dance steps while facing the ayile, offering the betel leaves to the deities residing there. He then returns to the yahana and, bowing, places the betel leaves in the yahana. Next, another dancer, carrying a clay water pot (Aotala) filled with turmeric water (hahadiya) covered by a white cloth, begins the dance toward the yahana. Like the mul yakdessa, he dances in a reverent, modest fashion, though to a rhythm shehtly different from the first dance. His steps are simple but elegant. Offering the water pot first to the deities of one altar and then to the other, the dancer finishes by placing the pot on the lower shelf of the yahana.

The next dancer, third in seniority, enters the arena carrying a longhandled incense burner (dum kabala) 1n his left hand. In his right he holds pungent crystalline incense (dummala). As he dances, he occasionally tosses the eranular resin into the smoldering coals of the burner, and smoke spirals up-

ward as the fragrance of the incense wafts toward the audience. ‘he dancer performs in the same general patterns as the previous two performers, offering the incense first to the yahana and then to the ayile. He finishes by placing the incense burner in front of the yahana. The fourth dance, the Salu Padaya, 1s performed by a dancer who holds a white cloth in both of his hands. As he dances he makes the ends of the cloth swing around in swirling flourishes. ‘The pattern of movement 1s similar to that

68 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual of the other dances, with the performer offering the cloth first to the yahana and then to the ayile, then placing it on the yahana. Each of the dances lasts about five to seven minutes. By the time they are completed it 1s about 2:00 a.m.

Comic Episode of the Guru (Guruge Malava) Breaking the somewhat meditative ambience created by the offering dances, the next segment of the kankartya 1s a comic drama, Guruge Malava, literally “Garland of the ‘leacher.” One of the dancers plays Andi Guru, a “priest” from South India (Madurasi, or Madras) who speaks with a “Tamil” accent (1.e., the Sinhala parody of one), while another dancer (or drummer) plays the straight mana Sinhala who asks the guru questions.®°? ‘The guru carries an offering of betel, oil cakes (Kavum), areca nut flowers, bananas, and a cooked veg-

etable curry in a clay bowl. He is newly arrived in Sri Lanka, and has gone to pay homage to three of the guardian deities of the island: Kataragama, Pattini, and Vishnu. As the two walk up and down the length of the maduva, they engage in a dialogue about the guru’s arrival in Lanka. ‘The comedy in the dialogue 1s largely created by the mispronunciations of the guru in response to questions asked by the straight man. For example, he calls the revered goddess Pattini pata amma, or “fat mother,” and says he had to obtain valan (pots) instead

of varan (a grant of authority) from the deity. After the guru describes paying homage to the three deities, the Sinhala character tells him that he has been brought to Lanka to perform blessing rituals (set santzya) to banish problems (dos).

The dialogue ends with the guru correctly pronouncing some phrases in Sinhala, indicating that he has been domesticated or “naturalized” and will assist in ridding Lanka of troubles. Guruge Malava can last from fifteen minutes to over an hour, depending on the wishes of the mul yakdessa and the performers.

Kolmura Kavi and Palavala Danaya Kolmura Kavi are verses sung by the yakdessas that recount the birth and exploits of the deities. Following the Kavi, the story of Sita and her son, Malaya, is told in the Palavala Danaya, one of the lengthiest recitation segments of the ritual, often lasting an hour or so. Four or more performers divided into two eroups recite the story, often alternating in the singing of the verses. As they sing, the dancers walk up and down the length of the maduva.

Dance of the Bow (Dunu Malappuva) The next segment, Dunu Malappuva, the Dance of the Bow, is performed in honor of the Vadda deities (vadiyak). ‘The mul yakdessa takes up the bow, which is constructed of wood and string, and covers it with a white cloth. Holding it in

both hands and facing the yahana, the yakdessa dances quietly to a slow

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 69 rhythm played by the chief drummer. ‘The dance is fairly brief, without song, and after a few minutes the dancer places the bow on the main altar, as he recites wishes of “long life.”

Dance of the Arrow (Kol Paduva) Immediately following the Dance of the Bow, the mul yakdessa picks up the arrow to perform the Dance of the Arrow. As in the Dance of the Bow, he 1s accompanied by one drummer; there 1s no singing or cymbal playing. ‘The mood of the dance 1s solemn.

The mul yakdessa dances facing the yahana. He holds the arrow, which 1s about a foot long, upright in his left hand and grasps the two side cloths of his costume (devalla) and spreads them out like a fan. As he holds the arrow and the cloths, the mul yakdessa performs in a very circumscribed space, dancing only a few steps, first to the nght, then to the left. After dancing for a few minutes to the drum, the dancer places the arrow in the yahana. ‘The bow and arrow will

be used later in one of the final acts, the Shooting of the Plantain Flower (Muva Mala Vidima).

Ek Talaya Ek ‘Talaya differs considerably from other dances in the kankariya. Considered a very sacred and majestic dance, it 1s performed only by senior dancers who have learned it from an experienced teacher. In the 1980s and early 1990s ‘Tit-

tapajjala Suramba was the only mul yakdessa qualified to perform it, and he did so rarely. According to Suramba, the dance 1s performed in honor of Vishnu.®? Ek ‘Talaya is performed before dawn, about 4:00. 5:00 a.m. What follows 1s a description of selected parts of the dance.®°

The mul yakdessa and his drummer are the main performers. Due to the power of the dance and the vas that the performers accrue during performance, they are not supposed to look at each other or at others as they perform. ‘The drummer, whose head and shoulders are covered by a white cloth, sits on a chair about a third of the way down the length of the maduva, facing the yahana. He holds his drum on his lap. The mul yakdessa enters the maduva and stands in front of the center of the yahana. He grasps the pleated side cloths of his costume and fans them out. In his left hand he holds upright the large arrow (7 gaha) of Vishnu.°’ While the drummer plays some rhythmic phrases, the yakdessa stands silently for a few

minutes. ‘hen he begins a solemn dance, performing some slight foot movements, before carefully placing the arrow on the altar. ‘The drumming ceases, and the dancer, accompanied by a few other performers, sings several verses, including an invocation to the deities.

70 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual After several minutes of singing, the mul yakdessa again fans out the pleated cloths and then sits on a stool placed a few yards from the yahana. ‘To the beat of the drum he performs the twelve hand gestures (hastayas). In the final segment he takes the arrow from the altar and, holding it with both hands, gestures with it in a circular motion to drum accompaniment. He then stands and places the arrow back on the altar. Again he grasps and fans out the pleated cloths of his costume as he begins to dance. He gracefully gestures with the pleated cloths as he performs dance steps to the right and to the left, shg¢htly crouching and bowing at the conclusion of each dance phrase. His movements are slow, precise, and deliberate. After dancing for several minutes he begins to sing, and others join in. As he sings, the yakdessa keeps time with his feet, and the jangling of his anklets provides a percussive accompaniment to the dance. As the dance comes to an end he names the various gods of the kankartya, recites wishes of “long life,” and bows to the yahana. ‘The dance lasts about thirty minutes.

Avanduma When the Dance of the Arrow (or Ek ‘Talaya, 1f performed) is completed, all of

the dancers assemble for the performance of Avanduma, considered in its complete form to be one of the most complex of the dances. Unlike many of the other group dances, there 1s no singing in Avanduma. In part, the dance represents the chase of the boar (Rahu) by King Malaya and his soldiers. ‘Uhe dance includes some elements of mime. In one segment the dancers squat in two lines facing each other and mime various features of the boar such as his tusks and ears and the size, length, and girth of his body. Another distinctive feature of the dance is that, following the miming section, the dancers stand and join hands in a circle and run clockwise, then counterclockwise. Mul yakdessa S. M. R. Makehelvela told me that the holding of hands and circling together demonstrated the cooperation and unity of the performers.

Ritual of the Vadda (Vaddi Yakkama) The Ritual of the Vadda, or Vaddi Yakkama, is a comic drama in which one of the ritual assistants, playing the role of an indigenous male Vadda, 1s “civilized” by a Sinhala character, usually played by the mul yakdessa or other senior performer. A third person, either a drummer or a dancer, comments and converses with the Sinhala character during the drama. ‘The scene opens with the Vadda being chased by the Sinhala around a mat that is placed in the center of the maduva. After running around the mat several times, the Vadda and the Sinhala sit: the yakdessa on a stool, the Vadda on a log. ‘The yakdessa and the drummer joke about the Vadda, hinting at his uncleanliness.

Kohomba kankariya as Village Ritual 71 The main plot of the drama 1s to depict the purification of the Vadda by the Sinhala: the Sinhala bathes the Vadda, shaves his beard, and cleans his teeth. Following his purification, the Vadda is “fed” a banana by the Sinhala, who stands behind him, forcing it into his mouth. ‘The conversation between the straight man and the Sinhala at this point centers around the Vadda’s mother-in-law, who “feeds” her son-in-law.®® ‘The episode ends with the Sinhala chasing the Vadda around the mat again, and then the performers sing a few verses, concluding with wishes of “long life.” The Vadda is often played

with much comic skill by the ritual helper, and the audience responds with laughter to his exaggerated facial expressions and acts of foolishness.

Offering for Kadavera (Kadavera Pidima) By about 4:30 a.m. the Vaddi Yakkama has come to an end, and two performers enter the arena, one carrying a plantain leaf wrapped into a cone-shaped offering (gotuva) adorned with two lit torches. ‘his offering is for the yaka Ka-

davera. ‘he performers dancers or drummers walk up and down the length of the maduva while singing verses to Kadavera, the fiercest of the wild spirits propitiated in the kankartya. After about fifteen minutes of song, the offering 1s taken outside of the maduva to be given to Kadavera, sometimes at a separate altar.

Dance of the Coconut Flower (Mala Natima) The Dance of the Coconut Flower is a very lively dance performed for the deity Viramunda around dawn (about 5:00 a.m.), as the sky begins to lighten. The large coconut flowers earlier dedicated to Viramunda are taken from the yahana by the yakdessas. Each dancer carries a coconut flower either over his shoulder or held with both hands. Often the largest flower, covered in white cloth, 1s carried by a senior dancer. The dance 1s performed with an even num-

ber of dancers — usually six or eight lined up in two rows facing each other in the center of the maduva. The dance begins with verses for Viramunda, and as the dancers sing they walk up and down the length of the maduva, one line passing through the other. After the dancers finish singing the verses, the pace of the drum rhythm picks up, and gradually the dancers’ movements become more vigorous as they brandish the coconut flowers in the air. ‘The flowers, which were previously closed, begin to open, and the tassels expand outward, as if blossoming. As the pace of the dance increases and the dancers continue to fling the flowers upward, scores of coconut seeds begin to rain into the audience and onto the ground. Eventually, the flowers are fully opened.

72 Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual The Dance of the Coconut Flower is quite energetic, and the dancers perform it with much enthusiasm. A distinctive movement of the flower dance 1s one in which the dancer hops several times first on one foot and then on the other as he advances down the length of the maduva. When the dance comes to a finish, the flowers are placed back in the yahana. Audience members gather up the coconut seeds on the ground, as they are considered propitious. The Dance of the Coconut Flower can last from fifteen to forty-five minutes.

The Ritual of the Boar (Ura Yakkama) Following the Dance of the Coconut Flower, the Ritual of the Boar, a dramatic episode, 1s performed at about 6:30 a.m. ‘The first part of the ritual 1s performed to commemorate King Malaya’s “killing” of Rahu — in his guise as a

boar on Hantana. ‘This segment of the episode includes both dialogue and mime and centers on capturing and killing the boar, represented by a small, surprisingly animate replica made out of plantain bark. ‘The boar, as the focal point of the ritual, 1s placed in the center of the maduva. ‘Two performers, usually the mul yakdessa and one other, play the roles of a South Indian priest and a Sinhala. ‘They discuss how to capture the boar and after several comic attempts shoot it with a bow and arrow and dash it to the ground. The second half of the ritual, the Division of the Boar (Ura Mas Kirima), depicts how, through verse, the boar is divided and given to different members of the village community. In the verbal “act” of giving, satirical and sometimes obscene stories and verses are told about the recipient. ‘The dancers then tell of the value of each person’s contribution to the kankartya. ‘The finest portions of the boar go to the village headman and the next best to the yakdessa, while others are jokingly given other sections: the tail to the dat (ritual for the planetary deities) performer to use as a paintbrush, a leg bone to the toddy tapper to use for a knife handle, and a rib for the weaver to use as a shuttle (Walcott 1978, 669~-71).69

The order in which the boar meat 1s distributed replicates the traditional caste hierarchy of the Kandyan Sinhalas. In the verses, however, the highest castes are depicted quite negatively as lying, greedy, and stingy, while the lowcaste groups are, in general, depicted much more positively. ‘he verses about the yakdessa, for example, define him as a person of considerable power, skill, and knowledge. He, like King Malaya, is a healer who uses his skill to rid the world of sorrows and ill effects. In one of the verses the yakdessa 1s described in the most exalted terms as one who will attain nirvana.

The Ballad of Kohomba (Kohomba Halla) The Kohomba Halla, or Ballad of Kohomba, 1s the last of the group dances. Much of the dance involves the yakdessas reciting the text of the Kohomba

Kohomba Kankariya as Village Ritual 73 Halla, which recounts the birth and story of Kohomba. ‘Uhe text details the suffering of pregnancy, the difficulties of childbirth, and the mourning of the parents when their son at age seven 1s taken by King Malaya. ‘The overwhelming sadness of the mother at the loss of her child 1s poignantly evoked.

The beginning formation of the Kohomba Halla 1s similar to that of the Dance of the Goconut Flower, with six to eight dancers performing. ‘The dancers sing the ballad while stationary or while walking up and down the length of the maduva. Interspersed with the recitation are a variety of dance segments.

After the basic group patterns have been performed, the dancers take turns leading the improvisations. In conclusion all dance together. ‘he Kohomba Halla can last from fifteen minutes to one hour.’”

The Shooting of the Plantain Flower (Muva Mala Vidima) The final ritual act inside the maduva is the Shooting of the Plantain Flower (Muva Mala Vidima), which is performed by the mul yakdessa. As the drummers play a slow rhythm the mul yakdessa takes up the consecrated bow and arrow from the yahana and walks to the ayile. He dances some solemn steps in front of the hanging plantain flower, and after a few minutes he advances toward the flower and carefully marks a spot on it in a precise location. He performs a few more simple dance steps, then “shoots” the flower by plunging the arrow in at the marked spot. He pulls the flower off its stem and with a flick of the wrist tosses 1t off the arrow and over the top of the ayile. He then takes the bow in both hands, recites a verse, breaks the bow, and tosses it over the ayile. In a final gesture he breaks a piece of the ayile, signaling that it is no longer an active abode of the gods and spirits. He then turns to the yahana and recites a last invocation, asking the deities to grant prosperity and long life. ‘Vhe sponsor is then asked to come to the site of the kapa, which 1s uprooted. ‘The mul yakdessa then retires to change for the morning meal, shared by

all of the ritual performers. Young men from the village untie the combs of plantains and the clusters of golden king coconuts from the posts of the maduva and, with the sponsor, distribute the fruit to the audience. ‘The final acts of the kankariya are completed by mid-morning.

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The Devils’ Dance at the Private Perehara before the Prince, handy. From The Graphic 13 (January 8, 1876).

is, of course, theoretically possible that the 1875 perahara was the first event at which dancers wore the ves costume outside the kankartya, the correspondent’s

account, which includes important ethnographic detail, gives no indication that the ves dancers’ presence in a perahara was out of the ordinary. Indeed, the fact that the correspondent describes the dancers as “priests” performing a “solemn religious rite of the highest importance” suggests that this was quite likely a routine ritual obligation. ‘The perahara was described by British observers as a bizarre mix of incongruous elements. For example, 7he Graphic reports that the correspondent of the Standard described the event as “a cross between the Lord Mayor’s Show and the Spanish Procession of the Virgin,” while the 7zmes described it as “the wild-

est mixture of incidents from the Prophete, the Africaine and a nightmare” (The Graphic 1876, 27). It is evident that the perahara served to confirm the un-

civilized character of the Ceylonese, as 1s evident in the descriptions of the dance as “weird and strange,” the music “a deafening clamour,” and the dancers as “the ughest young men” ever seen by one observer. However, the fact that The Graphic correspondent characterized the rehearsal as a “success” suggests that the rite was also viewed 1n some sense as an entertaining spectacle. While the public perahara appears to have been a routine ritual event honoring Vishnu, the private perahara seems to have been arranged exclusively for

A History of Kandyan Dance 103 the prince’s benefit as a show of ceremonial honor. ‘This kind of “out of season” perahara put on expressly as a show for the colonial rulers perhaps set a precedent for others to follow, including the 1935 perahara marking the silver jubilee of George V (De Zoete 1957, 24 25) and the 1954 perahara honoring Queen Elizabeth. In addition to the private perahara, a performance by the Vaddas was also arranged for the prince, apparently as a kind of “ethnographic” exhibition. In The Graphic’s account of the Vadda performance, the notion that dance could serve as an index of barbarism and racial inferiority 1s made much more explicit than in the description of the perahara, which appeared to evoke mixed feelings of admiration and repulsion. ‘he Vaddas, in contrast, are seen as “a strange race” at the farthest end of the civilizational scale: “A tribe of the wild men or Veddahs exhibited their skill in archery before him, and performed some of their wild dances. ‘Uhis strange race, thought to be the remnants of the aborigines of Ceylon, are but a degree removed from wild beasts. ... We may add, also, that they have shown some signs of becoming more civilised since the island has been in the possession of the English” (The Graphic 1876, 27).® The account of the Prince of Wales’s visit clearly demonstrates that by 1875 the ves dance was employed in Ceylon as a mode of honor, a form of entertain-

ment, and an ethnographic exhibition for foreign dignitaries. While the use of dance as ethnographic exhibit was new, it 1s not clear whether its use to honor and entertain high officials and aristocrats was a radical break from earlier practices or whether it was in some sense the continuation of long-standing traditions. In Ceylon, as elsewhere in the colonized world, the mix of admiration and repulsion evidenced in the varied accounts of dancing was a common reaction of colonials to “native dances” (Reed 1998, 506). ‘The fact that the Ceylonese dancers were males engaged in “religious” activities, however, seems to have lessened the sense of moral repulsion and outrage that one finds in accounts of female dancers of India, for example, who were linked with promisculty and prostitution. Importantly, 1t seems that it was the ves costume that most impressed the viewers, even as they were apparently repulsed by the physical features of the dancers, the unusual styles of the dancing, and the sounds of the drumming.

Hagenbeck’s Singhalese Caravans ‘The mid- to late nineteenth century was an era of exhibitions and world’s fairs in Europe and the United States, and dancers and musicians were featured in displays of exotic peoples from all corners of the globe. Prominent among these spectacles were the “people shows” of German animal trainer Carl Hagenbeck.

104 A History of handyan Dance Hagenbeck, considered the father of the modern zoo, had been displaying exotic animals in Europe since the early 1850s, but in 1875, encouraged by a friend, he began to include people in his shows. His first modest people show was of the Sami, brought to Hamburg to accompany an exhibit of reindeer (Rothfels 2002, 62). The financial success of the show encouraged Hagenbeck, and over the next several decades he organized a number of what he termed “ethnographic exhibitions,” which featured people from all parts of the world, including Nubians, Eskimos, Somalis, Indians, Kalmucks, Patagonians, and Hottentots (Hagenbeck 1909, 25). [hese people shows were enormously popular, making Hagenbeck a “household name” (Rothfels 2002, 81).° Hagenbeck’s earliest imports from Ceylon were elephants. In the 1880s the

demand for Indian elephants had exploded, spurred by the growth of large traveling circuses and competition between P. ‘I. Barnum and other “circus men” of the era. In 1883 alone Hagenbeck imported sixty-seven elephants from Ceylon, and, “along with the animals, he procured ever larger and more extravagant participants for his ethnographic exhibitions” (Rothfels 2002, 85). The Ceylon show became a staple of Hagenbeck’s people shows, and each “seemed to outdo the one before, with one show exhibiting as many as two hundred participants” (Rothtels 2002, 65). Between 1682 and 1890 no less than eight Geylon groups toured Europe. ‘The Sinhalese Caravan of 1884 consisted of sixty-seven men, women, and children and included several groups of dancers, including masked “devil dancers” and dancers performing in what Hagenbeck referred to as a great “religious” perahara “parade” (Rothfels 2002, 85). By Hagenbeck’s own account, the exhibition “caused a great sensation in Europe” (1909, 29). When the Ceylon exhibit toured Vienna in 1884, the Aus-

trian emperor attended, and the exhibit drew enormous crowds, the size of which, according to Hagenbeck, “had not been reported in Vienna since the World Exhibition of 1873” (Rothfels 2002, 65). In Paris the 1886 Ceylon Caravan was viewed by an average of fifty to sixty thousand visitors every Sunday, and almost a million people visited the show during its two and a half month stay (Rothfels 2002, 85 86). The exhibits were “huge productions touring all the

major cities of Europe and patronized by hundreds of thousands of visitors” (Rothfels 2002, 86).

An 1864 illustration of the Sinhalese Caravan from the magazine Die Gartenlaube depicts Kandyan dancers and drummers, a southern masked drummer, several elephants performing with their handlers, a snake charmer, and bullocks pulling carts of Sinhalas in native dress.!° As Kirshenblatt-Gimblett points out, Hagenbeck’s productions blurred the line between zoological and theatrical approaches to the exhibition of “live ethnographic specimens” (1998, 42), or, as Beryl De Zoete notes, Kandyan dancers were introduced to Europe as

A History of Kandyan Dance 105 “part of the menagerie of Mr. Hagenbeck” (1963, 130). ‘The “wild life” (De Zoete 1963, 130) of the Sinhalas was thus displayed alongside the wildlife; the Kandyan dancers were billed as the “Wild Men of Ceylon” (De Zoete 1957, 65). In 1907, after decades of traveling, Hagenbeck established a permanent home for his exhibitions at Stellingen, Germany, today a suburb of Hamburg. Kandyan dancers were regular participants in the famous Hagenbeck Animal Park.

Beryl De Zoete, a well-known British dance critic and author of Dance and Magic Drama in Ceylon (1957), visited Ceylon briefly in May 1935 and for several

months in 1948 and 1949.!! Several of the Kandyan dancers that De Zoete met in 1948 49 had spent long periods, sometimes as much as three years, living in

Europe and performing in various Western European countries, especially Germany and France. Kandyan dancers were also brought to Europe for special exhibitions by sponsors other than Hagenbeck. For example, they performed in the 1931 Exposition Coloniale in Paris along with Balinese, Gambodian, and Indian kathakali and bharata natyam dancers (De Zoete 1963, 131). De Zoete met some of the dancers who had performed for Hagenbeck and

found that, despite the “rigours of a European winter,” none of the dancers “regretted the adventure” (1962, 130). Indeed, she notes that the Kandyan dancers who traveled to Europe “remain proud of their experiences and anxious to show off the few words of French, Spanish or German which together with the names of European and American cities, and of the various casinos, circuses and exhibitions at which they appeared, remain as linguistic relics of their strange adventure” (De Zoete 1963, 131). However, in her earlier book De Zoete recorded that one of the dancers, Sederaman, had a lawsuit against Hagenbeck for referring to the Sinhalese as “wild men.” She also notes that the

dancers “suffered dreadfully from the cold and were only paid fifty rupees a month” (De Zoete 1957, 152).

Older generation performers I interviewed, including ‘littapayjala Suramba and his elder brother Jayatura, had also performed in Europe in those early decades as part of the Circus Knie of Switzerland. Like De Zoete, I found the performers to be quite proud of their experiences abroad and eager to talk about them. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine that the conditions under which they performed were very comfortable, to say the least, and their pride in per-

forming abroad—an experience that still lends a great deal of cachet to any dancer’s reputation does not negate the fact that they were exploited. De Zoete, in fact, records that one of her Ceylonese informants told her that the dancers taken by Hagenbeck were so badly paid that after performances they would collect old cigarette butts from the grounds, reroll them, and sell them the next day (De Zoete 1957, 65).

106 A History of handyan Dance “A First Class Show of Kandyan Dancing” While nineteenth-century accounts of “devil dancing” and the exhibitions of dancers with wild animals drew on and played into narratives of European superiority, by the early twentieth century there are alternative accounts of the dance that suggest that at least some of the British had begun to appreciate Kandyan dance as a form of art and entertainment. In Ceylon, as in India, the British were integral to the preservation and development of the “traditional arts,” as evidenced by the fact that in 1882 the government agent of the Central Province, Sir John Frederick Dickson, founded the Kandyan Art Association, which was dedicated to the revitalization of “dying” traditional arts and crafts such as weaving, pottery, and painting. ‘The association sought to help support traditional craftsmen by providing for them a sales outlet, with the intention of preserving the “purity and originality of Kandyan Art Work.”!? An account of “Kandyan dancing” in 1908 by Leonard Woolf, who was a civil servant in Ceylon from 1904 to 1911, makes clear that the dance was by then performed in contexts completely divorced from religious ritual and that dancers were even performing for pay.!° In his autobiography, Growimg, Woolf writes that he was asked by the acting governor of Ceylon, Sir Hugh Clifford, to organize a dance show in Kandy: Clifford sent for me and asked me whether I could manage to arrange a first-class show of Kandyan dancing in the grounds of the King’s pavilion. He would have a few friends dining with him the following Thursday and he would like after dinner to give them a first-class exhibition of this famous Kandyan dancing. He hoped that, if I could do this, I would come and dine with them and manage the thing afterwards for him, including the payment of the dancers. I said I could do this and I went to my old friend the Diwa Nilame, Nugawela Ratemahatmaya, and asked him to get the very finest show of Kandyan dancing ever seen in the Kandyan district. He really did so and it was superb. He turned out all his retainers and headmen and an enormous company of dancers, tom-tom beaters, and musicians. He had about 100 torch-bearers and the dancing took place on the lawn in the light of the torches. ‘The glamorous lady, for whom all this was done, was properly appreciative, and Clifford was immensely pleased. (1961, 170—71)!4

This account, like that of the 1875 perahara, counters some key assumptions about the historical development of Kandyan dance as currently understood. Among the most important features of the description 1s the clear 1mph-

cation that a “show of Kandyan dancing” was not unusual for the time and

A History of Kandyan Dance 107 that, in fact, Kandyan dancing was already “famous.” Moreover, the dance was done in a completely secular context solely for entertainment and “exhibition,” as Woolf says. However, one question, unanswered by Woolf’s description, 1s whether the dancers wore the ves costume.!° Woolf’s use of the phrase “Kandyan dancing” rather than “devil dancing” 1s also significant, suggesting that by the early twentieth century the British were making a distinction between ritualistic and secular contexts of dance or between the more obviously “demonic” dances of the southern regions and the more dignified and regal dances of the Kandyan provinces.

Ves Dancers in the Kandy Asala Perahara As mentioned earlier, the introduction of ves dancers to the 1917 Kandy Asala Perahara by the Kandyan aristocrat Punchi Banda Nugawela 1s heralded in most accounts of Kandyan dance history as the decisive event in which ves dancers first performed outside the kankariya maduva. While the fact of the 1875 private and public peraharas obviously invalidates this claim to historical precedent, the introduction of the ves dancers to the 1917 perahara was nonetheless an extremely important event, insofar as the Kandy Asala Perahara 1s the largest and most elaborate festival of Sinhala Buddhists. ‘The exposure that ves dancers gained by participating in the 1917 Kandy perahara was extensive and no doubt contributed substantially to the visibility of Kandyan dance both nationally and internationally. Visual depictions of the perahara in posters, postcards, and batik wall hangings always prominently feature costumed ves dancers, who are among the top attractions of the festival. The importance of

the Kandy perahara to the visibility of Kandyan dance is such that some Englsh-educated Colombo elites I interviewed in the 1ggos held the erroneous view that the perahara was the original ritual of the Kandyan dancers. Another important consequence of the 1917 perahara was the adoption of the ves costume for all types of dance performances. Arthur Molamure, a Kandyan aristocrat and an authority on the Kandyan dance, told De Zoete that it was only after the ves dancers performed in the 1917 perahara that the ves became “the preferred costume of every dancer” (1957, 109).!© Given the sacred nature of the ves tattuva, this event thus had considerable impact on the efficacy of the ves, as many older dancers lamented. Some viewed the performance of the ves dancers in the 1917 perahara as the beginning of the desecra-

tion of dance, though others, citing the fact that the perahara is a religious event in honor of the Buddha and the guardian deities, thought the use of the ves costume was, 1n fact, quite appropriate.

108 A History of handyan Dance Ted Shawn in Kandy From the 1880s to the 1930s (at least), foreign interest in Kandyan dance appears to have exceeded the interest of the English-educated Ceylonese elite. Speaking of Kandyan dancers who had traveled abroad as part of Hagenbeck’s exhibitions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, De Zoete observed that “no one in Ceylon at that time was interested enough to offer them any alternatives” (1963, 130). Many of the berava dancers lived in poverty, as they had lost their traditional patrons with the decline of the rajakariya system and had no opportunities for making a living through performance (De Zoete 1963, 130). Those few who traveled to Europe were very poorly paid. Only the berava who had land were able to survive above a bare subsistence level. Indeed, the situation of the berava dancers during the 1920s was such that well-known dancers ‘Ted Shawn and Anna Pavlova expressed concern about them during their visits to Ceylon. !/ In 1926 the American dancer ‘Ted Shawn and his dance troupe, the Denishawn Dancers, visited Ceylon as part of their 1925-26 Far East tour, performing in Colombo and Kandy. ‘Their performance in Kandy took place dur-

ing the festival of Vesak, a holiday commemorating the birth, death, and enlightenment of the Buddha. Several groups of Ceylonese “festival dancers” also performed during the week of holiday events (Sherman 1979, 139). Shawn’s motivation for touring abroad was not only to perform but also to study estab-

lished male dance traditions, as he sought to create for his own troupe a truly “masculine” dance form. While in Kandy, Shawn hired a group of Kandyan dancers to perform for his troupe. ‘The following is an excerpt from an account of the event by Jane Sherman, a member of the troupe, notable for its detail on the dance form and respect for the dancers as artists: Ted Shawn hired the group he thought the best, and in the luxuriant open park near our hotel, they not only performed for us but for three hours every morning they patiently taught ‘TS, Charles Weidman and George Steares the rhythms and steps upon which Papa Denishawn later built his Singhalese Devil Dance. . . .

‘The men and young boys were handsome, muscular, and obviously full of the physical joy of dancing. .. . The technique of their movements was difficult for Shawn, Weidman,

and Steares to acquire. ‘There were countless variations of unfamiliar steps, and rapid, complicated changes of rhythms which they found hard to follow. ‘The basic body characteristic was a continual use of a deep plé in second position. Poses were held momentarily in this position, arms

A History of Kandyan Dance LO9 flexed at shoulder height, head tilted, body upright. High leaps off the sround were achieved with the legs still bent in the plé, arms outstretched straight to the sides. Swift turns started and ended with the plié, while advancing or retreating stamping steps maintained it... .

All movements were done in unison. Many of the combinations of steps were performed in a straight line facing the audience as the men moved forward, then backward to their original places. At most exciting times the group (numbering from three to thirty) would circle the drummer with leaps and turns and clanging of anklets, as remarkable in their way as Nureyev circling the stage at Lincoln Center. (1979, 139 40)

Sherman describes the dancers’ costumes in detail. Importantly, she notes that the headdress was a plain turban (Sherman 1979, 139). [his suggests that at least until the late 1920s dancers still refrained from wearing the ves headdress in secular contexts, even though ves dancers were now performing annually in the Kandy perahara. The differences between this account and the 1875 account by The Graphic’s British correspondent are striking. ‘he dancers of the ‘Ted Shawn troupe obv1-

ously respected and admired the dancers, found them to be “handsome,” and

were quite taken with the intricacy of the rhythms and movements of the dance technique. Certainly, the comparison between the Kandyan dancers and the iconic ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev could not be more flattermg. While this, of course, does not mean that all who encountered the Kandyan dance admired it to this level, the praise given to the Kandyan dancers and the honor shown them by Shawn’s desire to learn the technique exemplify a genuine appreciation of the dance by respected foreign artists as “high art.”

Among the group of Kandyan dancers who performed for Shawn was a young Nittawela Gunaya, the dancer who was to become Sri Lanka’s most famous performer. In 1958, when Shawn presented the National Dancers of Ceylon at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, Gunaya identified himself in some photos taken during the 1926 tour (Sherman 1979, 140). Although the Americans studied the Kandyan dance and created a dance based on it, their enthusiasm for the exotic produced an unusual hybrid. ‘Taking the Kandyan dance costume, they added the southern “devil masks” to create the Singhalese Devil Dance (Sherman 1979, 140). The Singhalese Devil Dance appears to be the first dance by a foreign dance company to incorporate elements of the Kandyan dance. Film footage of Shawn’s visit to Kandy, archived in the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, shows Shawn and the male

dancers of his troupe learning Kandyan dance by imitating the traditional dancers as they danced one behind the other in a circular formation — quite

110 A History of handyan Dance different from the style of training today. ‘he film 1s of particular importance because it reveals that by the 1920s at least some traditional dancers were willing to teach the dance to male outsiders.

George E. de Silva and Kandyan Dance While foreign interest in Kandyan dance seems to have been quite well established by the 1920s, during this period a few Ceylonese elites also began to take an interest. In the 1920s Nittawela Gunaya and his elder brother Nittawela Ukkuwa taught dancing to a few Ceylonese students from one elite family: the children of George E. de Silva, a well-known and highly regarded politician. Although de Silva’s family was from the low-country (and thus he was not a Ikandyan), he lived in Kandy. In an interview in 1997 de Silva’s daughter Minette told me that when she was a child in the 1920s, Ukkuwa and Gunaya came regularly to their home to teach dancing to the five de Silva children. Although as Minette described it the training was not very rigorous, and although the children did not perform in public, the lessons are nonetheless significant as

an indication that Kandyan dancing was coming to have some importance among a select elite. It 1s also notable that these berava dancers were not only teaching to non-berava but also to girls.!® As a progressive politician who fought for the lower classes and castes, George de Silva’s interest in the dance seems to have been largely motivated by his desire to provide some support for

the berava. De Silva wanted to encourage the dancers and he treated them with the respect usually reserved for the high castes. Minette remarked to me that her father allowed the dancers to sit in chairs and to eat at the table with the family quite radical behavior for the time.!9

Cultural “Renaissance” in Colombo: The Indian Intluence ‘The 1930s mark the beginning of a period of cultural renaissance in Colombo among the elite Sinhala, Burgher, and ‘Tamil — that lasted through the 1940s and 1950s. I discuss this renaissance 1n more detail in the next chapter in relation to ethnic and nationalist politics; here I focus on the influence of Indian nationalism and the Bengali artist-intellectual Rabindranath ‘Tagore. ‘The 1930s and 1940s were a lively period for the arts. In the fields of literature, drama, music, and painting there was a turn toward depictions of village life, the use of folk idioms, and the blending of Indian and Western techniques.”? In this climate, dance became a vehicle for the expression of “indigenous” culture. However, in

A History of Kandyan Dance 111 relation to dance, among the English-speaking elite of Golombo that culture was broadly defined not as Ceylonese but as Indian.

Indian Nationalism and Ceylon The influence of India on Ceylonese life and politics of the 1930s and 1940s was profound. According to historian Michael Roberts, nationalism in British India “had begun and matured much before that in Sri Lanka” (1979b, 235). In Ceylon, ideas of Indian nationalism were largely spread via print media, as book reviews of works by Indian nationalists and editions of speeches by Sarojini Naidu, Mohandas Gandhi, and B. C. ‘Tilak were published in Ceylonese publications. Ceylonese activists attended social and political conferences in India, and Indian nationalists including Annie Besant (1893), Swami Vivekananda (1897), Mohandas Gandhi (1927), Jawaharlal Nehru (1931), and Rabindranath ‘Tagore (1931, 1934), among many others— visited Ceylon, where “they were received with due reverence and earnest attention” (Roberts 1979b, 235).

Indian nationalist ideas and practices such as passive resistance and nonviolence and resolutions on the spinning and weaving of cloth in homes became part of nationalist rhetoric and programs in Ceylon. Even the 1940 constitution of the Ceylon National Congress was modeled on the Indian National Conegress constitution of 1939. As Roberts notes, ““Uhe period 1939 47 was marked by an unusual degree of inspirational influence from India” (1979b, 235 36). In

the fields of dance and music a main source of inspiration for the Ceylonese was Rabindranath ‘Tagore and his arts school, Shantiniketan.

Rabindranath Tagore in Ceylon Rabindranath ‘Tagore, a Bengali poet, artist, playwright, novelist, composer, and producer of dance-dramas, 1s a towering figure in Indian history. Shantiniketan, Tagore’s famed religious and arts complex in Bengal, promoted the study and practice of many kinds of Indian dances, both “folk” and “classical.” ‘Tagore’s first visit to Geylon in 1931 was at the invitation of Wilmot Perera, a wealthy plantation owner, to lay the foundation stone for Sri Palee, an arts school modeled on Shantiniketan. Sri Palee, situated amidst rubber plantations in the town of Horana about twenty miles from Colombo, became the major arts center in the Colombo area in the 1930s and 1940s. From its founding until the mid-1g40s the school focused exclusively on Indian music and dance. ‘Teachers were brought from India to live and teach at the school, and dance training centered primarily on the North Indian dance form known as kathak

LZ A History of handyan Dance and the South Indian dance form, bharata natyam. ‘he Ceylonese teachers at Sri Palee were sent to train in India, including to Shantiniketan. Although Kandyan dance was later introduced (around 1945), the school remained predominantly a center of Indian dance. Indeed, even in the 1960s Indian performers were living and teaching at the school.?! Tagore’s second visit to Ceylon, in 1934, with his dance and drama troupe, is considered a pivotal moment in the history of dance and music in Sri Lanka. The event was highly publicized by the English-language paper, the Ceylon Daily News, and days before ‘Tagore’s arrival, articles appeared about his life work, Shantiniketan, and his new play Shap Mochan (Redemption). ‘Uhe tone of the articles was reverential, and ‘Tagore himself stated that he was on a “special mis-

sion” to bring a “part of our culture which Shanti Niketan represents.”?? A local writer in a news article titled “The Message of Shantiniketan: ‘The ‘True Significance of the Visit” described the close ties between India and Ceylon while lamenting the sterility of Ceylonese culture. ‘The expectations for ‘Tagore’s visit were enormous, almost messianic: “Shall the poet-artist of Bengal give us a new orientation to learning? Shall he rescue the ‘educated’ Sri Lankan from the slumber of a soulless pedagogy? ... Shall we learn to express the national emotion in our own literature and art?”?°

Apparently, the expectations were fulfilled. On May 14 one writer described ‘Tagore’s production of Shap Mochan as “The Greatest within Living Memory,” “A Feast of Dance and Song and Music.” ‘The writer compared ‘Tagore to Vijaya, the mythical founder of Ceylon and the father of the Sinhalas: “Once upon a time when the moon was very young, there came by chance to this country a Bengali called Vijaya to conquer the primitive tribe that inhabited this island in those days of pre-history. After the lapse of almost twenty-five centuries another Bengali has come, not by chance, with another band of loyal followers for the cultural conquest of what by contrast may be considered the

primitive Ceylonese in the way of the highest possessions of man art and beauty and music.’’** In this lavish praise we see exemplified the observation of Dr. ‘Tissa Kartyavasam, director of the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, who in 1988 told me that in the early years of the cultural renaissance “Indian artists were respected like gods by the so-called native dancers and the social elite.” The writer goes on to describe the dancing of ‘Tagore’s troupe and the Indian dance form, kathakali, which he says is “more or less akin to the Ceylon Kandyan dancing but with a religious motive and fervour.” ‘Uhe comment illustrates what was perhaps a popular view in Colombo of the Kandyan dance as

mere abstract form while revealing ignorance of the dance’s religious roots. The lack of knowledge of Sinhala dance and music was explicitly noted by ‘Tagore, who in 1934, while speaking to a Jaffna ‘Tamil audience, described the

A History of Kandyan Dance [is Sinhala elite as being “in the vagabondage of imitation” and urged Ceylon ‘Tamils not to follow their example (Russell 1982, 136). Indeed, while he was in Ceylon, ‘Tagore saw Kandyan dancing and even wrote a poem in admiration of the dancers of the Kandy perahara.* ‘Vissa Kartyavasam told me that ‘Tagore’s response to those Geylonese who desired to study in India was to say: “Why do you want to come to India when there 1s such a rich dance tradition in Ceylon?” Ironically, ‘Tagore’s visit and exhortations to the Sinhala elite to draw on their own indigenous arts was apparently interpreted to mean they should re-

turn to the wellsprings of Indian civilization and culture. Sri Lankan scholar K. N. O. Dharmadasa remarks that the immediate effect of ‘Tagore’s visit on Ceylonese musicians was a “strengthening of Indian influence, which was already pervasive” (1977, 459). Many English-educated Sinhala dancers and musicians traveled to Shantiniketan and other Indian aesthetic institutes to study the arts. Among the best-known dancers who studied in India were Vasantha

Kumar, Premakumara Epitawala, Pani Bharata, Sesha Palihakkara, and the dancer who was to become the most influential in promoting stage dance in Colombo, Chitrasena Dias.

A Village Dance School In 1935 Beryl De Zoete paid a visit to a “famous dance school” near Kandy. Although she does not give the precise location, details from her account suggest that the school was in the village of Amunugama.’° She describes the school as a “fairly large barn, with a palm-leaf roof and avery uneven earth floor” (1957,

24). Inside the school was a “bamboo rod” the dandiyama~ used for the young boys’ training exercises. ‘he school also had a boardinghouse for the students.

During her visit De Zoete observed three dancers adorned in the ves costume as well as several small boys in the natyadi costume (1957, 24-25). Apparently, there were no female dancers, as De Zoete makes no mention of them. The dancers De Zoete observed performed a variety of dances, including several vannamas: the snake, elephant, hawk, hare, and horse, among others (1957, 26). The dance technique she describes 1s primarily abstract “pure dance”: It seems to me that this style of dancing 1s more like decorative art, as in tapestry. [he animal named forms a very small feature of the design, just enough to distinguish it from others. But the decorative design, the arabesque, the folhage and the flowers run wild over all the dances. ‘The same energy and vehemence of technique seems to be displayed in all... .. The technique is magnificent, and the whirling and circling jumps equal to any I have seen. ... Enormous velocity of movement, much wide-knee

114 A History of handyan Dance posing, lovely namaskaras. The dances fall into phrases and grow in impe-

tus, with a wild crescendo, and the most thrilling accellerandos of the same fala [rythmic pattern]. A marvellous interchange of force and hghtness, perfect poise of body and absolute control by the principal dancer. In the most intricate passages he 1s still controlling the drummers on whom his dance depends. (De Zoete 1957, 26)

However, De Zoete does mention that she observed a few imitative movements:

“certain snake-like movements... with the hands; also an elephant-step, with trunk movements” (1957, 26). This makes clear that by the mid-1930s dancers had already begun to incorporate some innovations into the vannamas. ‘The boys also performed dances with the panteruva (a brass ring percussion instrument) and with the udakhiya (an hourglass-shaped drum). The presence of a Kandyan dance school in the mid-1930s 1s notable, as it signifies that Kandyan dance was by this time beginning to be seen as a viable

stage form, though on a relatively small scale. De Zoete’s observations of the performances at this rural school demonstrate that even in this early period berava dancers had begun to modify the dance for the stage. ‘The vannamas she describes are the same vannamas that came to form the basis for the popular stage and tourist performances of the 1940s and 1950s.?/

Women and Kandyan Dance: Miriam Pieris and Chandralekha The introduction of women into the Kandyan dance was a revolutionary act. In the early twentieth century, with the exception of village folk dances and the temple dances known as digge natum, which were limited to a few women of a particular subcaste, Sinhala women did not dance, as dance was considered a practice suitable only for prostitutes. I provide a broader analysis of women and dance in chapter 7; I here focus on the women who first performed Kandyan dance on stage: Miriam Pieris and Chandralekha. Although in the 1920s the daughters of the progressive politician George de Silva had informally studied Kandyan dancing in the privacy of their Kandy home, they had not performed in public. In the early 1930s Miriam Pieris shocked the nation when she performed Kandyan dance on stage in Colombo with the Sarasavi Players. Her dancing, which was publicized in the Tzmes of Ceylon, was considered scandalous.?°®

Miriam Pieris hailed from a prominent Kandyan radala family that had close ties to the traditional Kandyan dancers. Miriam’s father was the distinguished historian Sir Paul Pieris, and her close relatives included the famous painter Justin Deraniyagala and the lawyer Arthur Molamure, both of whom

A History of Kandyan Dance Bes had considerable knowledge about the dance and a strong interest in its preservation. Miriam learned Kandyan dancing from the berava dancer Nittawela Ukkuwa_ the same dancer who had taught the de Silva children in Kandy in the 1920s.

In 1938 Miriam published an article titled ““The Dances of Ceylon” in a London journal, the Dancing Times. In the article, although she says that the ves

costume is “ritualistic” and thus “its wearing by a woman 1s strictly taboo” (Pieris 1938, 642), she 1s shown in a photograph adorned in what appears to be the full costume, complete with the beaded chest ornament and the ves tattuva (Pieris 1938, 641).

Although Miriam did not go on to become a professional stage dancer, her performance on stage was significant for breaking not only the gender barrier but also the caste barrier. ‘lo my knowledge Miriam’s appearance on stage was the first appearance of a dancer of either gender from an arisotocratic family. Miriam’s act of performing Kandyan dance on stage was thus very significant in terms of lending respectability to the Kandyan dance. As a person from one

of the most prominent families in the country, Miriam’s act gave Kandyan dance credibility at a ttme when the English-educated elite, especially those from Colombo, had little or no interest in Kandyan dance. Although Miriam Pieris was the first woman to perform Kandyan dance in public, it was another elite English-educated woman dancer, Chandralekha, who became legendary for her public performances. Chandralekha was the wife of a well-known Colombo painter, J. D. A. Perera, who later was instrumental in establishing the Heywood College of Fine Arts in Golombo. With the encouragement of her husband, Chandralekha studied dancing with Pani Bharata, a berava dancer and drummer from the Kegalle tradition of Algama (Pani Bharata later became the first head of the dancing section at Heywood). In the late 1930s and early 1940s Chandralekha performed 1n India and Ceylon

with Pani Bharata as her drummer. In 1941 she performed on stage at the Regal ‘Vheatre in Colombo. ‘The performance was well attended, and the audience included the British governor, Andrew Caldecott, and his wife.*? Chandralekha wore the full ves costume 1n these performances, including the sacred headdress.°”

Chandralekha, who had intended to pursue a career in stage dance, tragically died at a very young age, in her teens.°! Many of the traditional dancers attribute her death to the fact that she had broken a ritual taboo by wearing the ves headdress. As women were traditionally considered impure, they were not even allowed to touch, much less wear, the headdress. Although traditional dancers who saw Chandralekha perform told me that she was a very good dancer, her breaking of the taboo was seen by many as a fatal error. However,

116 A History of handyan Dance this evidently was not the case for all, since Pani Bharata taught and performed with her and did not object to her wearing the ves.°? Miriam Pieris and Chandralekha gave Kandyan dancing visibility and leeitimacy. The fact that they had learned the dance at all and from traditional berava masters at that 1s also an indication of the new significance dance had achieved due to the cultural resurgence. However, this should not suggest that female Kandyan dancers suddenly became common or that they became stars. In performances and tours, male dancers continued to dominate, and it was only after the dance was introduced into the schools in the 1950s that females began studying Kandyan dance in large numbers.

The State and the Beginnings of Bureaucratization: The Gandharva Sabha and Kandyan Dance in Schools The beginnings of state involvement in Kandyan dance teaching can be traced to the late 1930s. By about 1939, though on a relatively small scale, the government had become involved in the teaching of Kandyan dance in the schools, largely spurred by the efforts of a high official in the department of education, S. L. B. Kapukotuwa, a Kandyan. Kapukotuwa was an extremely influential figure in the history of IKkandyan dance. In 1939 or 1940 he appointed the first batch of dance teachers to the Kandy central schools, and he also introduced Kkandyan dance competitions. During the war years (1939 45), however, there was not much progress in dance teaching in the government schools.*° In 1936 the Gandharva Sabha, a private organization, was established in order to promote the study of North Indian, South Indian, and Kandyan dance and music (Dharmadasa 1977, 459). Although private, the Gandharva Sabha was instrumental in establishing standards for the credentialing of dance teachers for the government schools. In fact, according to one of my consultants, Mr. H. M. A. B. Herath, the motive for introducing formal exams for dance and music came from Mr. Kapukotuwa, who wanted to provide a means for the traditional dancers and musicians to qualify for government teaching appointments, as they did not have the usual educational credentials. ‘Uhe Gandharva Sabha administered a series of three graded examinations — primary, intermeciate, and final. ‘he introduction of these formal tiered exams marks a major shift in Kandyan dance training, away from the personalized guru_ sisya system and toward abstract “standards.” The Gandharva Sabha functioned during the 1930s and 1940s, a period during which the Gandharva Sabha certificates were sufficient for appointment to the government schools. By the 1960s the Gandharva Sabha had ceased, but the exams, now formally termed the National Dance and Music Exams ( Jatika

A History of Kandyan Dance 117 Natum Sangita Vibhaga, or JNSV) exams though still referred to as the “Gandharva exams” were taken over and administered by the government of Ceylon. There 1s now a dual system of exams, both administered by the state: Ordinary and Advanced level exams and the Gandharva exams. Among many contemporary dancers, the Gandharva exams are held in higher esteem, as they are more demanding in terms of evaluating performance skill.

The Heritage of Lanka One of the earliest performances of berava dancers on stage took place in Colombo in 1937.°* Although in the 1930s Golombo’s elite were most interested in Indian dance, some Kandyan dancers had begun to receive patronage from the urban upper classes. Among the most influential in publicizing the Kandyan

dancers was George Keyt, Ceylon’s best-known modern painter. In 1937 Keyt—along with Marcia (Anil) de Silva, a daughter of George de Silva— organized a stage production titled Heritage of Lanka: ‘Tableaux and Ballet. '‘Vhe Hentage was staged at the Regal ‘Theatre in Colombo and featured the Kandyan

berava dancers Nittawela Ukkuwa and Nittawela Gunaya and the drummer Amunugama Suramba. Although the pageant was not performed on a large scale, 1t is important as one of the first occasions in which Kandyan dance was employed as a symbol of cultural heritage.

Le 194.05 The decade of the 1930s was a period of many firsts for Kandyan dance: the establishment of the first Kandyan dance school, the first women and the first high-caste Kandyan dancers on stage, the establishment of the first formal exams in Kandyan dance, and the first Kandyan dance teachers appointed to schools. While important, however, the overall impact of these events was at the time overshadowed by the growing interest among the urban elite in Indian dance, as evidenced by the establishment of Sri Palee, ‘Tagore’s visit in 1934, and the support given to Ceylonese dancers and musicians to study dance and music in India. In the 1940s we see the continuation of both of these trends: an increased interest among the urban elite in Kandyan dance and a simultaneous expansion of interest in Indian dance. In Colombo, George Keyt and other elites such as Lionel Wendt continued to promote the traditional Kandyan dancers, and a center for Kandyan dance was established. Indian dancers were invited to Ceylon to teach and perform. Uday Shankar came to Ceylon and subsequently took two Ceylonese dancers to tour abroad: Nittawela Gunaya and a dancer named Gomis from the southern tradition.*’ At the same time, 1n the

118 A History of handyan Dance held of “Oriental ballet” (discussed below) the dance school founded by Colombo dancer Chitrasena Dias made great strides, producing “ballets” (dancedramas) that incorporated Indian themes and dances. In 1942 Chitrasena was training his dance troupe in Colombo, and 1944 saw the opening of the Chitrasena School of Dance. Despite the pervasive influence of India, however, the late 1940s and early 1950s were very dynamic years in the history of Kandyan dance. New dance

forms were developed, and some of the most famous names in Kandyan dance Nittawela Ukkuwa, Nittawela Gunaya, Heenbaba Dharmasiri, and Amunugama Suramba~— became well known during this period.

Kandyan Dancers in Colombo: ihe “49-Group-and-Caldecott Eloise During the 1940s and into the 1950s one of the most dynamic centers in Colombo for the performance and teaching of Kandyan dance was Caldecott House. In June and September 1945 a group of well-known and highly respected Colombo artists known as the °43 Group, which included painters George Keyt and Justin Deraniyagala and the musician and photographer Lionel Wendt, among others, had sponsored performances of a group of Kandyan dancers from the Kandyan village of Amunugama at King George’s Hall in Colombo. ‘These recitals, which were “widely acclaimed,” led to the creation of a dancing school at Caldecott-by-the-Sea, “a great ramshackle mansion” in the Colombo district of Bambalapitiya (Weereratne 1993, 139).

Caldecott House became an important center of dance activity in Colombo. Besides being a residence and practice space for traditional dancers, it was also used to teach ballroom dancing (De Zoete 1957, 32). Galdecott House became the Colombo “home” for a group of berava dancers from Kandy, including Nittawela Gunaya and his nephew Heenbaba Dharmasiri. According to one account, “Heen Baba was perhaps the best known member of this institution who lived and worked in Colombo and may have resisted the demand for popular versions of the great tradition” (Weereratne 1993, 139). At Caldecott the dancers engaged in daily practice sessions, and they performed often in Colombo and its surrounds, including dancing at weddings. According to Heenbaba’s younger brother Peter Surasena, in the early 1950s “dancing was appreciated in Colombo. . . . [A]lmost daily they went for performances.” Nittawela Gunaya and Heenbaba also taught dancing at private schools, and their students included upper-class children such as Sicille Kotelawela, who later (1974) toured the United States with Heenbaba and Surasena. The group from Caldecott also went on tours abroad.

A History of Kandyan Dance PES, The patrons of these Kandyan dancers included Noel Pieris, Arthur Wellangama, and Fred Fogel. kogl saw himself as a benefactor of the dancers and told

Beryl De Zoete that “the dancers are undernourished in their own villages, where they work for an overlord, and no longer have land of their own. ‘They are, he says, now a despised caste, and no longer called on to dance, as in old days, before the king or his representative” (1957, 32). According to De Zoete’s

account, Fogl encouraged the dancers to include more dramatic elements in the vannam dances; he also claimed to have helped create “new” dances such as the bo tree and butterfly vannamas (De Zoete 1957, 30).°° Apparently, Fog] was viewed with disdain by some of the Kandyan elite such as Justin Deraniyagala for introducing and encouraging innovations (De Zoete 1957, 33). Another Kandyan aristocrat, P. Dolapihille, also objected to the “alien influences” introduced into the dance in Colombo; De Zoete reports that Dolapihille appeared “resentful of the people of Golombo who have done much to destroy old Ceylon” and in 1949 were “madly trying to infuse new life into it by introducing all sorts of alien influences” (De Zoete 1957, 104).°/

The Amunugama School The cultural renaissance in Colombo also spurred developments in Kandy as Colombo elites took an interest in helping to establish a school of Kandyan dancing at Amunugama, a village close to the city of Kandy. ‘The Burgher artists George Keyt (who eventually went to live in Amunugama) and Lionel Wendt

played a major role in promoting Kandyan dance through their patronage of the Amunugama dancer Sri Jayana and his brother Amunugama Suramba.*® Keyt’s paintings and articles on Kandyan dance (1953, 1957) and Wendt’s photo-

graphs (1950) of the drummers and dancers from Anumugama and Nittawela aided greatly in publicizing the dance. The villages of Amunugama and Nittawela are in close proximity, and the two traditions had a very close relationship, often performing together. In 1932

Amunugama Suramba and Nittawela Ukkuwa had traveled to London to perform at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Upon his return from England Amunugama Suramba decided to establish a Kandyan dance school along the lines of the ballet schools he had visited in England. Harold Pieris, who had sponsored Suramba and Ukkuwa’s visit to London, along with other patrons, including the British art collector Martin Russell and the bishop of Kurunegala, Lakdasa de Mel (known for his indigenization of the Christian liturgy), provided the financial and social support to establish the school. Suramba also used funds he had received from the London trip.°9 Although dance had been taught at Amunugama for many years, 1t was not

120 A History of handyan Dance until September 1949, when the school was formally opened in its new brick building as the Madhyama Lanka Nritya Mandalaya (Central Lanka Dance Center), that it gained national visibility. On September 5, 1949, a grand ceremony was held for the opening of the new school. ‘The buildings for the school were designed by George Keyt, who also designed the souvenir cover for the program. The governor-general of Ceylon, Lord Soulbury, was the chief guest. From its inauguration the school established itself as a premier institution of Kandyan dance in Ceylon. Beryl De Zoete was present at the 1949 ceremony, which she describes in vivid detail: 5th September. Early to Amunugama for the opening of the new brick school. We met the Perahera coming with drums and horenewa (flute) and dancers to meet the Governor-General. ‘The road was lined with frail arches hung with slivers of palm leaf, and an occasional elaborate solid bamboo or plantain punctuated the long passage. Women and children peered out of cottages. The school is built on an eminence above the road, where the old palm- or paddy-roofed school used to be. The white walls were decorated with curved strips of plantain leaf marked like tortoiseshell — which held paper flowers and white strips of paper fluttered from the rafters. ‘he hall has a low wall round it, so that everyone can look in, but the stage is enclosed. It 1s a charming building, but the space for

outside dancing 1s not large enough. ‘This seems a pity. ‘he garlanded Governor-General advanced solemnly and listened to a murmured speech from Suramba, to which he replied. He then cut the cord and declared it

OP ei’, Guneya’s dance of the Horse Wannam was by far the best item. He is an exquisite artist. His technique 1s very remarkable, but his execution 1s so effortless that his amazing spins and whirls seem the most natural thing in

the world. ... Suramba and the other three drummers were very fine. They were led by Suramba, and followed his changes of rhythm to perfection. A row of Buddhist priests chanted a hymn to the Governor-General, then came an invocation... . The small boys’ pantheru was quite nice, but the three dances done by six girls with cymbals, sticks and arm movements

alone the latter being an adaptation of a Wannam which I had hope to see Guneya dance were much better. ‘They had greatly improved and one little girl was very good. ‘Their rhythm and co-ordination of movement were excellent. (1957, 194-95)

The Amunugama school, or kalayatanaya, was one of the first schools (and very likely the first) to teach Kandyan dance to girls. In a 1992 interview

Suramba’s daughter Vaidyavathi recounted that when her father started teaching dance to girls, he “faced a lot of troubles, [with people] saying that he

A History of Kandyan Dance 12] was going to destroy the dance. [| People said that the] Kohomba kankariya dance was not appropriate for women it was not good for females to dance and drum. It was a great shame [laya] for the dance when females danced. It was a disgrace [appakirtiya| to the country [ratata]. But he didn’t listen to those comments.”

Ransina Jothiratne, a highly esteemed dance and drumming teacher, was in the first batch of six girls who trained at Amunugama in the 1940s. When I interviewed Ransina in 1992, she recalled that when she first began studying dance, there was an enormous amount of criticism of girls’ dancing. She was severely admonished by her father (who was a well-known drummer) and by some of her male relatives, who said that it was a “shame” for females to “do what males do.” But Amunugama Suramba encouraged her to study seriously, agreeing to teach her so she could take the exams to qualify as a dance teacher.

Ransina went on to become one of the most esteemed Kandyan dance and drumming teachers in the country, holding a position at a prestigious girls’ school in Kandy. She was also the only woman I knew who had established her own kalayatanaya, in the town of Hanguranketa.

Kandyan Dance, Chitrasena, and the Oriental Ballet Kandyan dance, kankariya dance, and the oriental ballet were three parallel streams of dance that existed in Ceylon in the 1940s. The third stream of dance, the oriental ballet, 1s a genre of dance-dramas that incorporate Indian, European, and Ceylonese techniques. In Sri Lanka the oriental ballet was largely pioneered by the dancer Chitrasena, who 1s often referred to as the father of the modern theatrical dance.*? Chitrasena’s career spanned more than fifty years, and he and his wife, Vajira, were unquestionably the most famous urban dancers of the twentieth century. Although Chitrasena was not primarily concerned

with the presentation of traditional Kandyan dance on stage, he did incorporate Kandyan dance and drumming into many of his productions.*! Chitrasena, whose birth name was Maurice Dias, was born into an upperclass, English-educated family near Colombo. His father was Seebert Dias, a well-known Shakespearean actor and drama producer. In the 1930s, like many young, urban, English-educated men of his generation, Chitrasena was inspired by Rabindranath ‘Tagore, and, as a result, he desired to study dance and music in India. However, his father, who was well versed in traditional Ceylonese dance and folk drama, insisted that Chitrasena first study Kandyan dance with traditional dance masters (Chitrasena 1987, 44). In 1934, at the age of thirteen, Chitrasena began his studies with a berava teacher named Urapola Banda, with whom he trained for two years. During the late 1930s Chitrasena continued his

| 22 A History of Kandyan Dance study with two berava ritual masters from the Kegalle tradition, Algama Kiriganitha and Muddanava Appu. In 1940 Chitrasena was initiated in the ves bandima by Algama Kiriganitha at a ceremony in Algama. ‘To my knowledge, Chitrasena was the first high-caste male performer to receive the ves. Apparently, when Chitrasena first performed in public wearing the ves costume, he encountered the hostility of both the educated elite and many of the traditional dancers. In a 1987 interview Chitrasena described the reaction of the Sinhala urban elite of the 1940s to Kandyan dance: The Western educated minority adopted an alien vencer. ‘The urban intelligentsia looked to the West for their spiritual gurus and anything indigenous was looked upon with snobbish disdain or at best with naive curtosity. ‘Lo them the Kandyan dance belonged to the maduwa [ritual hall]. ‘Uhey referred to it as devil dancing. Their concepts of theatre and the artiste were wholly dictated to by the West. ... lremember performing in towns like Matale, Kurunegala, Kalutara, Moratuwa, and so on and being actually hooted off the stage. I was there dancing in the traditional Ves costume. When I did the same dances, but in Indian costume, the response was totally different. ‘hese were the strange anomalies I had to face — the complexes of a people totally alienated. (Chitrasena 1987, 43)

Following his training in Kandyan dance, Chitrasena went to India, where he studied dance over a period of about ten years. His first visit to India, in 1939, was to Travancore to study kathakali with the modern dancer Gopinath.

From there he traveled throughout the subcontinent, studying a variety of dance forms at dance institutions 1n the cities of Lucknow, Lahore, and Almora,

among others. In 1945 Chitrasena went to Shantiniketan to study ‘Tagorean dance, which allowed him the “freedom to create” individualized dance styles. Chitrasena was also greatly influenced by the Indian dance innovator Uday Shankar and the American modern dancer Isadora Duncan. Chitrasena was not interested in “preserving” traditional dance, instead basing his approach on the idea that “outside” influences were necessary to keep art vital (Chitrasena 1987, 44 47).

Chitrasena became known throughout Ceylon, especially in Colombo, where his studio in Kollupitiya became a major center of dance and music. Although much influenced by modern Indian dance as well as Western dance, Chitrasena always maintained close links with the traditional Kandyan dancers, especially his teacher Bavilzamuva Lapaya and his drummer Punchi Gura (and later 8S. M. R. Makehelvela). Drawing from the traditions of Kandyan dance and drumming and “extending” those traditions as he thought suitable, Chitrasena was influential in introducing some Kandyan (as well as much Indian) influence to the dance theater.

A History of Kandyan Dance LZ During the period when Chitrasena first began producing his oriental dance in the 1940s, Indian dance forms were also becoming increasingly popular. Well-known Indian dancers visited Ceylon, including Uday Shankar (in the 1940s and 1950s), Ram Gopal, ‘Tara Chaudri, and Menekkha (Breckenridge 1987, 18). Che famous Kerala dancer Gopinath even operated a dancing school on Laurie’s Road in the heart of Colombo.

The influence of India permeated the dance productions of Ceylon’s urban elite dancers of the 1940s and 1950s. As Premakumara Epitawala, one of Chitrasena’s students and a key figure in Ceylon’s theatrical dance movement, told me: “In the 1940s people of this country saw on the stage many dancers who were influenced by India. Even the ballets and other things — short stories were Indian. ‘Vhe Horana school, Sri Palee, inaugurated by ‘Tagore got down teachers from India. .. . [T]he stories, costumes, dancing, and music were all Indian.”

Dance productions of the 1940s and 1950s were based on themes from Indian epics and myths, as reflected in the names of the dances: Rama-Sita, Dance of Arjuna, and Radha-Krishna. Dance techniques were drawn from both North and South Indian dance forms such as kathakali, bharata natyam, and manipurt. Dancers also performed syntheses of Indian and European styles.

In 1948 De Zoete noted: “If a dancer shows conspicuous talent, he is sent to India, preferably to S[h]antiniketan, to study, and returns with his ideas considerably embrouille [confused],” which in De Zoete’s view “leads to superficiality, and a mixture of styles” (1957, 35).

The oriental ballet was largely an art for middle- and upper-class performers. During the 1940s there was a hierarchical division of labor between the berava dancers and their elite students and between venues of “high” and “low”

performances. While Chitrasena, Premakumara Epitawela, and other elite dancers organized, choreographed, and danced in ballets for the urban stage, the berava dancers performed largely in tourist venues, for weddings, and for other ceremonial occasions. Although the berava taught dance to these performers behind the scenes, they were rarely, if ever, featured in the performances

of the elite ballets. Rather, the berava, lacking English education and appropriate caste and class standing, were dependent on middle- and upper-class English-educated mediators for arranging their performances in other venues. Indeed, the “obsequiousness” and village habits of the berava were apparently an embarrassment for some elite dancers while on tour (see, e.g., Ghitrasena 1987), and even in the 1990s middle- and upper-class dancers remarked to me how embarrassing it was to see some of the berava performing “for tourists under na trees” or “like beggars” for tourist performances. Chitrasena told me in one interview that he never performed for tourists, and it 1s clear that such

124 A History of handyan Dance performances were considered unsuitable for middle- and upper-class dancers, a view that is still prevalent today. For the traditional Kandyan dancers, the primary significance of the oriental dance recital and various ballets of the time was in granting the genre of dance a measure of prestige. While dance 1s still regarded as “lower” than the other performing arts by some in Sri Lanka, Chitrasena and his students did much to give status to a derided profession. Chitrasena was also important to some of the traditional dancers as someone who accorded them respect within the artistic community. Chitrasena’s admiration for both the Kandyan technique and the dancers 1s unquestioned, although dancers differ in their evaluation of the aesthetic transformations he has wrought. Although Chitrasena was somewhat of a controversial figure among traditional Kandyan dancers, his wife, Vajira, who became the most famous woman dancer of Sri Lanka, was highly respected as an artist by virtually all of the traditional Kandyan dancers

I knew.

Nittawela Gunaya, Icon of Kandyan Dance Nittawela Gunaya is indisputably the most famous Kandyan dancer of the twentieth century. Both Sri Lankan and foreign observers alike have had nothing but praise for this small, mustached, unimposing man whose presence on stage was apparently electric. In the 1920s Gunaya had danced for ‘Ted Shawn in Kandy; in 1937 he was featured in the Heritage of Lanka. In 1948, at the Independence Day celebrations in Colombo’s ‘Torrington Square, he was invited to perform a solo of the Turanga (horse) Vannama on stage, for which he received much acclaim.*? By the 1950s Gunaya’s image could be found on numerous pamphlets issued by tourist agencies and on calendars, posters, and advertisements in rural villages and in Colombo (Bowers 1956, 97). He was famous for his performances for tourists on cruise ships, which frequently docked in Colombo at a time when Ceylon was considered one of the most appealing tourist destinations in the world (Bowers 1956, 84). Indeed, Gunaya, dressed in his elegant ves costume, was perhaps the most photographed individual in Ceylon, exceeding even film stars and politicians (Dhanapala 1962, 190). During his illustrious career Gunaya toured the world as the star dancer of the Ceylon National Dancers, performing in Europe, Russia, the United States, India, China, and Japan (Dhanapala 1962, 186). Dancers from abroad, including Indian performers such as Uday Shankar, Ram Gopal, Shanta Rao, Gopi-

nath, Menaka, and Ragini Devi, came to Ceylon to watch Gunaya perform (Dhanapala 1962, 188 89). On Independence Day, February 4, 1950, a postage stamp of Gunaya titled “Kandyan Dancer” was issued by the government of

A History of Kandyan Dance [20 Ceylon.** Even today, many of the images of the Kandyan dancer, including the popular papier-maché statuettes sold in the government crafts emporium and found in many middle-class homes, are images of Nittawela Gunaya. Nittawela Yakdessalage Gunaya was born and raised in a berava family of Nittawela, a village near Kandy. Gunaya’s teacher was his elder brother Nittawela Ukkuwa. Ukkuwa was also regarded as an exceptional dancer, though most dancers I interviewed told me that Gunaya was the more charismatic of the two. Ukkuwa had considerable exposure to foreigners, as he had been with the Hagenbeck circus and lived for three years in Europe, chiefly in Germany (De Zoete 1957, 70 71). Ukkuwa was one of the first berava performers to teach dance to non-berava in the 1920s, when he taught the de Silva children, and later in the 1930s, when he taught Miriam Pieris. Like Ukkuwa, Gunaya also performed for many foreign audiences. In the 1920s Gunaya, like his elder brother, had a stint with the Carl Hagenbeck Circus, in which he was billed with “The Wild Man of Borneo” as “The DevilDancer from Ceylon” (Bowers 1956, 97). He was also among the first to teach Kandyan dancing to women and foreigners. He was one of Chandralekha’s teachers, instructing her in Colombo for about six months. He also taught the famed Indian dancer Shanta Rao while in Colombo (Dhanapala 1962, 18990). From his youth Gunaya was interested in stage not ritual dancing, and he was primarily a stage performer throughout his life.4°? Gunaya commanded audiences like no other Kandyan dancer before or since. His stature as a major figure in postcolonial Ceylon is evidenced by the inclusion of his profile in D. B.

Dhanapala’s (1962) compilation of biographical sketches of the individuals who contributed most to the development of the new nation. Despite his fame, Gunaya was noted for his modesty. When Faubion Bowers, an expert on Asian theater and dance, visited Gunaya at his home village in the 1950s, he found him “smiling, amiable, modest and unaware of the prerogatives to which similar attainment entitles other artists in other countries” (1956, 97). He lived in very modest circumstances, and Dhanapala notes that he was, in fact, “exploited” and often “treated not as a great master but as a mean servant” (1962, 191). Indeed, some dancers told me that he was, in fact, impoverished by the end of his life.

The Ceylon National Dancers The Ceylon National Dancers of which Nittawela Gunaya was the star member was founded in 1946 by a group of dance enthusiasts who wished to sponsor dancers for tours abroad as well as to help promote the study of dance

126 A History of handyan Dance in Ceylon.*° It was largely because of this troupe that Kandyan dancing became known outside of Ceylon and India. In its early years (the troupe continued performing until at least the 1970s, though the personnel changed) the performers were primarily male berava dancers, including Gunaya, his nephew Heenbaba Dharmasiri, and Sri Jayana, a dancer from the Amunugama trad1tion. The core dances of the performances were the Kandyan vannamas, 1ncluding (as translated into English) the King’s Walk, Horse and Rider, and Death Flight of the Butterflies, performed in both the traditional and modern styles. Low-country dancers also performed a fire dance and masked dances derived from the low-country ritual traditions.*/ The first performance of the Ceylon National Dancers was at the Independence Day celebrations in 1948. In 1948 the troupe also toured Ceylon schools

to teach and to promote the study of dance among the youth. In 1949 the troupe toured India for six months, where they danced at the Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Sarnath and Bodhgaya. ‘The troupe had its first world tour in 1958, including performances at ‘Ted Shawn’s Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in New York City, where they were sponsored by the Asia Society. ‘The New York performances were reviewed in major dance periodicals and in the New York Times. P. W. Manchester, for instance, writing in the Dance News, described Gu-

naya as a performer of “enormous dignity and an apparently undiminished agility” (1958, 9). Over the next several decades the Ceylon National Dancers toured throughout the world, including to Europe, the United States, and Latin America.

Conclusion The period from 1875 to 1948 was a time of dramatic change for the berava dancers and the Kandyan dance as the venues for dance shifted from the kankariya maduva to the Asala Perahara and onto the stage. Although the dancers were employed (and sometimes exploited) for a variety of purposes by cultural “outsiders,” mcluding the Ceylonese urban elite, the emerging nationalist chmate also provided them opportunities to create new identities as bearers and teachers of traditional Sinhala culture. While in most situations in the early decades of this period the berava performers were clearly subordinate to others, by the 1930s and 1940s a few such as Amunugama Suramba had begun, with the help of elites, to establish their own dancing schools. By 1948, the year that

Ceylon attained independence, Kandyan dance had become a well-known stage form, and Colombo was a major site for its development.*®

Despite its fame, however, Kandyan dance had yet to become widely recognized as a major symbol of Ceylonese or Sinhala culture, and, despite the

A History of Kandyan Dance L227 accolades of foreigners, it struggled for legitimacy as an art among the Colombo elite, who held Indian and European dance forms in higher esteem. Dancers with promise were sent to India to learn Indian techniques, while the Kandyan dancers were still viewed disparagingly as untutored provincials. Sym-

pathetic Kandyan elites, particularly S. L. B. Kapukotuwa, who had studied Kandyan dance for many years, attempted to promote the traditional dance by introducing it into the schools, but there was little support for the effort. In fact,

in January 1949 Kapukotuwa told Beryl De Zoete that genuine interest was only in “oriental” (presumably Indian) dancing and that “sackfuls of Kandyan musical instruments” lay unused in government offices (1957, 108). With the exception of a few government schools, 1t seemed that the state had little commitment to the teaching of Kandyan dance. At the time it would have been difficult to envision that within less than a decade the dance would be embraced by the state and passionately promoted as a key symbol of Sinhala culture.

—+--—______ Dance, Ethnicity, and the State If there is no dance, and no Buddhist temple, then there is no Sinhala nation. Peter Surasena

HE POST-INDEPENDENCE PERIOD in Sri Lanka, particularly the period after the watershed year of 1956, when Sinhala nationalist 8S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike came to power, saw the development of Kandyan dance as a symbol of Sinhala pride, taking its place as the national dance of Sri Lanka. While in the 1930s and 1940s Kandyan dance had come to symbolize, along with “oriental” and Indian dances, a rather diffuse “indigenous” culture opposed to that of the British and the anglicized elite, after 1956 Kandyan dance assumed a new role as a symbol of “national culture,” that 1s, the culture of the Sinhalas. ‘he words above, spoken by well-known Kandyan dancer Peter Surasena during an SLBC radio interview in 1987, boldly articulate the domimant conception of dance in Sri Lanka that has largely shaped its development since the 1950s.!

Since 1956 the state has been the most influential proponent of Kandyan dance.? The dance 1s a well-established subject in the school curriculum, and 1s taught in almost every school in the Sinhala-dominated southern and central regions of the country. In order to meet the demand for Kandyan dance teachers, a number of aesthetic teacher training institutes have been established. ‘These include the university-level Institute of Aesthetic Studies and the institutes for teacher training at Bellwood and Giragama in the Kandy region. Dance teachers also participate in advanced teacher training courses at Meepe in the south. In this chapter | examine the emergence of dance as a central symbol of Sinhala cultural identity and explore the role and consequences of state patronage and promotion. As the roots of dance as an ethnic symbol can only be 128

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 29 understood in relation to Sinhala and ‘Tamil ethnic politics, | begin my discussion with early Sinhala nationalism and the cultural revivals of the 1930s and 1940s. For it was not only the Sinhalas who used dance to confirm the existence of a unique culture and identity. It appears, in fact, that 1t was the Jaffna ‘Tamils who first employed dance as a key expression of “culture.”

Early Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism Sinhala Buddhist nationalism has its origins in the late nineteenth century. In the 1890s and early decades of the twentieth century, the charismatic lay Buddhist reformer Anagarika Dharmapala sought to wrest the Sinhalas from their subordination to the British through a vigorous campaign emphasizing the superiority of Buddhism over Christianity. In the 1910s Indian nationalism began to influence Ceylon, further stimulating the Sinhalas to begin the process of actively constructing and celebrating their cultural heritage. As Michael Roberts has documented, there were “several shades of indigenist revivalism,” with “publicists such as Ananda Coomaraswamy and Mudaliyar A. Dissanaike[,] ... explicitly syncretist in their formulations, seeking to blend the good features of Western civilisation with those of the East/the island,” while “others sought to deny the West, more or less wholesale” (1979b, 230). Cultural “revivalism” thus took many forms, with some, such as Goomaraswamy and the Ceylon Social Reform Society, stressing an “all-island and even broadly ‘Eastern’ order of revival,’ while others “stressed more particularist and sectional ethnic interests” (Roberts 1979b, 229). These multiple and contradictory efforts at “in-

digenous” revival were reflected in the ways in which Kandyan dance was to develop over the next several decades.

Dance and Ethnic Identity: Cultural Renaissance among Sinhalas and Tamils In the previous chapter I noted that the 1930s marked the beginning of a period during which Kandyan dance became known and patronized by Colombo elites. ‘The recognition and embrace of traditional dance in Colombo was part of a general climate of what was termed a “cultural renaissance” among both the Sinhalas and the ‘Tamils that emerged in part as a result of increasing ethnic (“communal”) tensions between the two groups.* While this cultural shift of interest was referred to as a “renaissance” and a “revival,” thus suggesting that these cultural traditions had “died,” 1t is more accurately defined as a discovery by Colombo English-educated elites that indeed there existed a vital dance tradition that had been thriving in the villages without their notice.°

130 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State Given the Sinhala ‘Tamil conflicts of the twentieth century, it is important to emphasize that ethnicity has not always been a divisive factor in S11 Lankan society. In the late nineteenth century, 1n fact, the “divisive forces” were religion and especially caste, and “these caused divisions among the Sinhalese themselves rather than dividing the Sinhalese from the other ethnic and religious eroups in the island” (de Silva 1981, 369; see also Rogers 1994). Another significant division was between the low-country and Kandyan Sinhala communities, a major factor in the politics of the early part of the twentieth century.° In fact, in the first half of the nineteenth century, upper-caste Kandyan Sinhalas had much closer social ties with upper-caste Jaffna ‘Tamils than they did with their Sinhala-speaking counterparts in the south. As Hoole et al. point out for this

period, “it was natural for members of the Kandyan upper class whom the British wished to apprehend, to seek refuge in Jaffna without feeling in any way aliens there. An older generation of the Kandyan upper class was quite happy with its children seeking spouses of the right caste in Jaffna, rather than in the low-country” (1990, 67).’ Indeed, elite politics of Sri Lanka in the early decades of the twentieth century was marked by harmony between the Sinhala and ‘Tamil leadership: “In the political jargon of the day there were two majority communities, the Sinhalese and ‘Tamils, and the minorities were the smaller racial groups” (de Silva 1981, 387). However, the situation changed fundamentally after 1922, “when instead of two majority communities and the minorities, there was one majority

community the Sinhalese the ‘Tamils now regarding themselves increasingly as a minority community” (de Silva 1981, 387). Yet, even as late as 1939 the historical strength of Ikandyan ‘Tamil relations was such that the ‘Tamil politician R. Sri Pathmanathan attempted to persuade Kandyan members of the State Council to join an alliance of minorities by citing Kandyan ‘Tamil connections: “I claim friendship with the Kandyans, for the ‘Tamils and Kandyans formed an ancient alliance. ‘Vhe Kandyan aristocracy in olden days was ‘Lamil in origin and even now, there 1s a great friendship between us.’’® For the most part, however, the polarization of Sinhala and ‘Tamil communities as well as the growth of anticolonial sentiment increased so that by the 1930s and 1940s both communities were engaged in cultural revivals. The Sinhala and ‘Tamil revivals took on a competitive tone, with the Sri Lankan ‘Tamils often claiming cultural superiority over the more anglicized Sinhala elite (Russell 1982, 108). Both communities were motivated by fear that the other would dominate: the ‘Tamils because of their clear minority status vis-a-vis the Sinhalas; the Sinhalas the “majority with a minority complex” because of their anxiety about their status vis-a-vis the South Indian and Sri Lankan ‘Tamil communities.!? However, ‘Tamil “communalism” was (at least

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 131] during the period 1931 47), according to Russell, more “self-conscious” and “explicitly motivated by fear of Sinhalese assimilation” (1962, 108), while the Sinhala revival was fueled more by “the energy and confidence of the Buddhist resurgence” than by fears of ‘Tamil domination (1982, 100).

This general movement toward the construction of an ethnic identity by both Sinhalas and ‘Tamils set the stage for the cultivation and presentation of “traditional” and “authentic” arts. In this sphere the ‘Tamils clearly took the lead. As Russell notes, speaking of the early 1930s, “The one aspect of their culture to which the Ceylon ‘Tamils seem particularly attached, and which played an important part in the renaissance of ‘Tamil culture in Ceylon, was the puranic ‘Tamil forms of music and dance” (1982, 120). ‘Vhe close identifica-

tion of ‘Tamil culture with dance and music and the recognition of the necessity for their cultivation occurred at least two decades before a similar Sinhala “wesuvecnce.-"47

There are several reasons why the Sri Lankan ‘Tamils were, at an earlier stage, more “advanced” in their concern and ability to cultivate the “traditional” arts of dance and music. First, in general, the ‘Tamil elite of the early twentieth century, in contrast to the Sinhala English-educated elite, were much less alienated from their so-called traditional culture.'*? Although the ‘Tamils had embraced English education, they had “eschewed the anglicised life-style which their Sinhalese counterparts of similar educational attainments adopted so enthusiastically” (de Silva 1981, 351). A Hindu revival had taken place among

‘Tamils during the nineteenth century, and the leader of the revival, Arumuga Navalar, had founded a Hindu Saivite school in 1849 50, “long before the first Buddhist schools were started” (de Silva 1981, 352).

Second, the Jaffna ‘Tamils were, at the close of the nineteenth century, heavily influenced by the reformist and revivalist movements in India. In the realm of the performing arts they had looked to South India for inspiration, drawing on the revitalized traditions of dance and music there. ‘Vhis recognition of the importance of the arts thus resulted in the establishment of several institutions in Jaffna to support aesthetic studies. In the 1920s the ‘Tamil political leader, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, established an arts institute, the Parameshwara Academy, where South Indian classical (Carnatic) music and bharata natyam were taught. ‘The 1920s and 1930s saw the formation of several arts

societies, such as the Jaffna Oriental Studies Society and the Jaffna Oriental Music Society (Russell 1982, 121). At the 1931 inaugural meeting of the Jaffna Oriental Music Society, Nevins Selvadurai spoke of the close cultural ties be-

tween Jaffna and South India: “In literature and music, the ‘Tamil people of North Ceylon, who are culturally one with the people of South India, have a rich heritage. National culture should form the basis of instruction in our

32 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State schools. ‘Tamil boys and girls should be instructed in the ‘Tamil language, literature and Indian music.”!°

Interest in South Indian music and bharata natyam increased to such an extent that by the mid-1930s “the study of occidental music and dance had been replaced by Carnatic music and Bharata Natyam dance in the curricula of most colleges in the [| Jaffna] peninsula” (Russell 1982, 122). ‘Tamil artists were highly respected in Jaffna: ““Uhe long, arduous and rigid self-discipline necessary to acquire an expertise in Carnatic music and Bharatha Natyam dance endow the artist in these mediums with an immense respect and renown” (Russell 1982, 121). Promising students from Jaffna were sent to India to study under South Indian teachers (Russell 1982, 136). By the 1930s the ‘Tamil elites, unlike their Sinhala counterparts, not only had established institutes of arts training but also had developed a high level of appreciation for “their own” dance and music, which was identified almost exclusively with the “classical” traditions of Carnatic music and bharata natyam. In the middle- and upper-class segments of Colombo ‘Tamil society, being ac-

complished in these two arts was “considered essential for a young Tamil woman making her arangetram [debut] into ‘Tamil society” (Wilson 2000, 36). Indeed, ‘Tamil pride in music and dance was evident to such an extent in the 1930s that Russell argues that when ‘Tagore, in 1934, urged a Ceylon ‘Tamil audience

in Jaffna not to follow the example of the Sinhala elite, whom he described as being “in the vagabondage of imitation,’ he was to a great extent “preaching to the converted” (Russell 1982, 136). The feeling of superiority of ‘Tamils toward the music and dance of the Sinhalas was vividly expressed in the words of a ‘Tamil journalist named Nathaniel who wrote in the Morning Star: “That ‘Tamils should dance to the tune of a people who are perhaps the most musicless in the world 1s unthinkable.” !* ‘here is little doubt that such attitudes of ‘Tamils

regarding the superiority of “their” arts and the strength of “their” culture tapped into a strong sense of Sinhala cultural inferiority among elites that was a legacy of British colonial rule.!°

Kandyan Dance and the Sinhala Revival of 1956 While by the 1930s ‘Tamils had already established a strong sense of identity through South Indian music and dance, the English-educated Sinhalas of the same period were still enmeshed in adulation for Indian music and dance, largely unaware or uninterested in the dance and drumming traditions of their own country. Indeed, even in the late 1950s Arthur Molamure noted that the lack of support for Kandyan dance was “inevitable with a public disinherited from its own culture and set adrift, deficient both in knowledge and sensibility,

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State [33 inclined, more often than not, to be contemptuous of indigenous art” (1956, 29). Although the Gandharva Sabha, the ’43 Group, and especially the performances of Nittawela Gunaya drew attention to Kandyan dance in the 1940s, it was not until the 1950s and particularly in the period following 1956 that the dance received the much-needed patronage of the state, primarily through the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education. Although the government had begun to encourage the teaching of Kandyan dancing in some of the larger Central Schools in the 1940s, it was in the 1950s that state support for dance increased dramatically. In the 1950s, berava dancers by the hundreds were hired to teach in the government schools, the system of kalayatanayas was established, and the government College of Fine Arts at Heywood added dancing and music to its curriculum.!° A major turning point in the development of Kandyan dance, one that likely ensured the domimance of berava performers in years to come, occurred in 1954, when the post of inspector of Kandyan dance was established. Initially, the position was given to Chitrasena, the “modern” high-caste Englisheducated dancer who was well known in Colombo for his oriental ballets that combined Ceylonese, Indian, and Western techniques. However, a protest and boycott against his appointment was organized by two English-speaking elites, the dancer and choreographer Vasantha Kumar and the highly respected musician and government official W. B. Makulloluwa, in support of the traditional berava dancers. As a result, the decision was overturned, and state officials appointed a berava dancer, J. E. Sederaman, to the position (Nurnberger 1998, 176).

W. B. Makulloluwa is considered a pioneer in the field of dance and music and is closely associated with the revival of the Sinhala arts.!’ He was for decades a major figure in the development of Kandyan dance, and was highly respected by the traditional dancers for his deep knowledge of Kandyan tradition. Makulloluwa was himself an accomplished musician who spent nine years at ‘Tagore’s Shantiniketan, where he studied the sitar. He held various positions in the government, including chief inspector of music and dancing (in the 1960s) and director of the research unit of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. As ‘Vissa Kariyavasam told me, “For twenty to thirty years, all of music and dancing was under Makulloluwa.” Because of the respect that the hereditary performers had for him, he was able to bring the different paramparavas together to cooperate, a very difficult task. Makulloluwa convened conferences of teachers from the various traditions in order to standardize the curriculum, and he is credited with systematizing the knowledge of the dancers and drummers and setting up the standards for

examinations. He also engaged in an extensive documentary project in the 1970s, making recordings of the ritual texts of the Kohomba kankartya with

134 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State Tittapajjala Suramba and 8S. M. R. Makehelvela. ‘UVhese recordings are the basis for the English translations found in Walcott (1978). In the 1980s and 1990s, whenever dancers traditional and nontraditional — mentioned Makulloluwa, it was with evident respect. In 1954, with J. Ek. Sederaman, Makulloluwa organized the All Ceylon Dance ‘Teachers Conference at the Uyanwatta ‘Training College, under the auspices of the Department of Education, to standardize the pa (foot) and at (arm) exercises of Kandyan dance (Sederaman 1968, 176). ‘This move to standardize the exercises symbolized the state’s new role in dance as the arbiter of correctness. [he variations that existed among the dance paramparavas were in this one move relegated to a secondary status and over time would have the effect of destroying the uniqueness of the individual hereditary traditions. !® Although in the 1940s and 1950s a few Kandyan dance teachers were employed in government schools, it was not until after 1956 that dance became firmly established in the education system. ‘This watershed year in Sri Lankan history marks the culmination of a period of vigorous anticolonial sentiment and the assertion of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. Politically, it signified the triumph of the rural Sinhala-educated bourgeoisie — schoolteachers, Buddhist monks, landed peasants, and Ayurvedic physicians over the English-educated anglicized elite who had dominated political life smce Independence in 1948. In the general election of 1956, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was swept into power by the rural Sinhalas and the nationalist elite. kollowing the election, Bandaranaike “drenched the country with the aspirations of revivalist Buddhism, a national identity rooted in the traditions and achievements of the pre-colonial past, and a more just and egalitarian social order” (Tambiah 1986, 136). A key rallying point for the SLFP was support for a language policy of “Sinhala only,” making Sinhala the sole official language. ‘Vhis policy effectively excluded all other ethnic groups from

state employment, the major source of employment in the country. ‘he Sinhala-only policy is considered one of the most significant factors in the genesis of the ethnic conflict between Sinhalas and ‘Tamils. !9

Not coincidentally, 1t was in 1956 that the state established the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Since then, the state has pursued a cultural policy dedicated primarily to preserving and promoting the culture of Sinhala Buddhists.

Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism and the Mahavamsa View of History The elements of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism that were rallying points in the 1956 elections are as relevant today as they were then. A striking feature of

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State [39 Sinhala nationalism is that it is ntegrally linked to a single text, the Mahavamsa,

the “great chronicle” of Buddhism. Since the third century BCE Buddhist monks had chronicled the role of Buddhism on the island. In the fifth century CE the Buddhist monk Mahanama compiled these chronicles into a single document, the Mahavamsa. ‘The importance of the Mahavamsa in providing Sinhalas with an anchor and a coherent narrative of their presence on the island cannot be overstated, and for decades Sinhala nationalists have utilized it to leeitimate all kinds of political and cultural claims.?° One idea that infuses the Mahavamsa is that the island of Lanka was chosen by the Buddha as the place where his teachings would be protected and perpetuated and that it was the duty of the king to ensure Buddhism’s protection. Sinhalas thus refer to the island as dhammadipa, or island of the dhamma (Buddhist teachings). ‘The Mahavamsa also narrates the myth of Vyaya and Kuveni, which legitimates Sinhala rule over the island.?! The Sinhalization of Sri Lanka is evident in numerous ways, subtle and overt. Symbols of Buddhism and Sinhala tradition are ever-present at state occasions; for example, Kandyan drumming and dancing are performed at virtually every government-sponsored event. Policies of the state since 1956 have

sought to ensure the protection of Sinhala language, culture, and religion. There are several rationales for these policies. Sinhala is only spoken on the 1s-

land of Sri Lanka; thus, the state must make special provisions to ensure its continuity. ‘The music and dance of the Sinhalas are unique to the island, unlike the music and dance of the ‘Tamils, which are found also in India, so the state must privilege Sinhala arts. Buddhism holds a unique place in the founding of the island; thus, the constitution must ensure its protection. In the realm of cultural policy the state has dedicated itself to the promotion of Sinhala culture. ‘he year 1956 was of such importance in the realm of culture that I quote at length a passage from a UNESCO report titled Cultural Policy in Sri Lanka (1972) by H. H. Bandara, assistant secretary to the Ministry of

Education. In this passage Bandara conveys the feelings of near elation that many Sinhalas felt at the time: The year 1956 was characterized by the merging and the ultimate crystalization of the major forces of genuine cultural interest. It was the year of the Buddha Jayanthi— the 250o0th anniversary of the Buddha’s attainment of Nirvana. It was the year of a silent political revolution which gave the “common man” a sense of self-importance and self-confidence. [here was a definite assurance of recognizing his language and everything that was indigenous. A recent committee of inquiry made the following remarks on the events that took place in and after 1956: “Looking back on the past quarter century historians will be able to say that the real renaissances in

136 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State art and literature in this country began in the year 1956. All the revived interest that existed earlier remained only a potency until the social chimate liberated it to become actual in 1956.” (1972, 13)

In 1956, foremost among the concerns of the newly established Ministry of Cultural Affairs and related ministries (such as education) was “safeguarding cultural heritage” and “dissemination of the arts” (Bandara 1972, 5). Kandyan dance became a required subject in all of the large schools (Bowers 1956, 91), and was elevated to national status by its importance as a tangible sign of a revitalized “national culture.” ‘The phrase “national culture” in the parlance of the day meant Sinhala culture; the ‘Tamils were now considered a “minority,” as were the other ethnic groups. As in many of the speeches and publications of the time, this idea 1s refracted throughout the literature on dance. In dance pubhceations and programs, “culture” now emerges as a unique, bounded entity — something “possessed” by a group of people.?? The ideas of “heritage,” “art,” and “culture” as objects owned by a group permeated the language of nationalist discourse and created a new self-consciousness about “culture” that signaled a radically different understanding marked by the globally pervasive “exhibitionary” mode (see Mitchell 1992). There was in the mid-1950s considerable excitement, discussion, and debate regarding the preservation of “Sinhala tradition” and how it should be adapted to “modern life.” A UNESCO-sponsored conference on “Sinhalese traditional culture” in 1956 drew together a number of scholars to debate what remained of Sinhala tradition, what was worth preserving, and how it should be preserved (Pieris 1956c). In regard to dance there was clearly much sensitivity about the taints of backwardness and irrationality associated with the folk religious aspects of the traditional dance rituals. ‘Uhis was articulated quite forcefully by some at the conference who saw the need to “liberate” the dance from its low-caste roots and purge it of its ritual elements: There is a group of arts whose practice 1s based on myth and superstition.

Bal ceremonies and fowl [a healing ritual] are examples of these. The prospects of their survival, assuming that they are desirable for cultural purposes, are bleak as they are threatened on the one hand by diminishing

numbers practicing them as an occupation and on the other hand by the extension of scientific education which 1s making people increasingly critical of these practices and sceptical of their usefulness. It would be psychologically unsound to encourage the serious practice of superstition and the survival or revival of these has surely to assume a different complexion from the survival or revival of other arts and crafts. (Jayasuriya

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 137 That it was Sinhala traditional culture in particular that needed to be promoted was a view widely held by Sinhalas. As former Ambassador to Ceylon Howard Wriggins observed in 1960, “Many Sinhalese . . . consider their culture fragile, requiring unusual defenses if it 1s to survive in proximity to the vigorous ‘Tamil culture and in the face of insistent European influences” (1960, 240).*° Thus, “itis popularly held that since ‘Tamil culture is so strong, it needs no state aid. ‘There has therefore been a growing pressure to use the resources of the Ceylonese state for nurturing a purely Sinhalese art. Politicians have sought favor in their constituencies by urging the use of state funds to promote a cultural revival. ... Understandable ‘Tamil reluctance to allow all cultural funds to go to Sinhalese cultural development has caused irritation among Sinhalese” (Wriggins 1960, 240 41). As Wriggins succinctly points out, “Cultural revival, particularly among the

Sinhalese, led them to identify the greatness of Lanka with the Sinhalese alone and to feel that their culture was threatened by the presumably more vigorous Tamil” (1960, 241). It is notable that in his discussion of cultural revival, Wrig-

gins includes Sinhala dance and theater as exemplars of Sinhala “cultural heritage,” remarking, “loday, despite the impact of Westernization, Sinhalese dancing and theatre are impressive for their vigor and tradition. ‘Vhe Kandyan dance, though clearly of Indian origin, has, in its present form in Ceylon, a justified reputation for its vigor and rhythm, the strength of its dance forms, and exciting accompaniment” (1960, 230).

The equation of Sinhala with “national” was pervasive in the field of dance. Sinhala dances were referred to as “national” dances. “National” dance troupes, such as the Geylon National Dancers, were made up only of Sinhalas performing Sinhala dances. An unselfconscious use of the word “national” or “Ceylonese” to denote “Sinhala” is found in many of the books and articles on dance that were written in the 1950s and 1960s, and the equation of “Ceylon” with “Sinhala” was reproduced in a variety of media, including dance performances, programs, posters, and speeches.

Print Media and the Popularization of Dance: Udarata Natum halava (The Art of Kandyan Dance) Sinhala books have played an important role in promoting Kandyan dance as Sinhala culture. In the heady climate of Sinhala nationalism in the 1950s and 1960s, berava dancers and local scholars published a number of books on Sinhala ritual and dance, especially the Kohomba kankariya and Kandyan dance. ‘These books extol Kandyan dance as one of the high points of Sinhala culture

and laud the traditional dancers as sources of cultural wisdom. ‘The most

138 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State influential book, Udarata Natum kalava (The Art of Kandyan Dance) by J. E. Sederaman, includes in the introduction a statement by Ananda Guruge, a state official, that exemplifies this perspective: Kandyan dance is a unique part of the Sinhala cultural heritage. It occupies the highest place among the arts that express the variety, vitality and maturity of Sinhala culture [samskrutiya|. ‘Vhe fact that Kandyan dance has a long history enables us to see it as an expression of the nation’s creativity, nurturing power, and dynamism. .. . The dance teacher we meet in a rural village is an unrivaled custodian of our country’s heritage. ‘The cultural treasure that he possesses 1s equivalent to the knowledge contained in the books of a first-rate library. (Guruge 1968, 1; trans. by H. L. Seneviratne)

J. E. Sederaman hailed from a Kandyan berava ritual family, the Madana paramparava, that was well known for its performances of bali, a Buddhistic healing ritual held in honor of the planetary deities. ‘The Sederaman family dance school, which De Zoete visited in the 1940s, was situated in Pujapitiya and even at the time De Zoete notes that the school received some aid from the state

(1957, 94).2t Sederaman was highly traveled: he had lived in France for several

years and also had spent time in Europe with Hagenbeck’s circus (De Zoete 1957, 09). Udarata Natum Kalava was his sixth book on dance.”°

Udarata Natum Kalava is not a critical history of the dance but a description

and codification of the dance tradition derived from the knowledge of traditional dancers. ‘The source materials for much of Udarata Natum halava were the

prized palm leaf manuscripts of the berava dancers. Sederaman naturally drew a great deal from the Madana tradition, but he also drew on the knowIledge and manuscripts of other well-known dancers, including ‘Tittapajjala Suramba.*® However, it 1s clear that the publication of these jealously guarded manuscripts was by no means universally welcomed by the traditional dancers. The fear of losing control over dance knowledge was real, as noted in Guruge’s introduction: We would like to inform the reader that several acclaimed dance masters have expressed displeasure as well as fear about freely publishing some of the material contained in this book. ‘They fear that making public the knowledge that has thus far remained the preserve of the different dance

lineages would desecrate the science [sastra]. As the dance had been handed down not for its entertamment value alone but as benevolent ritual [santikarma], this fear is justified. ‘Their belief is that some dance acts must be performed only according to ritual dictates. We accept this position too. It is essential to respect the views of the old dance masters especially regarding the sections that we have described as classical or vedic. Despite this we included these sections in this book for one reason. If we did not

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 139 commit these traditions to print, it 1s possible that they would die with those aged dance masters living in the rural villages. We hope that this step we take for the sole purpose of scholarly preservation will not lead to a disrespect of the science and we ask for the support of dance lovers in order to preserve the tradition. (Guruge 1968, v; trans. by H. L. Seneviratne)

The importance of Udarata Natum halava can hardly be overstated, as it 1s easily the most popular book on Kandyan dance in Sri Lanka. ‘The book 1s still used in government schools and advanced training centers, and virtually all of my main consultants not only possessed a copy of it but would on occasion even refer to 1t during interviews in order to provide me the “correct” answer to a question. It 1s, in short, regarded as the definitive Sinhala text on Kandyan dancing. While much of the book focuses on details of ritual and dance, there are also passages in which Sederaman addresses the issue of the origins of the dance, defending Kandyan dance as a uniquely Sinhala creation, and arguing against charges that it is derived wholesale from Indian or ‘Tamil culture. It 1s not surprising that in the climate of the times Sederaman felt compelled to address these issues, nor 1s 1t surprising that his responses are framed within dominant Sinhala nationalist conceptions and the Mahavamsa view of history. Sederaman’s writings, like those of other dancers in this period, understandably reflect the prevalent mood and concerns of the Sinhala cultural renaissance. Ethnicity and the idea of distinct Sinhala and ‘Tamil cultures are major organizing concepts embedded in the text, projected onto the past. In the following passage on the vannam dances, it 1s telling that Sederaman’s response to charges that Kandyan dance 1s not uniquely Sinhala 1s framed in ethnic terms: The people who think the art of Kandyan dance 1s a ‘Tamil creation try to present their ideas conclusively without researching history. If the Sinhalas

could produce an independent language, literature, painting, sculpture, and crafts why were they unable to have an independent music and art of dance? ‘The people who say that because of Buddhism the art was not developed have no knowledge regarding religion or history.

The ancient Sinhalas were not at all hesitant to borrow from Indian culture. But they made the borrowed item their own by giving it a national appearance. he same thing happened in the case of the vannamas. ‘They didn’t imitate the ‘Tamil vannamas blindly. By borrowing only the rhythm from these [Tamil] vannamas they fashioned Sinhala vannamas to suit their own environment, basing them on their national and religious stories. (Sederaman 1962, 108-9)

In other passages, Sederaman employs colonialist ideas of race, stressing the so-called Aryan identity of the Smnhalas. Udarata Natum halava and other

140 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State dance texts thus reveal in vivid fashion the intertwining of culture, ethnicity, and nationalism so cogently analyzed by Handler (1988), Spencer (1990c), and Seneviratne (1997), and the ways in which contemporary concepts of ethnic and national identity are employed to interpret the past.

The Power of the State: Bureaucracy and the Professionalization of Dance Education ‘The state’s desire for Kandyan dance teachers in the immediate post-1956 pe-

riod resulted in a flood of dancers being appointed to government teaching posts in a very short period. According to ‘Vissa Kar1yavasam, while in 1958

there were only eight government dancing teachers, in 1959 60 the SLIP government created six hundred new positions. In the rush to expand dance education throughout the island the government did not discriminate. As Kariyavasam recalls, ““Uhere were a lot of unqualified teachers. . . . At that time, anyone who could dance a few steps and play a drum could teach.” Although these new teachers were mostly berava ritualists, they were required to teach according to the syllabus devised by the Ministry of Education. One of the most significant outcomes of making Kandyan dance a national symbol was the intervention of the state in dance training. ‘The bureaucratic apparatus of the state education system with its rules, codes, and formal procedures has had a profound effect on the development of Kandyan dance.

The establishment of a uniform state curriculum has created uniformity among the dance traditions and resulted in the loss of the uniqueness of each paramparava’s style and technique. INSTITUTIONS

The significance of Kandyan dance to the state can in large part be measured by the considerable investment made in promoting the dance through integrating it into the school curriculum. Both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs are involved in the promotion of Kandyan dance. ‘The education ministry trains and certifies dance teachers, while the cultural ministry 1s responsible for the administration of private dance schools known as kalayatanayas. In 1972 aesthetic education was made compulsory, and students were required to study art, music, or dancing (Bandara 1972, 37).2’ Kandyan dance is among the most popular aesthetic subjects and is today taught at almost every school in the Sinhala-dominated regions. The Sri Lankan education system is highly centralized, with syllabi and exams the same throughout the country. ‘The system in secondary schools 1s

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 14] modeled on the British system, in which students sit for exams for subjects at

the Ordinary (O) and Advanced (A) levels. Both government and private schools as well as kalayatanayas train students for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) O and A levels and for the JNSV (Gandharva) exams.?° In the late 1980s, university degrees in Kandyan dance, low-country dance, and Sabaragamuva dance were offered at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Colombo, and there were three major advanced training institutes: Bellwood ‘Training Institute and Giragama Aesthetic ‘Teacher ‘Training Institute in the up-country and Meepe in the south. DANCE IN PRIMARY AND SEGONDARY SCHOOLS

In the 1930s and 1940s the Lanka Gandharva Sabha, a private organization whose aim was to popularize North Indian classical music and Kandyan dance, established the standards for certification of dance teachers. ‘The Gandharva Sabha set up a series of three exams primary, intermediate, and final — which were given annually. Although the exams were administered by a private organization, they were recognized by the Ministry of Education, and the certificates awarded enabled candidates to qualify for appointments as music and dancing instructors in the government schools (Bandara 1972, 33). In the 1960s the Ministry of Education took over the administration of the Gandharva exams. ‘These exams, now officially termed Jatika Natum Sangita

Vibhaga (National Dance and Music Exams, or JNSV), are still used by the state in granting teaching certification, and in the late 1980s they were accepted in leu of Ordinary and Advanced level exams. In fact, in terms of the “practical” (performance) skills required, the JNSV exams are considered to be much more demanding than the O and A levels. At the Giragama Aesthetic ‘Teacher ‘Training Institute in 1987, for instance, only about 10 percent of those enrolled were certified at the O or A level in dancing; the overwhelming preference was for those who had completed the more rigorous JNSV final. In 1977 IKKandyan dancing became a subject for the O level exams. At that time the qualifications for O level consisted of knowledge of the twenty-four exercises and five or six vannamas. In 1978 A level exams in Kandyan dancing were added to the curriculum of secondary schools. ‘The A level exam is much more heavily focused on knowledge of the arts of the Kohomba kankartya. THE INsTITUTE OF AESTHETIC STUDIES The Institute of Aesthetic Studies (IAS) 1s the premier higher education institution in Sri Lanka for dance, granting Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in

142 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State Kandyan, low-country, and Sabaragamuva dance as well as degrees in art and music.*9 In the 1980s and 1990s the institute was focused primarily on the preservation of the traditional Sinhala dance forms. ‘The curriculum for third- and fourth-year Kandyan dance students was based almost exclusively on the Kohomba kankartya, the result of berava dominance in the school from its early years.

The predecessor of the IAS was the Heywood College of Fine Arts, established in 1952. ‘The official name of the institution was the School of Fine Arts (Rajaya Lalita Kalayatanaya), but everyone referred to 1t as Heywood because it was housed at the former Heywood residence at 46 Horton Place in the prestigious neighborhood of Colombo 7. In 1952 Pani Bharata, a berava dancer from the Algama tradition in Kegalle, was appointed by Heywood’’s first principal, J. D. A. Perera, to be a lecturer and head of the dancing section. In the late 1930s and early 1940s Pani Bharata had taught and performed with Perera’s wife, Chandralekha. For more than two decades, until 1974, the only dance form taught at Heywood was Kandyan dancing. Berava dancers dominated the teaching at the

school from its inception. Of the fourteen teachers originally appointed to the dancing section, twelve were from the berava caste. Pani Bharata selected the teachers: they were, as Kartyavasam told me, “his relations, his community.” In 1974 Heywood was elevated to university status as the Institute of Aesthetic Studies. In an interview in the late 1980s, Chitrasena told me that the shift to university status was largely a Sinhala response to the fact that the University

of Jaffna had begun granting degrees in bharata natyam, an example of the Tamil Sinhala cultural competitiveness that had begun in the 1930s. In 1979 the JAS was affiliated with the University of Kelantya. Sri Palee, the dance school in Horana that had been inaugurated by ‘Tagore in the 1930s, was taken over by the government and became part of the IAS, which now had two

campuses. First- and second-year dance students took classes at the Sri Palee campus, while third- and fourth-year students attended classes at the main campus on Horton Place. ‘The first director of the IAS was Dr. ‘Tissa Kartyavasam, an academic with a scholarly interest 1n ritual. Pani Bharata remained as the head of the dancing section. Dr. Kartyavasam, who was still director of the IAS in the late 1980s, told me that the most important change in the history of the school came about when it was elevated from a kalayatanaya to a university in 1974. From that point on the students who were selected for admission shifted from those of the berava caste to those of higher castes, especially the majority govigama. In 1979 80, for the first time, students admitted to the IAS were required to have passed their Advanced level exams in dancing, a requirement that was instituted in order to

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 143 raise the educational standard of the students admitted to the university, placing them on par with students at other universities.

Ritalin, Unieory-atrtire IAS: “We Teach Them in the Old Way” The first- and second-year dance students at Sri Palee, seated on mats on the concrete floor of the large classroom, took notes, applauded, and laughed uproariously at the performance of the handsome mustached and muscular dancer in the role of a young mother, cooing at, cuddling, and feeding her baby. Outside, the sun shone brightly on the luminous grounds of the former rubber plantation. The occasion was a daytime demonstration of the rata_yakuma, usually held as a night-long ritual to protect expectant mothers and to help barren women conceive. Gommentary by one of the institute’s lecturers was interspersed with the performance by one of the finest practitioners of the genre. Students asked questions and recorded the performer’s and lecturer’s responses in their exercise books in an earnest attempt to grasp what they'd need to know about the ritual for their exams. When I first visited the IAS in 1988, I was surprised by what I found. Expecting to see the most modern of dance forms taught at this urban university school, I found instead a very traditional curriculum focused almost entirely on ritual dance and music, and what were termed “affiliated” ritual arts such as the preparation of ritual altars. As I discovered, the curriculum for the JAS, designed by Pani Bharata and other berava dancers in cooperation with Dr. Karityavasam, had been consciously modeled against pressures to modernize the dance. As one of the institute’s veteran teachers, Vaidyavathi Rajapakse,

told me in 1992: “It 1s only at the rural kalayatanayas and at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies where the traditional [sampradayanukula] dance 1s taught. We don’t teach any ‘modernized’ |navikaranaya| dancing. At the moment, [the IAS] is the only place where the traditional dance is taught at the highest level;

there are also three or four village kalayatanayas run by old gurunnanses where the traditional dancing 1s taught. As a teacher I would say that we teach

them in the old way. We won’t let them be modernized as long as we are

here. Running counter to the dominant tendencies to create a theatrical dance, this ritual-centered curriculum stands as a challenge to the tastes of the middle classes. While it 1s the case that the imposition of an institutionalized and bureaucratic system resulted in an inevitable decontextualization of the ritual practices, the fact that such practices the singing and memorization of texts, the sequence of ritual dances, and so on were preserved at all, particularly

144 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State within a state institution, 1s quite striking, given the ambivalent, if not overtly negative, view taken toward such practices by a large number of the elite.

Students in the dancing section of the IAS receive their BFA in one of the three Sri Lankan dance traditions Kandyan, low-country, and Sabaragamuva~ while minoring in a second. By all accounts, the curriculum 1s extremely demanding, requiring students to learn not only the ritual dances but also lengthy ritual texts and elaborate drumming patterns. ‘Vhe curriculum for third- and fourth-year students in Kandyan dance reads like a compendium of kankartya palm leaf texts (o/a), including virtually all aspects of the ritual. In

addition, students are expected to learn about such ritual arts (designated as “affliated arts”) as the carving of masks, and the building and decorating of ritual altars.

To familiarize students with rituals, the institute has sponsored ritual performances such as the gammaduva (a large village ritual), the Sanni yakuma (a healing ceremony) of the low-country, and the Kohomba kankariya. ‘[rvaditional ritual performers are invited to perform in classrooms at the institute. In 1988 I observed the aforementioned rata yakuma at Sri Palee, and on the Colombo campus I documented a full-length Kohomba kankartya that was performed over a three-day period (described in chapter 6). As at every dance institution in the 1980s and 1990s, the overwhelming majority of IAS students were women.*? Not surprisingly, among the JAS students I interviewed in the late 1980s there was a general consensus that in many ways the IAS dance curriculum was anachronistic. While the students all showed much respect for their teachers, 1t was also clear that they did not feel that the ritual-based curriculum was sufficient for their needs. One student, for example, noted that there was more respect for dancers at the institute because, unlike dancers at kalayatanayas who were associated with santikarmas (benevolent rituals), the institute students performed in ballets and stage performances. ‘This same student also noted that the university students studied

Englsh, suggesting that their higher status was related to their pursuit of “modernity. >! When I interviewed the top students of the institute, 1t was evident that they

felt the ritual curriculum was too limited. As one young woman told me, “Learning the rituals won't be of much use to us when we leave.” Instead, they wanted to study more about teaching techniques, choreography and creativity, stagecraft and television, drama, ballets (mudra natya), and other dance forms such as bharata natyam, kathak, and Western dance. In the view of one student, “The younger generation is more adapted to the style of the modern ballet.” Students spoke of wanting to be “free to create” and to perform on television and in innovative performances that include dramatically expressive

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 145 elements such as Lagna Dolaha, a dance that depicted the twelve signs of the zodiac. A few expressed the view that the four-year course of training in Kandyan dance at the university (which was preceded by years of training for their A levels at schools and, in some cases, kalayatanayas) was sufficient: “There 1s no point in studying Kandyan dancer further.” ‘The dance for these students had become, as one said, “monotonous” — they wanted to build and expand on what they had learned from the traditional teachers. The students expressed great appreciation of what they had learned from the traditional dancers about rituals and were glad they had been exposed to them. Prior to their studies at the university, most of the students had never seen any of the rituals performed. Many told me that through their studies at the IAS they became convinced of the psychological (manastka) efficacy of the rituals, and they enjoyed seeing the dances in their “natural” setting. However, of the handful of male students at the IAS, only one or two intended to practice the rituals once they graduated.*” The only viable profession for a dancer in Sri Lanka 1s as a dance teacher. Most of the students at the university planned to teach in government schools, while a few of the more ambitious wanted to establish their own kalayatanayas. In Sri Lanka, government employment is considered secure and desirable, and the profession of teaching is viewed as especially suitable for women, as the teaching schedule allows time for the care of children and other domestic duties. In the late 1980s the economic status of state dance teachers was fairly good. The average salary of a government dance teacher in 1987 was approx1mately 1,500 rupees per month ($50), which was considered a moderate salary. Dance teachers also received a pension from the state upon retirement. Some male dance teachers supplemented their teaching incomes by performing in ceremonies such as weddings, peraharas, state-sponsored performances, and rituals, for which they were paid varying amounts depending on the sponsor and duration of the performance. A few performed 1n tourist troupes, most of which paid their dancers by the performance (up to 25 rupees per performance). Teachers at kalayatanayas registered with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs are not allowed to charge tuition to the students. As the financial support from the ministry 1s hardly sufficient even for the purchase of necessary equipment such as drums and costumes, some of the better-known schools received financial support from private individuals. ‘Traditional dancers often complained that most students, even at the university level, were interested in dance training primarily as a means to get a job and not to further the art. Jayantha Aravinda, a highly respected musician and the principal of the Giragama Aesthetic ‘Teacher ‘Training Institute, told me that in his view the main problem with dance training in Sri Lanka was “the

146 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State domination of the syllabus.” All dance classes, whether at government or private schools, or at kalayatanayas, follow the syllabus, since attaining the necessary qualifications for the examinations 1s the overriding goal of most dance students. he most popular kalayatanayas are those that can help the student pass the examinations. KALAYATANAYAS AND STATE REGULATION

Private village dance schools, known as kalayatanayas (a general term for arts schools), are an important part of the dance training network. Village schools were first established to enable the traditional dancers to pass on their arts by teaching in their home villages, and thus the “kalayatanaya system” 1s generally associated with traditional ritual dancers. State support for the kalayatanayas appears to have originated in the 1950s, when six village dance schools were

given support by the government Arts Council’s panel on Kandyan dance (Pieris 1956a, 11). In the early years of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (established in 1956), it seems that sympathetic state officials provided support not only for the dance but also for the community of berava dancers. Grants were given to “needy artists” who were in a “state of destitution” (Bandara 1972, 33).°° Although the schools are private, they are registered with the cultural ministry, and, in order to receive financial support and recognition, they are subject to regulation by the state. Kalayatanayas specialize in one or more of fifteen aesthetic subjects, including Kandyan, low-country, and Sabaragamuva dancing, music (Western or “oriental’), drumming, and painting. Every affiliated school is Gn theory) to be examined each year by an official of the cultural ministry and given a grade based on a very specific set of criteria, detailed below. Financial support given to the school depends on the grade it receives in these evaluations. In 1987 the support allocated for kalayatanayas was 1,000 rupees per year for an average school, 1,500 rupees for a good school, and 2,000 rupees for a school of the excellent (“super-grade”’) rank. Although this aid 1s rather minimal, considering that schools cannot charge tuition, the prestige and recognition by the state are important. ‘The highest ranked kalayatanayas are proud of their rankings and strive to maintain them. ‘The annual regional and national competitions between kalayatanayas are intense. ‘here are hundreds of private dance schools throughout the country registered with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. In 1987 forty-one schools specializing in Kandyan dance were registered in the Kandy district, making Kandyan dance by far the most popular aesthetic subject offered.

The two state authorities for dance the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs — maintain control over what should be taught and

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 147 the conditions under which teaching should take place. ‘Vhe cultural ministry 1s empowered to regulate the private dance schools. In the late 1980s the officials

at the Kandy office of the cultural ministry traveled almost daily to these schools to evaluate them. ‘Vhe ministry maintains a file on each school. The Handbook for Private Kalayatanayas (Paudgalika Kalayatana pilibanda Atpota,

1985) published by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, establishes the minimal standards for each type of school. ‘he handbook lists the following items that each Kandyan dance school must possess: a bar for dance exercises (dandiyama), two Kandyan drums (gata bera), two pairs of cymbals (talampota), two pairs of silver anklets (silambu), two brass ring percussion instruments (panteru), two hourglass-shaped drums (udakki), one conch shell, and accessories for folk dancing. For administrative purposes each kalayatanaya must have a book for registering students, an attendance book, a log book, timetables, a notice board, a syllabus, a book of instruments, a register of teacher qualifications, a file containing circulars from government offices, a nameboard of the school, and a file containing information regarding the activities of the school. The number of classes is specified by the ministry: “Classes should be held at least on two days of the week for five hours’ duration. However, the school has permission to close for such events as religious occasions, cultural events, harvesting seasons, and so on. However, at least ninety classes should be held within or during one year.”*+ Schools are given numeric scores 1n each of the following categories: building and official requirements, possession of relevant accessories and equipment,

number of students, number of staff, number of classes held, exam results, competition results, participation at competitions, number of public performances, and participation in ceremonies and public events. Each school is graded and ranked as either average, good, or excellent (“super-grade”) depending on their numeric score (see appendix 2 for details of criteria for grading). Grading affects the amount of state aid that 1s awarded to each school, though the differences between the levels are so minimal as to be almost negligible from a financial point of view. ‘The emphasis on participation in ceremonies and public events is particu-

larly important in terms of the state’s use of private schools for its own purposes. [he heads of the private schools are often called upon to provide dancers for state ceremonial occasions, both major and minor. Here it appears that the state has replicated a kind of feudal arrangement in which the dancers — as

servants of the state are essentially required to participate in various state functions.

‘The power of the state in the regulation of the dance schools 1s clearly considerable, and relationships between cultural ministry officials and the dance

148 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State teachers and students at kalayatanayas ranged from cordial to antagonistic, depending on the individuals involved and on the contexts of their encounters. ‘There 1s no question that dancers felt subordinate to the ministry officials. Indeed, the subordinate relation of dance schools to the ministry 1s made patently clear in the final pages of the Handbook for Private halayatanayas. ‘Vhere, un-

ambiguous criteria are given for cancellation of a school’s registration with the munistry:

1. Breaking of the rules mentioned above [in the handbook] will lead to cancellation. 2. If aschool receives less than the minimum number of marks consecutively for two years, 1t will lead to cancellation. 3. If no student 1s able to pass the examinations consecutively for two years, it will lead to cancellation.

4. If the instructions published by a circular of the cultural ministry are not successfully carried out, it will lead to cancellation.

This last statement refers, among other things, to the power of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to summon the dancers to participate in any state function required. My questions to dancers about their relationship with the cultural ministry elicited a wide range of responses. Sometimes the power of ministry officials was resented by the dancers. Particularly at issue was the power of ministry officials to evaluate the quality of the schools: dancers sometimes felt that evaluations were made on political and personal rather than aesthetic grounds. As in all bureaucracies, the opportunities for preferential treatment and favoritism existed. The majority of ministry officials were not qualified as dancers or dance teachers but received appointments on the basis of their education and other criteria. In 1986 one prominent dance school was humiliated in a contest when it was given false information about the number of dances that should have been performed. On the basis of its low score in the contest, its high ranking overall was threatened. ‘The teachers at the school were furious, suspecting that they had been tricked and their “demotion” orchestrated by some officials within the ministry. The power of ministry officials to call on kalayatanaya dancers to perform for state occasions was also at issue. Some of these performances, which I witnessed, involved the dancers performing in ways they considered demeaning. ‘The resentment was especially strong among the traditional dancers, who take pride in their ritual roles and feel that much of the “modern” dance is superficial exhibition. ‘Vhey told me that they could not refuse to participate, even in such “degrading” performances, due to the power of the government officials.

Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 149 Although some officials are respected by the traditional dancers, others are quite ignorant of the traditions and, as I observed, treated the dancers with obvious disdain. On several occasions government officials merely ignored the dancers and their views.

On one occasion, for example, many of the Kandy district kalayatanayas

were required to bring their students to participate in a rehearsal for a government performance organized by the Ministry of Sports. ‘The event, which included scores of dance students from schools from throughout the Kandy district, was to be filmed for a state television broadcast. ‘The theme of

the performance was “Fitness through Dance.” Rather than performing in their usual costumes, the dancers including some older generation senior performers were required to wear brightly colored costumes that were provided for the dancers and drummers. ‘The costumes, particularly for the males, were a new style, deemed by many to be ludicrous. Several of the traditional dancers with whom I spoke mentioned the absurdity not only of the “modern” costumes but of the dancers’ participation in this type of event— their disdain for these kinds of superficial shows was clear. When I asked whether they could have refused to participate, one said warily, “Well, one does not refuse.” As teachers they are bound to the state, and failure to participate can lead to temporary suspension or worse —a dreaded transfer to a remote area. However, dancers also told me of the many kindnesses of some of the offcials of the cultural ministry. ‘The level of cooperation between dancers and officials varied a great deal and depended largely on the knowledge and tact of the official. Certain officials such as W. B. Makulloluwa (who, importantly, was a Kandyan) were held in high esteem by the dancers, as were some of the other knowledgeable high-level radala and govigama administrators from Kandyan families. Indeed, 1t appears that knowledge and mutual respect are the qualities that the dancers used to evaluate the extent to which they would cooperate with the “state.” While they could never blatantly refuse to perform, the duration and quality of a performance could be dramatically affected by the dancers’ perceptions of an event and the state officials who had organized it. Performing for a knowledgeable and receptive audience was deemed highly satisfying, while being brought in for state occasions only to be “used” (as in the Ministry of Sports event) was merited an offense, a “service” to be done quickly. On a more mundane level, some dancers also complained to me about the general requirements for dance schools such as the kinds of equipment that are required. Ransina Jothiratne, for instance, who was the only woman I knew who owned her own kalayatanaya, told me that the emphasis on material items like a notice board or anklets was absurd, deflecting attention from the more 1mportant issues such as the quality of the artistic achievements of the performers.

150 Dance, Ethnicity, and the State Conclusion The story of Kandyan dance from the 1930s to the 1990s 1s one of struggle for legitimacy and recognition. ‘There is no doubt that the state’s support for Sinhala traditional dances has been essential to their survival. Given the disdain of the Sinhala elite toward the ritual-based dance and dancers in the 1930s and 1940s, 1t seems clear that without the intervention of the state, supported by the efforts of some individual patrons, the dances would have likely disappeared. The ritual-based curriculum for Kandyan dance (for A levels and at the university level) that was produced through the collaboration of berava dancers such as J. E. Sederaman and Pani Bharata with elite administrators such as W. B. Makulloluwa and ‘Tissa Kartyavasam remains an enduring legacy of this formative period of Kandyan dance. In 2005 the Institute of Aesthetic Studies became the University of the V1sual and Performing Arts. ‘Vhe university’s current syllabus, created in 2007, reveals that significant changes have been made in the curriculum since the time of my field research (the following information is from the university’s website).°° While in the 1980s and early 1990s students could only major in one of the three Sinhala regional dances (Kandyan, low-country, and Sabaragamuva),

they now have the option of majoring in “Indian and Asian dance” a category that includes kathak, bharata natyam, kathakali, and manipuri dance. As well, within the stream of “Sinhala National Dance (Sinhala Paramparika Nartanaya) students can specialize in one of the three regional forms, but they also have the option of specializing in “Oriental Ballet and Creative Dance (Mudra Natya ha Nirmana Nartanaya).” ‘The curriculum for the three Sinhala classical forms has also expanded and now includes options for the study of “Oriental Ballet,” “Creative Dance” (Nrmana Nartanaya), and “Creative Dance for Cinema and [’V.” ‘These developments in the curriculum would certainly be applauded by the young dancers I interviewed in the 1980s.

+--—_______ Performing the Nation The Berava and kandyan Dance

MONG THE TRADITIONAL Kandyan dancers a story circulates about the son of Nittawela Gunaya, the nation’s famed dancer of the 1940s and 1950s. After Gunaya’s death, it 1s said, the son destroyed all evidence of his

father’s profession, even burning, in an act of desecration, his most prized possession, the sacred ves headdress that had been conferred on Gunaya at his initiation ceremony. Dancers recount this story to illustrate the shame and the suffering that even the most publicly esteemed of traditional dancers have experienced for more than fifty years. For even as their aesthetic legacy, the Kandyan dance, has been elevated as a national symbol of Sri Lanka, the traditional dancers and their families have increasingly become marginalized within the sphere of national public culture. At least, this 1s part of the story. Another part of the story 1s that, for over four decades, from the 1940s to the 1990s, the traditional berava dancers largely dominated the field of dance teaching, the only viable profession for dancers in Sri Lanka. While they have often suffered from caste and class discrimination, the elevation of their practice to national status has also provided some space for social mobility and redefinition. In this chapter I analyze this process through a historical and ethnographic approach that contextualizes the perspectives and practices of the berava per-

formers. While I wish to privilege the voices of the berava, voices that are rarely, if ever, heard in the ever-present discourses on Sinhala cultural nationalism, I also seek to place those voices within the wider context of changes in Sinhala culture. By examining the perspectives of the berava in relationship to the state and a bourgeois culture of “respectability” in Sri Lanka, I hope to demonstrate how subalterns engage in a variety of ways with the dominant culture of nationalism that permeates Sinhala and Sri Lankan society. !

es

[52 Performing the Nation ‘The central focus of this chapter 1s an exploration of how the dance, once regarded solely as the province of low-caste berava males, became respectable within the context of Sinhala nationalism. I identify three major factors as critical in this process: first, the “classicization” or “rationalization” of dance practices to conform to moral ideals of discipline and order; second, the participation and patronage of key elites who, in part, used the dance to support their

own cultural and political interests; and third, the adoption by the dancers themselves of “proper” modes of conduct and dress and their shift from deferential to assertive modes of relationships with higher castes. In the second part of the chapter I explore the obstacles the dancers have faced, despite the increased respectability of the dance, to gain respectability for themselves. ‘This section focuses on caste discrimination, education, and the lack of elite patronage. Finally, I discuss the plight of the berava dancers and assess what the nationalist appropriation of their practices has meant for their community.

The Classicization of Kandyan Dance In order to achieve its classical status, the Kandyan dance, undergoing the familiar nationalist project of “cultural laundering” and sanitization, had to be severed from its roots in the postharvest ritual of the rural, village-based Kohomba kankariya. Elements of the dance that connoted “backward” village tradition were largely erased so that Kandyan dance might be made respectable through classicization, a project of the state from the 1950s. Related to the Weberian concept of “rationalization,” classicization involves the removal of traces of superstition, irrationality, and barbarism from traditional practices to make them palatable for middle-class tastes (Chatterjee 1993, 127).? Within the state dance bureaucracy, along with the elimination of “superstitious” elements, classicizing ritual dance was largely accomplished by structuring dance practices in accordance with ideas of orderliness, systematicity, and discipline. Syllabi were constructed to outline in considerable detail the specitics of dance exercises and the sequence of dances to be learned. Standardized exams were constructed for Ordinary and Advanced level certification as well as for the BFA degree in Kandyan dance offered by the University of Kelantya. The restructuring and “disciplining” of the dance are viewed by many of the traditional dancers as constraining and limiting the practice of dance. In contrast to the berava, many of the middle-class and upper-class dancers viewed this standardization of dance quite positively. Middle-class standards for stage dancing stressed uniformity among dancers, although this does not appear to have been a concern for traditional performers.* Middle-class dancers view traditional methods as lacking systematicity; their ideological investment

Performing the Nation [53 in seeing their ways as “progressive” and “developed” entails that they view traditional methods as inferior. Characterizing earlier training styles, some highcaste dancers spoke of how “educated” people had “rescued” the dance from

the unsystematic approach of the traditional dancers, giving it a form and structure that it lacked. ‘Uhe need to discipline the dance and control the traditional dancers was often expressed by middle- and upper-class performers and officials. Some high-caste dancers I interviewed were resolute in their view that dance had been “developed” to a “higher level” since the elite dancers became involved in state dance education. Such a view, for example, was expressed by Mrs. 8., a teacher at a prestigious Kandy girls’ school, speaking of W. B. Makulloluwa: “It was Mr. Makulloluwa who developed a systematic method for teaching drumming rhythms. ‘Uhe traditional dancers just danced and drummed to the natural rhythms. ‘They didn’t have any kind of system; they Just beat [gahuva| the drum.”* In discussing the transformation of the dance, middle-class dancers often spoke in oppositional terms, contrasting their modern methods with those of the berava dancers. Middle-class dancers characterized their dance as orderly, progressive, and developed (diyunu, the ubiquitous term for “modernity” in Sri Lanka) m contrast to the disorderly, backward, and undeveloped (nodzyunu) methods of the traditional dancers.

Elite Patrons and Dancers While the classicization of the dance contributed to its acceptance as a respectable practice, equally important was the patronage of elites and the participation of elite dancers. Indeed, some of the Kandyan elites, the traditional patrons of the berava, became part of the state dance bureaucracy, thus directly aiding in the classicization process through their influence on the school curriculum and in choreographing items for the state dance troupes. From the mid-1930s to the early 1960s elite patrons were pivotal in helping to establish Kandyan dancing as a legitimate art. ‘he motivations of these patrons were both cultural and political, related to regional and ethnic loyalties. While I cannot go into detail here regarding these motivations, it 1s important to note that the patrons of Kandyan dance were drawn almost entirely from the Kandyan and Burgher elite two groups that were politically marginalized in the pre- and post-Independence periods. At the most general level 1t appears that the Kandyan interest was largely in asserting that the “true” and “authentic” Sinhala culture was Kandyan culture (as opposed to the culture of the politically dominant low-country region), while the Burgher interest appears to have been rooted in a desire to demonstrate support for “traditional” Sinhala

154 Performing the Nation culture, perhaps as a means of showing loyalty to the dominant ethnic group at a time when Burgher political power was diminishing and their allegiance to the nation was being questioned.” In the 1940s and 1950s elite Burgher patrons such as George Keyt and Lionel Wendt helped to establish and promote one of the first Kandyan dance schools at Amunugama. Kandyan elites knowledgeable about dance served as government officials in the education and cultural ministries and were thus able to help support and popularize the dance through official channels. For example, it was a Kandyan, S. L. B. Kapukotuwa, a high official in the department of education in the 1940s, who first introduced Kandyan dance into the government schools, and in the 1950s 1t was another Kandyan, W. B. Makulloluwa, who established

the standardized curriculum for dance education. In 1956, at a UNESCOsponsored conference on “traditional Sinhalese culture,” 1t was a Kandyan aris-

tocrat, Arthur Molamure, who argued forcefully for state patronage of the dance (see Molamure 1956). Elite patronage of the berava dancers contributed significantly to their ability to attain some measure of respectability. Indeed, most berava are the first to acknowledge that it was largely through the interventions of the elite, the “big

people” (loku minissu), that they were able to succeed in gaining positions of some status and power within the larger society and within the state dance bureaucracy. Pani Bharata, the first head of the dancing section at the universitylevel Institute of Aesthetic Studies, told me in an interview that the success he was able to attain in the dance world was entirely due to his association with the loku minissu. Indeed, all of the dancers who have attained some stature in the world of Kandyan dance had elite patrons from Colombo or Kandy who supported their dance schools, publicized their performances, and aided in organizing dance tours.

While patrons aided the berava dancers, the performance of Kandyan dance by elites was also enormously influential in granting respectability to dance practice and in some limited measure to the berava dancers. ‘Uhis trickle-

down effect has been noted by a number of scholars in regard to the arts of marginal peoples; elite appropriation of marginal arts has often led to the elevation of those arts and sometimes to tangible benefits for the original practitioners (see, e.g., Feld 1994; Ziff and Rao 1997). In their discussion of the effects of cultural appropriation, for example, Bruce Ziff and Pratima Rao denote this

feature as the “spillover” effect, noting that the appropriated community may benefit from the success of the appropriators (1997, 14). Steven Feld, in a discus-

sion of the appropriation of “world music” by rock stars, discusses the “symbolic respect” and “trickle-down economic payback” generated when highvisibility (white) performers such as Paul Simon bring recognition to “primary

Performing the Nation 155 tradition bearers” such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1994, 239). However, as these authors also note, the spillover effect also makes visible the field of unequal power relations in which appropriation operates. ‘Vhe benefits of appropriation are almost always unevenly distributed, with those at the top accruing more symbolic and economic capital than those from whom they have derived their artistic practices or inspiration. Race, ethnic, class, gender, and caste pre}-

udices are made visible when “respectable” practitioners are able to achieve success 1n fields where marginalized performers continue to struggle. ‘Uhe spe-

cific embodiments of particular performance forms may dramatically affect their reception. Ehte and middle-class dancers, even if performing in a mediocre fashion, may do more to enhance the status of an art form than even the most skilled performance by a socially marginal performer. The social and economic effects of elite appropriation on the communities of origin 1s, however, highly variable. In some instances these communities are

ignored, derided, and shunned; in others they are granted some measure of status and respect as the sources and bearers of ancient or popular tradition. Often, as Michael Herzfeld (1997b) has pointed out, both attitudes are in evidence: the elevation of the marginals as sources of authenticity and cultural purity may coincide with their simultaneous denigration for failing to conform to particular “modern” social norms.

In the case of Kandyan dance there is no doubt that the participation of elite dancers contributed significantly to popularizing the practice of dance, thus enhancing its status — an effect that held some benefits for the berava. Be-

rava dancers I interviewed acknowledged the contribution that urban highcaste dancers such as Chandralekha, Chitrasena, Vajira, and others had on making the dance acceptable to the “big people” of high society, even if the be-

rava dancers did not always agree that the changes these high-caste dancers made to the dance were entirely positive.

Making Dancers Respectable The classicization of the Kohomba kankartya dances had the initial effect of ostensibly elevating the berava dancers to the status of symbols and bearers of a classical Sinhala culture. But this elevation was complicated by a number of disjunctive social “facts” about the berava, most notably, their low-caste status, their lack of formal education, and their association with village rituals to placate the gods and malevolent beings. Classicization inevitably entailed an accommodation of the berava to middle-class respectability in order to survive. The paradox of having dancers who were not respectable serving as symbols

of the nation had to be resolved in some fashion. In the case of the Kandyan

156 Performing the Nation dance, however, the fact that the berava were the holders of a crucial cultural property made the state dependent on them, at least until a new crop of highcaste dancers emerged. How, then, did dancers respond to this new climate in which their practices were being elevated to national status? In the 1940s and 1950s many of the impoverished berava dancers and drummers appear to have eagerly embraced their newfound status as prime bearers of Sinhala culture. For many of these dancers, becoming a teacher ina public school as a civil servant was an enormous boost for their esteem and status. In Sri Lanka, civil service of any kind is regarded highly; employment by the state 1s a virtual guarantee of lifelong employment and of a secure pension on retirement. However, the incorporation of the berava dancers into the educational system clearly was an uneven and uncomfortable process for the berava and the state. Particularly in the early decades, the low caste of the dancers and the behavior associated with it such as extreme deference and shyness to speak, the presence of “village habits” (chewing betel, wearing sarongs), and the lack of formal education created a situation in which the berava dancers were clearly

“out of place.” Over time the most malleable of these village habits have changed, both through the explicit training offered by the state in seminars and training programs and, more broadly, by the growing “embourgeoisement’”’ of Sri Lankan society, in which even the most remote village has been exposed to much that is marked as “proper conduct.”® The state, as the primary patron of Kandyan dance, played a pivotal role in making dancers respectable as teachers and performers. It did so primarily in two arenas: by establishing standards of conduct and comportment for dance teachers and by creating a process of accreditation and certification that would put them on par with the teachers of other subjects. Yet, perhaps unintentionally, this meant that many of the berava dancers hired for their knowledge of dancing and drumming would eventually be marginalized if they did not, or could not, acquire the necessary academic credentials. ‘This, in fact, was the outcome for two of Kandy’s most esteemed dancers: one, a renowned stage

performer, unable to rise above an ordinary teaching position; the other, a famed kankartya ritualist, passed over for a university appointment because he lacked the proper qualifications.

From Yakdessa to Artist: Dress, Cleanliness, and Respectability It is through the seemingly trivial and mundane practices of everyday life that

the embourgeoisement of a culture is made evident (Frykman and Lofgren

Performing the Nation 157 1987). Changes in the conduct and dress of the berava provide ample evidence of this. In the early 1990s, when I conducted interviews with both berava and non-berava dancers, 1t was striking how often dancers cited the improved behavior, character, and appearance of contemporary dancers as one of the factors that contributed most significantly to the enhanced status of dance in society. The bodies of the dancers and drummers were made respectable through dress, hair, and even shoe style; comportment and cleanliness became important in their redefinition as respectable teachers and artists. The redefining of ritualists as “artists” (Aalakarayo) during the late colonial

and post-Independence periods signified a major shift in the orientation of dancers and other performers, granting them a considerable measure of selfesteem (Seneviratne 1978, 166). Even today the term “artist” rather than “dancer” (nattuva) or “drummer” (berakaraya) seems the preferred form of reference the latter terms are used most often when discussing performers in ritual contexts. ‘This shift in terms of reference also symbolizes the fact that dance is now regarded as a profession in Sri Lanka and not merely a service function of the low castes. Peter Surasena, one of Lanka’s most renowned dancers, summed up the characteristics of the ideal artist an ideal largely promoted by the state — as follows: The artist [Aalakaraya| should be a composed | tampat| person. If the artist 1s a tough person, he doesn’t deserve to be an artist. You should be able to recognize an artist at first glance. He shouldn’t look like a coconut vendor. . . .

Not everyone has that quality. There are only a few artists who have the right appearance. There are some like the coconut vendor. . . . ‘he artist should be a very polite person. It 1s then the art 1s preserved and the artist lives with the society. The artist is not someone who lives alone. He is born to entertain the society. ‘Uherefore, he should dwell very carefully . . . beautifully. People who see him should be content. If an artist doesn’t comb his hair or dress well, it’s not good.

The importance of cleanliness and tidiness in dress as a measure of respectability can hardly be overstated in the Sri Lankan context, something that has

also been noted in other nations as a legacy of European colonialism.’ Outsiders to Sri Lanka often note how scrupulously Sri Lankans attend to bathing, cleanliness, and neatness in dress. Of the many habits associated with refinement and respectability, cleanliness was the one most often cited as affecting the status of dancers and drum-

mers. During an SLBC radio interview about the “new generation” of Kandyan dancers, for example, one dancer noted that some people view the drum as “dirty” (Alutuyz) and then remarked: “If you take a drum on a bus, people look at you like you are carrying a rotten piece of fish.” However, when I later

158 Performing the Nation asked other dancers to interpret this quote, they told me it reflected the attitude of an earlier time and then linked cleanliness explicitly with being developed (diyunu):

Earlier there was such an attitude. If a drum touched someone’s body [they were repulsed because] the drum was not taken cleanly... . Now the society has changed... . The drum 1s covered neatly with a clean cloth. The new generation [of performers] 1s responsible for that. Before, a drum was covered with a torn or dirty piece of red cloth. Almost anyone would have been disgusted by it. But now, as the society has developed, there 1s no

difficulty [Aaradarayak na]. Now the performers are clean, they have changed. ‘That is what 1s called development.

Dancers often contrasted the conduct of the younger generation dancers with that of the older, traditional ritualists associated with the village.? Almost universally, dancers saw the shift from village habits to “developed” behavior as positive. [hey often cited the chewing of betel as the paradigmatic village habit now discarded by the current generation of dancers, while the “proper” dancer

was defined by such features as keeping oneself “tidy” and carrying oneself with dignity. Mudiyanse Dissanayake, a high-caste dancer and professor of dance at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Colombo, echoed the views of many dancers I interviewed when asked if there had been a change in the social status of the dance in recent decades: “Earlier there was a time when the bus driver refused to take the person carrying the drum into the bus. But now it is not like that. ‘he dancers and drummers are at a certain social status. ‘Uhe main reason is the artist’s behavior, his conduct. A person’s conduct 1s 1mportant, no matter what that person does. It seems there was a time when our artists’ behavior did not fit in with the so-called elite or ‘civilized’ society. But now it has changed. In short, they now behave better.” Mrs. J., another high-caste dancer and a teacher at a prestigious Kandy school, also commented on the importance of the dancers’ conduct in relation to their social status, relating their lack of knowledge of propriety directly to their lack of education. When I asked if the traditional dancers faced problems of prejudice in the schools, she replied that while those educated at the university gain confidence (“become brave’), “know how to behave in society,” can “move” with the others, and have a feeling of “going forward,” or progress, those with a “lesser education” have to deal with being treated badly: The principal sees the deficiency of a person who has a lesser education. That is why such a person has to face a lot of problems. Because of their weaknesses, their [lack of] education, sometimes our dance teachers are way behind in social customs [sizvirit]. .. . If we go to a public place, if we go there and act properly, we would not be criticized by anyone. But when

Performing the Nation 159 the dancers go out somewhere and behave unsuitably, they put themselves into that situation [of being Judged harshly by others]. ‘That 1s why they are “put in a corner” [marginalized]. Because of how the society views their behavior... most of the time, dance teachers are subjected to insults.

As noted above, the state has played an active role in inculcating the ideals of refinement for dance teachers at its teacher training colleges and in the seminars it frequently holds for dance teachers. As one upper-class woman teacher from Kandy noted: Earlier, people thought that dancing was a job done only by those in traditional dancing families, as 1t was under the feudal system. But now the society 1s very developed, isn’t it? Now people know one can get a degree through this, one can go to a higher position. | Through dance] a woman becomes a beautiful and charismatic person. Even at the training college we are told that a dancing teacher is a charismatic person anywhere in the society. The dancing teacher walks upright, not stooped over, and 1s in good health. So, as people in modern society know these things, they like to look at a dancing teacher now.

The reference made here to “walking upright” 1s a clear allusion to the ways in which comportment signals respect and dignity, a sign of pride that dancers are

supposed to exemplify, in contrast to the deferential postures that were expected of those of low caste. However, being able to “move” in contemporary society 1s something that the older generation of dancers is seen as lacking, as the comments above sug-

gest. The mnocence and lack of sophistication of the older village dancers were often remarked on by the younger generation of dancers, sometimes with sympathy, at other times with embarrassment. One high-caste dancer gave an

example of an instance of “inappropriate” conduct of an old village dancer while at a government dance seminar sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs: If you talk with an old dancer, what they always say 1s that they are not treated well. But what I would say is that you should know how to get that respect. At the meeting the government held for private dance school teachers, [the minister of cultural affairs] came on the last day. While he was there, [one of the old dancers asked the minister], “H/amduruvane [an honortfic], | don’t have a hide for my drum, how can I get one?” .. . Actually, it was not proper to bring up that type of thing on that occasion. It 1s useless to ask a hide from the minister, isn’t it? . .. When they face those problems, what [those old dancers] say 1s that they are not treated well. [Anyway, the minister responded by saying sarcastically], “Nice story [maru katavak|. | haven’t brought a hide now, so you try to find one.”

160 Performing the Nation High-caste dancers tended to be somewhat more critical of such behavior than

berava dancers; the berava, in general, were more sympathetic to the older generation, who in many cases were their own teachers and relatives. Surasena,

for example, often described the old dancers as “innocent” villagers, easily taken advantage of by the “big people.”

Roots, .Respectability,:and Assertiveness In relating to their own dance traditions, berava dancers have not all responded in the same fashion to the new middle-class respectability of dance. ‘Taking on the redefined identity of teacher and artist has meant that some dancers have chosen to identify themselves with their family roots, while others have repudiated them. ‘This repudiation is manifested in a number of ways. Some dancers have chosen to disguise their low-caste origins by changing their names to highcaste names. Others have distanced themselves from any involvement 1n ritual activities associated with the berava, such as the Kohomba kankartya and bali ceremonies. Once while visiting the home of a well-off berava dancer in his village, I learned indirectly through my research assistant that my repeated visits to the family home were becoming a source of tension in the family, as the wife

of the dancer did not want it known that her husband was speaking to me about ritual practices. He was known in town as a “dancing master,” not a ritual performer.’ Many berava took great pains to obscure their caste identity for fear of caste prejudice. On one occasion, when I went to a government office in search of one of my closest dancer friends, | unwittingly created an embarrassment for him by mentioning his father’s occupation to his coworkers. Apparently, although my friend was well known as a dancer in his home region, he did not want the people at his office to know of his berava roots. In interviews some dancers appeared to be embarrassed by or uninterested in my references to their family traditions, changing the subject to talk about other dance matters. In part, this may have been an effort to align themselves with modernity and development.!° ‘The denial or lack of interest in discussing ritual or tradition was most evident among those dancers of the younger generation who were fairly well educated in the formal sense, had some knowledge of English, and had achieved good positions in the state government or in private schools in short, those dancers who aspired most to respectability. One dancer I spoke with was the dancing teacher at Kandy’s most prestigious boys’ school. Although he was from one of Kandy’s most famous dance families, the name he used did not make that apparent. When I interviewed him, he chose to respond mostly in English, though it was clearly difficult for him. He spoke with me most enthusiastically about the number of times he had

Performing the Nation 161 toured abroad a major source of prestige for dancers and the awards his dance troupe had received at national and international competitions. When I asked about ritual traditions, he referred me to others and turned the subject to stage performances. Other dancers, however, had quite the opposite reaction, relishing discussions of their family histories, stories of their training, their experiences of ritual, and their teachers. Indeed, many of the berava dancers, mostly of the older generation, were visibly moved that someone had even taken an interest in their histories; one dancer broke down in tears several times throughout our interview. Another dancer, Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, a female berava lecturer at the university, told me that, unlike many berava dancers, she did not wish to deny her connection to tradition: “If I go toa higher place — to a party or dinner with people who are higher I won’t act like I have forgotten my dance tradition | paramparava|. | would tell them that I belong to a dance paramparava and I am the daughter of Suramba Gurunnanse. I won’t change my name. Not only me, but all the members of my paramparava feel the same. ... Wherever I go, even if I go to see the president, I would say that Iam the daughter of Suramba Gurunnanse in Kandy.”

Paper Officials, Certificates; and Degrees: Marginalization of Dancers through Education One of the sad ironies of elevating the dance to a status of respectability through education was the consequent marginalization of many of the dance’s most skilled traditional practitioners. As several scholars of nationalism have argued, education 1s perhaps the key means through which national citizens are created (see, e.g., Weber 1976). Ernest Gellner, in fact, has argued that education 1s the critical factor in the creation of individual identities under nationalism: “The employability, dignity, security, and self-respect of mndividuals, typ1cally, and for the majority of men now hinges on their education; and the limits of the culture within which they were educated are also the limits of the world within which they can, morally and professionally, breathe. A man’s education is by far his most precious investment, and in effect confers his identity on him” (1983, 36).

This view is emphatically borne out in the case of Kandyan dance, where the acquiring of certificates and degrees has displaced the traditional system of dance education and largely marginalized the traditional dancers. Part of the process of classicizing and rationalizing the dance has been the necessity for state certification of dancers. ‘The highest positions in the dance education system today, such as the head of the dancing section at the IAS, the principal

162 Performing the Nation of the Aesthetic ‘Teacher ‘Iraining Institute at Giragama, and the head of the Aesthetic Educational Institute at Meepe, are all held by high-caste, Englishspeaking artists who hold unrversity degrees. The Sri Lankan state has long prided itself on its accomplishments in education; Sri Lanka’s 88 percent literacy rate is the highest in South Asia and among the highest in all of Asia. Education is viewed as the avenue to success, and education in the English language 1s especially prized. Historically, however, the berava dancers were at an extreme disadvantage in their lack of access to formal education, and virtually none had access to English education. As recently as the 1930s the berava were denied access to formal education, and many berava born in the 1950s and even 1960s were dissuaded from pursuing education because their families stressed the study of dancing and drumming for economic reasons. Even when education became available to berava students, they were not able to gain access to the prestigious “big” schools, and many did not go beyond the elementary grades. Because the traditional occupation of the berava dancers and drummers as ritualists required their participation in frequent all-night rituals, most of them grew up having far less formal education than their peers. In the early years after dance was introduced into the schools, the fact that some of the berava teachers had to use a thumbprint as their signature marked them as less educated than even their youngest students in the primary schools. Even among some of the younger generation of traditional dancers, dance training took precedence over formal schooling. One highly regarded drummer and dancer described how as

a child he frequently missed one or two days of school in order to go and “study” a bali ritual. His teachers reacted with anger: ““Uhose teachers would yell at me, “You cannot do both dancing and attend school.’ Sometimes I also felt ashamed |/ayay2]. But I spent most of my time dancing and drumming. Because of that I could not attend school properly. I failed the exam that year.” The current structure of dance education elevates the “theoretical” aspects of dance over “practical” skills for performers. Many of the berava see little

value in theory; as one dancer put it, “he dance is adequate as it 1s.” The value of theory over practice has an ideological edge, privileging the formal education of the middle-class dancers. ‘This was not always so. In the early years of dance certification the Gandharva exams (later known as the JNSV) were based entirely on the practical skills of dancing and drumming. ‘These exams enabled many of the early berava dance teachers, who otherwise had little formal schooling, to qualify for teaching appointments. However, with the development of the curriculum for the O and A levels

and the BFA degree, much greater emphasis has been put on theory topics

Performing the Nation 163 such as dance and music history, literature, aesthetics, and rhythmic systems. In

secondary schools, for example, two of the required three weekly periods of class time are set aside for theory, while only one forty-five-minute period 1s reserved for dancing and drumming.

Debates among dancers about the relative value of theory and practice exemplify the ideological bases of certification, rationalization, and bureaucratization. Like the discussions of traditional and modern methods of dancing noted earlier, these debates hinge on classed ideological positions in which

traditional dancers are associated with body, emotion, and instinct and the middle-class dancers with mind and reason. Many berava dancers were marginalized by this emphasis on theory and the stress on a more academic approach. Several of the younger traditional dancers, in fact, seemed to view theory as a weapon used by high-caste dancers, especially the university grad-

uates, to assert their superiority in the fields of dance and drumming. ‘The berava resented and at times felt intimidated by how these university graduates would use theory to argue against the traditional dancer’s interpretations of dance history, for example. However, recognizing that higher education, and especially a university degree, 1s the route to higher status, some of these same berava dancers have pursued teacher-education certificates and university education. The elevation of theory over practice is exemplified by the life history of Peter Surasena, considered by many to be the most accomplished stage per-

former of his generation. Recognized as a star from an early age, Surasena danced with his brother Heenbaba in Colombo in the 1940s. After his appointment as a teacher to a school in Kandy he continued to perform daily in his own tourist show along with the occasional weddings and tours abroad. Year after year, even into his late fifties, Surasena was awarded the honor of “best dancer” in the famous annual procession, the Kandy Asala Perahara. He has also been the Kandyan dance teacher for prime ministers and presidents of Sri Lanka. Like many of the traditional dancers, Surasena dedicated himself to performing and did not seek to attain a high level of formal education. In one of our interviews he spoke passionately of how he and other traditional dancers have been marginalized for their lack of “paper” credentials. ‘Uhe refer-

ences to dancers in “pants” are noted as signs of the younger dancers’ purported modernity: SURASENA: Now, everyone descends [bahinava] into pants. Every artist wears pants, dance is now a pants-wearing art [Aalissam natum kalava|. ‘The people who are stranded [ataraman vela| are the people who preserve the art. ‘They still wear the vett? and the banian,'! unpretentiously [ahinsaka vidihata]... .

164 Performing the Nation They are the ones who preserve the art. Now it is hard to foresee the future of dance. One thing I did not know was that it 1s important to get papers [certificates] in order to progress 1n the field. ... AuTuor: Certificates [sahateka]? 5: Certificates. I just danced. People say, “Surasena, you dance very beautifully” but then push me away. Another day they would say, “Surasena, you dance very beautifully, but we expected you to dance more, why didn’t you dance more? Why did you finish so soon?” ‘Then tomorrow they forget me. I danced, I smiled [/zna una]. If some food was offered, I ate it, then left. I didn’t get the papers. The people who got the papers prepared are the people who came after us... . Now it is those “paper officials” [Aadadahi niladhari| who are the dancers. There is no place for the person from any traditional dancing family in Sri Lanka. Not in the education department, not in any other department, no positions. he only thing 1s to become a dance teacher.

The person who knows English treats the dancer as an uneducated person. They earn money by intimidating and pressuring the traditional dancers. I have sufficient knowledge of English in order to do my work, so that hasn’t been a problem for me. But it’s a real problem for other dancers because they lack knowledge of English and because they didn’t have the time to study [for certificates] while preserving the art. ‘That is why the artist is stuck in that situation .. . [and] branded as an uneducated person. ‘That is the only reason the dancers are marginalized in society.

The people with papers have benefited. The certificate has an influence, even though that person cannot dance, sing, or drum. As he has the certificate, he goes directly to the front [of the room] and sits in the chair. ‘he person who has been dancing and drumming [all of his life] doesn’t have access to that place. So, has a status been given to the art? Only that certificate holder has been given status. Recently, the Ministry of Education recruited teachers with university degrees in dancing. They have the degree, but they can hardly dance. Now what’s happening here is not done to preserve the art. It’s [ just] a job. A: You don’t think that’s progress? S: No, 10s a devastation [venasayak]. In India there are training centers for dancers. But here they learn two or three dances at school, one or two vannamas, get through the [school] exam, sit the Gandharva exam, then get a teaching appointment. ‘There are no training centers in Sri Lanka now. Earlier, students were trained in dance schools [Aalayatanayas] in villages. Gurunnanse made them dance through the night until morning, in order to preserve this. Now, at schools, it 1s taught in about thirty-five to forty minutes. Then they go to the higher classes and write the exam. But 1t was not how they brought up pupils in those days, to preserve the dance. ‘They were made to dance in the night by the light of the lamp, giving respect to the teacher. There is no respect to the teacher now.

Performing the Nation 165 Respectability and the Persistence of Gaste Discrimination Even when the traditional dancers conform to ideals of respectability in dress and behavior and acquire certificates and some formal education, they may still be treated poorly. Berava dancers have long been subject to both overt and covert caste discrimination at schools and performances, especially in the Kandyan region. Some dancers characterized those who hired them as “twofaced,” treating them well in public (since overt caste discrimination is not acceptable in Sri Lanka) but privately regarding them with disdain. ‘Uhe persistence of discrimination is something that many of the dancers noted. Mrs. J., a high-caste dance teacher at a prestigious school, brought up the caste issue when we were discussing the problems of the berava in schools: “Even our former principal did not like to hire dance teachers from the traditional families. When she was at school she checked the teacher’s background, what type of person he was, what type of status he had. They tell us [high-caste people] you are gandharva. Gandharva means descended from the gods. . . . So if somebody from a higher caste studies dance, then people say they are divine. People say that. But I think that it 1s a big social injustice. Still, nothing has been found to eradicate [the caste problem].” Berava teachers similarly told me that in both the early days and in some 1nstances even today berava dance teachers at the schools were treated as the lowest of teachers: they were excluded from teachers’ meetings, addressed in less than respectful terms, and offered a lower bench or stool on which to sit. I asked Mrs. J. why there are fewer dancers from the traditional families, and she rephed by discussing the humiliating ways in which the school principal treats the traditional dancers: “Principals in some schools use the dance teachers like

slave service. Actually, there are times when I get angry [at how they are treated]. When I see those things I say: Why do you talk to them in that way? We are teachers like other teachers. We also do a certam subject, we have a syllabus, we have training. I say those things. But sometimes [the traditional dancers] also have some sort of fear [bayak] to come into the society. ‘They have a weakness 1n that way also.” I asked Surasena and his drummer, I. G. Sirisoma, to comment on their experiences of caste discrimination: AuTtTior: When you dance together with high-caste dancers, do those ideas [of caste difference] come up? SURASENA: No, but they stay like sparks under the ash. SIRISOMA: [hey would work together, but this is in their heart. A: When you go to a kankartya, I have heard that the treatment of the highcaste dancers and others 1s different. ... What do you think about it?

166 Performing the Nation SuR: That is one reason the younger generation 1s leaving. ‘Take, for instance, my son. ... He cannot tolerate the way we are treated when he goes with me. [hat 1s one reason for giving up the art. A: That means that society does not accept traditional dancers? SUR: Society accepts the artist only when he dances. After that, he is not accepted. A: If there is a dancer from the high caste, does he face the same situation? SuR: For him, the situation 1s different. For instance, I don’t like to name one. A: Let us say, [names a well-known high-caste dancer]... [laughter] SUR: So if somebody says that person would come, even if he cannot dance, a monk would say he 1s “our boy” [ape kollek| and take him. If they hear that a person from a traditional family is coming [to dance], they would say, “Ayyo [Alas], ... 1t 1s better to have our boy.” So there, it is not the dance that 1s taken into consideration. Personal connections, family connections, caste. A: Do you think those problems will ever vanish? Sur: I think it 1s good if they vanish, but it seems that they don’t go away. If it remains as it 1s, the people from traditional families will leave the art and look for other things.

Another dancer who freely discussed caste discrimination with me was Navaratne, a high-caste ritual dancer who often performs with the berava in rituals and is thus often mistaken for a berava dancer. On those occasions (as he does not make a point of letting others know he 1s high caste) he told me that he may be addressed in a “low” way, being called with the verbs varen (come) or palayan (go), slang terms that assert the superiority of the speaker.!? Navaratne also told me that sometimes the high castes reproach him for associating with the berava at homes or at Buddhist temple performances. In fact, he said, it 1s most often

the Buddhist monks who reproach him. High-caste monks would ask him: “Why did you bring these guys [mung, an insulting term]|?” He added: “Sometimes the traditional dancers are also scolded [baninava].” Some berava dancers reacted to caste discrimination by refusing to subordinate themselves in expected ways. For example, Amunugama Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, the daughter of one of the first berava performers to open a dance school in Kandy, told me that it was “through the dance itself” that her family and especially her father created an atmosphere of respect for themselves and for the dance. Gommenting on the humiliating ways in which the traditional dancers were (and sometimes still are) treated, she recounted how her father changed his behavior in order to be treated respectfully by others. Vaidyavathi’s pride in her family and profession 1s evident in her comments: I know how the society looked at my father and the members of our traditional families. But my father, Amunugama Suramba, eliminated that

Performing the Nation 167 situation in the Kandy area. Wherever our father went, whether it was to an aristocrat’s house or wherever, he didn’t behave in that [deferential] way. My father’s relatives never behaved in that way. ‘They drummed,

danced, and brought the dance to an international standard, and they [conducted themselves] at that level. My father and my relatives never ate sitting on the floor, [though] they might have eaten on banana leaves at Kohomba kankartyas. People spread white cloths in order to give food to

our relatives. The members of our familics arranged it that way. We created that atmosphere through the dance itself.

As Vaidyavathi makes clear, it was the berava themselves who took advantage of the changed climate of nationalism to assert themselves. ‘There is little doubt that the emergence of Kandyan dance as a key aspect of “traditional Sinhala culture” transformed the Kandyan berava community, creating a heightened sense of caste consciousness and drawing the berava into a “‘self-essentializing” (Herzfeld 1997a) process that has contributed to both their elevation and their simultaneous marginalization. Uhe state’s identification of traditional dancers as cultural treasures and village intellectuals contributed to new ideas of community and identity among the berava, ideas that quickly became absorbed into their own self-understandings. Indeed, in the post-Independence period the first generation of berava emerged as perhaps the only caste among the socalled service castes that positively embraced its caste identity. The berava, like other low castes, had traditionally signaled their subordinate status through their deferential behavior. Although in the past berava engaged in numerous forms of “everyday resistance” (Scott 1985) such as footdragging or refusal to perform rituals, their new status as bearers of Sinhala culture and as artists has empowered them to assert themselves more strongly. In their quest for respectability many berava, especially those who were actively supported by high-caste patrons, began to assert themselves more as equals. The confidence and self-esteem their new national status granted them, which resulted in the development of a positive berava identity, was noted in the 1960s by anthropologist Hans-Dieter Evers, referring to the residents of a village near Kandy.!* ‘Twenty years later Jonathan Spencer, speaking of a Sinhala village in the south-central part of the country, similarly noted that the “berava — the gurunnansela as they were known were happy to be known and referred to by their caste identity,” adding the important caveat: “and they were as unhappy as anyone else if this should turn into what they thought of as humiliating or degrading treatment” (1990a, 191). That caste prejudice is at work in the state dance institutions became ev1dent to me on one occasion while visiting the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Kandy. ‘Vhere I overheard an official telling one of his subordinates to arrange

168 Performing the Nation a performance not with the traditional dancers but with one of “our people,” which in this context referred to the high-caste govigama. The loss of elite patronage has been another major obstacle to the berava’s elevation to higher positions of respectability. Without the continued support of the elites who originally helped them to gain power, and as more and more high-caste dancers became available to fill their roles, the berava in many 1nstances were pushed out of the leading dance institutions, such as the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, to make room for high-caste dancers.'* Since the 1950s the participation of the Kandy and Colombo elites as patrons of Kandyan dance has steadily diminished. ‘The enthusiasm for Kandyan dance by elites like George Keyt was largely tied to the nationalist fervor of the 1940s and 1950s, and many of the Kandyan elites who were active in the development of the dance have since died. ‘Uhe Kandyan aristocrats who had close relationships with the older dancers are long gone, and their children have not sustained the old connections. Without the support of these loku minissu both outside of and within the state, the berava dancers have been left largely powerless. For ex-

ample, in recent decades educated berava dancers have floated numerous proposals for the preservation of the dance to the state without success. Some have argued that specific standards should be established for tourist performances, which are the most public yet often the most degraded and superficial kind of dancing, at least as seen from the perspective of most traditional dancers. Others have argued for setting higher standards for performance in the Kandy Asala Perahara, the most popular tourist festival in Sri Lanka and the so-called showcase of Kandyan dance. However, without the critical support of Kandyan and Colombo elites, the kind of support that they had in the earlier decades, even fairly well respected berava dancers have little voice within the state.

Peter Surasena squarely places the blame for the decline in the quality of Kandyan dance and the impoverished condition of the dancers on the loku munissu, the so-called responsible people: “Nobody talks, nobody writes about the true situation faced by the artists. .. . ‘Uhese artists are innocent poor people. Why do these high-ranking people |[/oAu minissu], according to their conscience, not help them? ‘They are just pretending.”

On another occasion, responding to a question about why the dance has declined, Surasena rephed: The main reason is our responsible people do not pay much attention. Only during the Perahara season do they think about the elephant, the drummer, the dancer... . ‘he Perahara 1s held for eleven days, so those high-ranking people pay attention to whether there 1s a Kandyan dance only during those days. After that, nobody pays attention to whether the

Performing the Nation 169 dancer has a place to live, where he lives, whether he gets enough income to live on, what he eats, whether he has a job... [even though] after eleven days he has almost died. Nobody has, up to now, considered those things. As I see it, in about another ten or fifteen years the participation of traditional families will decrease to a very low level. ‘Then those loku minissu will have to examine what has happened to those people who had preserved the art.

The Limits of Respectability: The Berava and Social Justice Artists in our Sinhala country are not appreciated. The artists’ value is not known. But when they need the art, the artist is wanted. Ransina Jothiratne

Society accepts the artist only when he dances. After that, he is not accepted. Peter Surasena

It is ike the expression: alter you drink my arrack, you are hitting me. Mudiyanse Dissanayake

‘These statements from both traditional and nontraditional dancers succinctly sum up the plight of the berava. Even as the state and other dancers mine the traditions of the berava and use their bodies in the service of the nation and

art, the artists themselves are often derided and neglected, underpaid and undervalued. ‘This tension between wanting the dance but not the dancers of the original “roots” community has parallels in many other situations of cultural appropriation. In the field of music, for example, Charles Keil has argued that one of the “global negatives” in making and distributing sound recordings of world music 1s that “mediations split the sounds from sources: you don’t have to have the musicians. ... We want the music, but we don’t want the people” (Keil and Feld 1994, 304). Along the same lines, Perry Hall has argued that the appropriation of African American music by mainstream white culture has not led “to comparable embrace of Black culture at the human level” (1997, 32). Like the Kandyan ritual dancers, whose art was rooted in a village culture now derided as backward and superstitious, Hall argues that despite “mainstream absorption of aesthetic dimensions of Black culture,” black people are still “despised, feared, rejected symbols of undesirability” (1997, 32). Furthermore, the process of separating the art from the people has the effect of nullifying the cultural meanings these forms have for “roots” communities (Hall 1997, 32).

170 Performing the Nation Hall’s designation of this process as cultural “strip-mining”’ (1997, 33) 1s an

apt metaphor for describing the situation of the Kandyan dancers. Many dancers have suffered the profoundly dehumanizing process of being used as bodies for the nation — bearers of tradition and of art but not worthy of even the simplest respect. ‘The stories of many traditional dancers are stories of pain and humiliation. As the renowned ritualist ‘Tittapajjala Suramba told me in one of his more somber moods: “What I have gotten from this art 1s suffering.” The disjunction between the praise for dance, indeed the necessity for Kandyan dance and drumming at virtually every public occasion, and the treatment of the dancers has made many traditional dancers cynical and bitter. Mrs. J.’s description of the work of dancers as “slave service” resonates with much of what berava dancers described to me. The pervasive feeling among berava dancers 1s that, despite their efforts to sustain the dance, its future 1s now out of their hands. ‘There are strong sentiments of loss and resentment by some of the berava who struggled so long to maintain the dance only to have their own authority in the field usurped by those with more formal education. In particular, the “takeover” of the dance by high-caste dancers has, in their view, left them displaced “in a corner,” as the Sinhala expression has it. In contemporary circumstances, when there are conflicts between the berava dancers and others, higher education 1s used to exclude them. As one dancer put it: “The degree comes forward.” Or they are dismissed as anachronistic by younger dancers who align themselves with modernity the group that Surasena terms “the pants-wearing paramparava.. ” Some of my closest berava informants described how they felt their own marginalization despite the elevation of the dance itself to a “high” level. In response to my question about the changes in dance due to the participation of high-caste people, one dancer, a respected teacher and ritualist, replied: “Due to that, not much change has occurred. ‘The reason 1s that no change has taken place among them, though they have turned to the dance. Not only that, they have reached to the top in the field, to the official level. ‘They dance, they drum, that’s true. But no change has occurred inside [atu/a] them. ‘Uhey don’t think that we are the same as them: that feeling is not there. We can see it. If such a thing 1s not in them, how can we expect that it would change in the larger society?”

Surasena responded to the same question by saying: “Only the high-caste people have benefited. . . . It is an easy way to get employment. ‘The person who preserved the dance and the caste has gone down further. He doesn’t have a place. ‘The ladder 1s needed only to climb up; after they climb it, they kick the ladder off. ... Everyone thinks that as people from every caste started dancing, the dancers of the traditional families have a place in the society. But it 1s not so.

I can see that 1f somebody from another caste studies dance, only that person

Performing the Nation i has a place.” Later he added: “It’s like this: as soon as a banana tree 1s planted, you cannot get the full stalk of bananas right away. ‘The old dancers planted those trees; they preserved them. But in the end, the fruit was cut by someone

else. What of the role of the state? On the one hand, many dancers blame the state for having failed to support the traditional dancers sufficiently. Many old geurunnanses have lived and died in poverty, with government certificates hanging on the mud walls of their tiny houses. Some dancers were especially critical

of the dramatic changes that have occurred since the advent of the “open” economic policies of the United National Party (UNP) government in the late 1970s, a period during which the state’s role in cultural protection was diminished. ‘They noted the growing role of the media, values of consumerism, profit making, and increasing Westernization, particularly through television and the spread of English.!° “Okkoma bisnas [everything is business]” 1s how one dancer put it, while ‘Tittapajjala Suramba compared the contemporary style of dance teaching to that of the past, noting the difference between the boiling of instant noodles and the slow, gradual cooking of rice. Yet dancers also acknowledge that without even the meager support of the state, the dance traditions may not have been sustained at all. Some dancers thus saw these changes as beyond government control, linked to broader issues of economy and society. Navaratne, a high-caste dancer and one of the very few relatively young dancers who performed rituals, summarized the situation: I don’t expect to have a real student of the dance. ‘Vhe reason and this problem is the same for the traditional dancers 1s that our children do not hope to learn this. They don’t recognize the value of the dance. It is sad. The effort we took to learn 1s not accepted by them, however much we tell them. ‘That is the main reason for the dying of the dance — not the lack of support from the government or anything else. ‘The reason 1s that people living these days do not understand the value of this. After this generation of dancers dies, I don’t think there will be people who will continue this. There may be something called dance. But the classical tradition [sastriya| is dying. !®

Conclusion Even as I have argued that some berava have achieved a measure of respectability in Sri Lanka, it does not seem to have been sufficient to overcome many of the other prejudices that they face as the purported exemplars of Sinhala village tradition. While it has been demonstrated that identities can be powerful political tools (“strategic essentialisms”) as communities and individuals

L7Z Performing the Nation deploy them to gain access to arenas of public power (Briggs 1996), 1t has also been noted that the deployment of essential identities that are empowering in one context may contribute to a loss of power and continued marginalization in others (Herzfeld 1997a; Schein 1996). In the case of the berava, it 1s clear that while their legitimation as “traditionals” granted them a voice in the production of national culture as well as a certain amount of economic security in the field of dance education, 1t appears that, ultimately, they became imprisoned by their identification with a tradition

that ties them to a “backward” past. ‘They now find themselves considered “too” traditional, and their practices are deemed “museum pieces,” as one upper-class dancer referred to them. ‘The berava thus appear to be caught in the dilemma Herzfeld describes for subalterns elsewhere: said to “embody the national quintessence,” they are simultaneously marginalized as unsuitable representatives of the modern nation (1997), 7). This paradox 1s poignantly illustrated by the fact that ideas for the preserva-

tion of dance that favor berava dancers appear to have been universally rejected by the state dance establishment. Ideas that berava have had for sustaining aspects of the ritual traditions, for example, have been rejected or simply ignored. In 1992 Pani Bharata, the former head of the dancing section of the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, proposed that the state set up student apprenticeships to the few remaining yakdessas in the villages, but the state showed no interest. Peter Surasena informed me that the chief lay official of the ‘Temple of the Buddha’s ‘looth in Kandy had also made a proposal to encourage the sons of the traditional drummers in the temple to continue in the profession: that too was not adopted. According to ‘I. Y. Sumanaweera, numerous proposals to encourage traditional families and ritual dance had been floated, but invariably they were not supported. The marginalization of dancers, however, cannot be attributed only to the fact of their links to tradition. As outlined in the previous section, dancers have many explanations for who and what is to blame for the marginalized status of

their community: insufficient support by the state, changed attitudes of the larger society toward folk religion, caste prejudices, the rise of capitalist culture, the lack of elite patronage, and the valorization of formal education and certification as the major conduit of bourgeois nationalism. ‘Those few berava who have gained some measure of success have been able to do so by overcoming

some of these barriers largely through the support of elite patrons and by attaining some measure of formal education. On the whole, then, it 1s clear that the berava influence in dance will continue to decline as high-caste males and females increasingly take over the more

powertul positions in dance administration and teaching and as fewer and

Performing the Nation ees fewer berava men are drawn into the field of dance. ‘Vhe new dancers are those

more inherently respectable: the middle- to upper-class dancers, educated, preferably English speaking, who are coming to embody the classicized tradition of Kandyan dance.

« ee — a \ . ‘ ; . of. | y ©: ae =e i ‘ ;

|! Aee-_—_ AeZSgBn SY ng 3 f atsa y'Se4 ;7_ |. | . fon ‘ i a "tr eae ra Z .

Lt — \. oN, -c3=eae 7:: ad aOm Reap 2a 4 | ad ' a }\ Women ves dancers performing in a welcoming procession for a bharata natyam arangetram at the

Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, June 2008. Photo by Sachini Weerawardena.

kankariya, performing with male dancers and drummers. Her students are also enthusiastic about this possibility, as were many of the women students I interviewed at the IAS in the late 1980s.?? One of Ms. Hemalatha’s reasons for initiating women as ves dancers 1s pragmatic: as so few men are available to perform traditional dances, women need to take on their roles.*° She and her students also see the act as an affirmation of women. As she noted in a 2008 interview, women choose to become ves dancers because it gives them a sense of “female pride” (hanta abhimanayak). Ms. Hemalatha dismisses as foolish the idea that women are impure, noting that the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha was brought to Lanka hidden in the hair of a woman. Countering the criticisms of those opposed to women wearing ves and

highh¢hting the fact that sexualized dancing has become widespread, Ms. Hemalatha has remarked that it 1s better to have women performing in the traditional ves costume than dancing on stage “half-nude.”*4 While Ms. Hemalatha’s revolutionary act has been opposed by some, she and her students state that, overall, the public response has been positive. Although in the early years they encountered some resistance, in recent years they

Between Purity and Respectability 217 feel that they have been accepted. Ms. Hemalatha has received support and encouragement from some prominent berava dancers, and berava drummers have performed at her imitiation ceremonies. While the long-term impact of Ms. Hemalatha’s daring mnovation remains to be seen, it vividly ulustrates how the practice of Kandyan dance has been used by women in ways that both defy

and support conventional ideas of the feminine. While women ves dancers challenge centuries-old ideas of female impurity and expand women’s dance practices into the realm of ritual, they simultaneously support the ideal of femnine sexual modesty.

Conclusion Although the conventional ideal of the respectable feminine has been a major influence on the ways in which Kandyan dance has developed, it is also clear that both the ideal and the dance tradition have changed over the last several decades since women began performing. While virginity and domesticity are still highly valued, and although women dancers must be careful to protect their reputations on and off stage, the arena of Kandyan dance has also given women opportunities to push the limits in defining what 1s considered properly feminine.

As a formerly male tradition, the Kandyan dance has given women wide scope for interpretation and transformation. Women can perform in modes powerful and commanding, modest and reserved, or both in the same dance or performance event. They can play at being flirtatious, or they can be made into objects of desire. ‘They can perform in ways that suggest deference to males, or they can dance so skillfully that they put their male counterparts to shame. For women and girls, Kandyan dance is a space of freedom, play, and creativity as well as of restriction and containment: a site for the creation of new modes of objectification and subordination, a means to affirm and expand the idea of the respectable feminine, and a potent resource enabling women to express themselves in new and empowering ways.

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APPENDIX I

Contents of DVD

INTRODUCTION (2:30) RITUAL PERFORMANCE: KOHOMBA KANKARIYA (58:15)

1. Introduction to the Kohomba kankartya (20) 2. Preparing the ritual hall: Building the yahana (main altar) (1:45) 3. Preparing the ritual hall: Placing the insignia and plaques

of the deities in the yahana (1:20)

4. Offerings to the deities in the ayile (minor altar) (1:00)

5. Offerings to the deities and Magul Bera (Auspicious Drums) (3:00)

6. Atya Bera (competitive drumming) (1:30) 8. Kkuveni Asna (Lament of Kuveni) (10:00)

7. Yak Anuma (Dance of Invitation to the Deities) (25:00)

10. Ek ‘Talaya (6: 30)

g. Bulat Padaya (Betel Leaf Offering Dance) (3:20) 11. Muva Mala Vidima (Shooting of the Plantain Flower) (2:00)

KANDYAN DANCE (47:25) I. Stage Dances 1. Gajaga Vannama (11:00) 2. Puja Natuma (Offering Dance) (2:00) 3. Yuga Natuma (Dance Duet of the Modern Era) (4:00) 4. Asadrusa Vannama (5:30) Il. Tourist Performances

5. Samanala Vannama (3:00) 6. Acrobatic Dance (1:20)

7. Ves Dance 2A) 8. Puja Natuma (Offering Dance) (1:00)

g. Mayura Natuma (Peacock Dance) (2:20)

a

220 Appendix 1 II. ‘Training and Rehearsal

10. ‘Lraining at village dance school (2:50) 11. Rehearsal of the Gajaga Vannama (3:30)

IV. Exercises and Adavva

12. Foot Exercises (Pa Saramba) (2:40) 13. Arm Exercises (At Saramba) (eZ9)

15. Adavva (1:30)

14. Exercises at village dance school (2:45)

CREDITS (2:00)

Criteria for Grading of Kalayatanayas

Criteria Minimum Maximum Score Score Building and official requirements — 5 Possession of relevant accessories and instruments 10 lo for special subjects

Number of students (each batch of five students 10 20 above the minimum number of twenty students gets one point)

Staff (every teacher above the minimum specified 10 20 number gets two points)

Number of classes (every class above the minimum 10 20 specified number of ninety classes gets one point)

Exam results (each successful student gets two points) = 30 Competition results (first place, fifteen points; second = 30 place, ten points; third place, five points)

Participation at competitions (for each competition, — 10 two points)

Public performances (for each performance, = ike, five points)

Participation in ceremonies and public events = 10 (for each ceremony or public event, five points) Source. Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Handbook for Private Ralayatanayas (1985).

Nolte: Grading: 60-100 points = average school; 101-140 = good school; 141-175 = excellent school.

22 |

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APPENDIX 2

Kohomba Kankariyas Observed, 1987-1988

Locale, Date Mul Yakdessa Purpose Muruddentya, Tittapajjala Suramba Sponsored by a family

April 4—5, 1987 for general benefits

Bellwood ‘Training Center, Tittapajjala Suramba Educational ritual

Nugaltyadda, for students,

April 8-9, 1987 state sponsored Ambalangoda, Tittapajyjala Suramba, Videotaping of ritual May 8-10, 1987 S. M. R. Makchelvela by foreign scholar

Hamangoda, J. D. Hapugoda Sponsored by a family

May 30-31, 1987 for gencral benefits

Moragolla, Balavatgoda Sirisoma Sponsored by the village

July 25=26,;.1967 for general benefits

Danture, Tittapajjala Suramba Recording and videotaping

September 23-24, 1987 by foreign scholar

Colombo, for students, March 18-20, 1988 state sponsored

Institute of Aesthetic Studies, S.M.R.Makchelvela Educational ritual

Ministry of Cultural Affairs/ = ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, Cultural performance,

Arts Council, Colombo, S. M. R. Makehelvela state sponsored ApH l-Z. 1956 (Continued on next page)

225

‘Table (continued )

Locale, Date Mul Yakdessa Purpose Kandy, Tittapajjala Suramba Videotaping by

July 9-10, 1988 foreign scholar

Hanguranketa, Devanagala Simon Cultural performance,

August 15-16, 1988 sponsored by both private and state organizations

Weuda, Tittapayala Suramba Sponsored by

October 1—2, 1988 Buddhist monks in fulfillment of a vow

o£ 8S GLOSSARY

adavva (pl. adav) series of intricate dance steps usually performed at the end of a dance

alankara matra ornamentation phrases of a dance Asala Perahara ritual procession held in the month of Asala (July/August)

aturaya patient or sponsor of a ritual

ayile munor altar at a kankartya bali ritual for the planetary deities

berava drummer caste beraya (pl. bera) drum

bharata natyam South Indian dance form

Burgher Sri Lankan of European descent

deva/deviyo deity

déevalaya deity shrine diggé natuma (pl. diggé natum) female temple dance of Sri Lanka

divi dos curse of Kuveni on Vyaya and his descendants vata beraya double-headed Kandyan barrel drum

sovigama cultivator caste

kala eli mangallaya first public dance performance; dance debut kalayatanaya (pl. kalayatana) dance school

kastirama (pl. kastiram) culmination steps of a dance phrase

King Malaya healer-king of the Kohomba kankartya Kohornba kankartya Kandyan village ritual performed in honor of local deities

Kuvén1 indigenous princess of Lanka betrayed by Vyaya

lasya graceful, gentle style of dance

maduva ritual hall

mal yahana literally, “flower couch”; main altar for gods at a Kohomba kankartya

mandtya basic dance position

matra dance phrases

mul yakdessa main ritual priest of the Kohomba kankariya

Faas.

226 Glossary nalyadi costume worn by dancers who have not undergone the ves mitiation ceremony

natuma (pl. natum) dance nirmanayak (pl. nirmana) innovation, creation

nrtta pure, abstract dance

panduru venkirima literally, “setting aside the gifts”; an abbreviated version of the Kohomba kankariya

Panduvas King of Lanka who 1s cured by King Malaya paramparava (pl. parampara) dance lineage

perahara ritual procession

radala aristocratic subcaste of the Kandyan govigama

santikarma benevolent ritual

tandava assertive, vigorous style of dance

tanikacciya costume worn by dancers who have not undergone the ves bandima; loosely used for any modification of the full ves costume

udarata natum dance of the up-country; Kandyan dance

Vaddas supposed aboriginal inhabitants of Lanka vannama (pl. vannam) popular Kandyan stage dance

vas dos ill effects caused by incorrect ritual procedure

ves literally, “guise”; the costume of male dancers composed of the ornaments of King Malaya

ves bandima ritual initiation for a male Kandyan dancer ves tattuva headdress worn by initiated male dancers

viharaya Buddhist temple

Viyaya prince who betrayed Kuveni and was cursed by her

yahana main ritual altar in the kankartya Yak Anuma dance of invitation to the deities

yaka (pl. yakku) spirit being, can be malevolent or beneficent

yakdessa ritual dancer-priest of the kankartya

ee |e ene NOTES

Introduction 1. Cultural heritage has emerged as a central topic in anthropology in recent years, and several graduate programs in anthropology have established concentrations focused on the topic. ‘The Stanford Department of Anthropology, for example, offers Ph.D. students the option of specializing in “heritage ethics,” a program emphasizing the study of issues related to the ownership and stewardship of cultural heritage and intellectual property. For a sample of recent scholarship on the politics of cultural heritage, see Karp et al. (2006). 2. For more on the exhibitionary order, see Mitchell (1992) and Bennett (1994). For a detailed discussion of cultural objectification, see Handler (1988); for the invention of tradition, see Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983). David Guss provides a succinct summary

of some of the main features of aestheticization that characterize dance and ritual when they become national spectacles: “The privileging of the visual, accomplished through colorful costumes and dramatic choreography, combines with technical excellence and virtuosity to present a cheerful, unceasingly optimistic world. ‘his increased theatricalization abjures any mention of true historical conditions and replaces them with the staged creation of a mythic, detemporalized past” (2000, 14). The “fun in the village” choreography (Shay 2002) employed by state folk dance ensembles throughout the world is one of the many ways in which issues of social and political import are

erased in performance. ‘The “hegemony of the smile”’—the constant, fixed, teethbaring smile that is found in staged folkloric events around the globe — is another (Guss 2000, 2056). 3. For a review of issues in the anthropology of dance, including nationalism and ethnicity, see Reed (1998). Recent anthropological studies that focus on dance and national identity include Chakravorty (2008), Hughes-Freeland (2008), ‘Taylor (1998), and Wulff (2007). See also the articles in Buckland (2006); Henry, Magowan, and Murray (2000); and Jackson and Shapiro-Phim (2008).

4. The process by which cultural practices come to be defined as aspects of a retfied, bounded “culture” 1s explored by Richard Handler in his discussion of cultural objectification (1988). Handler initially took the idea of cultural objectification from Bernard Cohn, who wrote of Western-educated intellectuals in India who “have made

ase

228 Notes to pages 5-8 [their culture] into a ‘thing’” and “can stand back and look at themselves, their ideas, their symbols and culture and sce it as an entity’ (Cohn n.d., 5, in Handler 1988, 14). This idea of culture as a “thing” is often embodied in dance performances when they are used to express ethnic or national identity. 5. Lhe United States Congress has on three occasions (1984, 1988, and 2003) considered bills that would designate square dance as the “national folk dance.” A major argsument of the bills’ proponents is that the United States is culturally deficient in comparison to other countries because it lacks a national dance. ‘The language of the bills illustrates the continued salience of cultural nationalist rhetoric. For example, the 2003 bill (known as the Promenade Act) asserts that square dancing is part of the “folklore of this Nation” and is “a joyful expression of the vibrant spirit of the people of the United States.” Square dance is described as embodying the values of respectability (“square dance promotes the practice of good manners and proper etiquette”), family (“square dance is a traditional form of family recreation that fosters family unity, the basic streneth of our Nation”), and democracy (“square dance embodies democratic principles by dissolving arbitrary social distinctions among its participants’). ‘Uhe first two bills did not pass; lam unsure of the disposition of the third. For an analysis of the congressional hearings, see Quigley (2001).

6. For an analysis of dance and folklore in Peru, see Mendoza (2000, 48-83). In India, Rabindranath ‘lagore 1s the best known of the nationalist folklorists of the colonial period (Narayan 1993, 186). ‘Tagore was instrumental in promoting dance in India and Sri Lanka (see chapter 3). 7. For a detailed discussion of classicization in Indian performance, see Hansen (1992, 43° 40).

8. Other national troupes (and their founding dates) include the Young People’s Society for Culture and Art of Croatia (1946), the Ballet Folklorico of Mexico (1952), the Dora Stratou Greek Dances ‘Theatre (1952), the Mahmoud Reda ‘Troupe of Egypt (1959), and the ‘Turkish State Folk Dance Ensemble (1972) (Shay 2002). Anthony Shay (2002) argues that many state folkloric troupes modeled their performances on the Sovict Moiseyev Dance Company, founded in 1937.

g. In Ceylon, UNESCO sponsored a seminar on traditional Sinhalese culture (Pieris 1956c). In Madras, UNESCO sponsored the “International Seminar on ‘Traditional Cultures in Southeast Asia” that called for the establishment of folklore societies at the national level (Raghavan 1967, 7—8).

10. For an analysis of dance as an aspect of American diplomacy during the Cold War, see Prevots (1998). During the Cold War, American dancers were sent to leftleaning countries to persuade them that “the American way of life was superior to Soviet communism” (Prevots 1998, 135). From 1954 to the early 1960s the U.S. government, under Eisenhower, funded dance and other artistic troupes for tours abroad. In 1955, for

example, Martha Graham and her dance company were sent to Southeast Asia, “an area of concern,’ where there were many political and military issues at stake (Prevots 1998, 44). From October 1955 to February 1956 Graham toured several Asian countries with strong Communist parties. The tour was a resounding success, countering impressions abroad that the United States was a “cultural wasteland” (Prevots 1998, 50). There was no single “national dance” that represented the United States, however. Under the auspices of the cultural exchange program a broad range of dancers was sent abroad as cultural diplomats, including Martha Graham (Asia), José Limon (Latin America), Alvin

Notes to pages 9-11 229 Ailey (South Pacific), George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet (Western Europe, Japan, and the Sovict Union), and the Berea College (Kentucky) Folk Dance Group (Latin America), among many others. 11. ‘These figures are from the most recent all-island census taken in 1981. ‘The Indian or Estate ‘Tamils (also known as up-country ‘Tamils) are so named because they are descendants of South Indian workers who were brought by the British to work on coffee and tea plantations (“estates”) of the up-country. 12. For analysis of the roots of the ethnic conflict, see Spencer (1ggoc) and ‘Tambiah (1986). For an account of the conflict from the perspective of a ‘Tamil journalist and activist, see Whitaker (2007). 13. For analysis of the consequences of the JVP violence of 1987-89 for Sinhala villagers, see Argenti-Pillen (2003) and de Silva (2005). For an account of politics and theater in this period, see Obeyesekere (1999).

14. For an analysis of low-country dance in the context of ritual, see Kapferer (1983).

15. My use of the term “national” for Kandyan dance reflects local Sinhala use, in which “national” 1s often equated with “Sinhala.” In other countries “national” dances are defined quite differently, reflecting a multicthnic, multicultural conception of the state. For example, in ‘Tanzania, where state cultural policy has stressed national unity and deemphasized ethnicity, the “national” dances taught in schools include a wide variety of forms from various ethnic groups, and “Tanzanian” national dances are taught to all ‘Tanzanian children regardless of their ethnicity (Askew 2002). In Sri Lanka, by contrast, Sinhala dances are taught to Sinhala children and ‘Tamil dances to ‘Tamil children, a practice that reifies ethnic boundaries. When in the late 1980s I asked Kandyan dance teachers if they had any ‘Tamil students, they looked at me dumbfounded. It was sumply taken for granted that ‘Tamil students would dance “their own” dance bharata natyam. 16. While the three Sinhala dance forms are performed almost exclusively by Sinhalas (and occasionally by Muslim males), the ‘Tamil-identified form of bharata natyam

is performed in Sri Lanka by both ‘Tamil and Sinhala women of the urban upper classes. The appeal of bharata natyam for Sinhala women 1s largely due to its feminine style, which contrasts with the more forceful, assertive character of Kandyan dance. Bharata natyam, like Kandyan dance, has been employed for political purposes. In the 1990s 1n Jaffna and in ‘Tamil diaspora communities in Canada and elsewhere, Sri Lankan ‘Tamil choreographers created pieces that employed bharata natyam to express ‘Tamil nationalist sentiments (O’Shea 2007, 100-103). 17. [he government requires that students take a course in an aesthetic subject, and theoretically they have a choice of subjects such as painting, Eastern music, Western music, and Kandyan dance. However, in many rural areas Kandyan dance is the only aesthetic subject offered. It is important to note that Kandyan dance is only taught in the schools of the Sinhala-dominated regions of Sri Lanka. In the ‘Tamil areas of the north and east students can fulfill the requirement to take an aesthetic subject by studying art or music and, where available (in a few of the major towns), bharata natyam. 18. Lanka (an ancient term) and Sri Lanka are both used by contemporary Sri Lankans to refer to their country. The present official name, Sri Lanka, dates from 1972, when the nationalist SLFP government changed the name of the country from Ceylon, a derivative of the Portuguese Ceilao.

230 Notes to pages 12-27 19. [here are performances of dance-dramas, known as “ballets,” that are occasionally staged in Colombo and supported by a ticket-buying public. Kandyan dance techniques or dances are sometimes incorporated into segments of these dance-dramas. 20. In the field of performance studies the work of Indian theater scholar Rustom Bharucha (1993, 2000, 2003) embodies a similar approach, sensitive to the effects of appropriation on traditional performers. 21. In Sri Lanka, making dance respectable can be seen as part of the overall process of the “embourgeoisement” of Sri Lanka described by Gombrich and Obeyesckere (1988).

22. Studies by anthropologists (Askew 2002, 2005; Guss 2000) and ethnomusicologists (Sutton 2002; Yampolsky 1995) demonstrate the extent to which respectability 1s a central value in the reforming of performances from traditional practices. 23. During the Suharto regime in Indonesia, for example, Philip Yampolsky documented how an aesthetic of respectability was enforced by state officials of Depdikbud,

the Ministry of Education and Culture, in festivals, competitions, and commissions: “!Depdikbud] makes suggestions (with the force of commands) as to how this should be done: face forward, not in a circle; wear nice new uniforms; one instrument sounds thin here, more would be better; instead of one pair of dancers, how about three pairs; these women are so old, you should get some younger ones who are nice to look at; shorten this so the audience isn’t bored; this song would be better if 1t had a dance with it” (1995, 712).

24. In her in-depth studies of cultural policy and performance in ‘Tanzania, anthropologist Kelly Askew describes a similar aesthetic that she terms the “state aesthetic.” This aesthetic, as exemplified by the National College of Arts curriculum and propagated by state performers and cultural officers, centers on “collective conformity, discipline, skill in multiple performance genres, standardization, and the stifling of individual talent” (Askew 2005, 312 13). These ideas, however, do not “correspond to local conceptions of artistic production” (Askew 2005, 313). 25. [he repercussions of the “time of terror’ on contemporary society have been profound. ‘The eminent Sri Lankan anthropologist Gananath Obeyesekere considers the JVP violence and the state counterterror of the late 1g80s a major cause of the “degradation of life” and the ubiquity of the current “culture of violence” that permeates the island (2006, 136).

26. ‘The national dress for men consists of a long, white, long-sleeved shirt worn over a white sarong or a white wraparound lower garment known as a vettiya. Dance teachers in government schools are required to wear the national dress.

Chapter 1. Kohomba Kankartya as Village Ritual 1. Godakumbura argues that the core of the Kohomba kankartya was a healing ritual performed to cure King Parakramabahu VI of Kotte (1411 66) but that over time other rituals have been added to it. ‘These include various agricultural rituals associated with the Kohomba yakas (see Nevill 1886) and what Godakumbura regards as the most important additions, the rituals for Kadavera, or the “Kadavera kankartya” (1955, 293). 2. The ritual text Vijaya Raa Katava opens with the following stanza: “Give your ears and hear this ritual which is both in ‘Telugu and Sinhalese” (Godakumbura 1955, 294). 3. Molamure (1958, 63) states that the postharvest ritual was most often performed during the Sinhala month of Madin (February-March).

Notes to pages 27~ 33 Zo 4. Gombrich and Obeyesekere (1988) use the term “spirit religion,’ while Bechert (1978b, 221) uses the term “popular religion” to refer to “non-Buddhist” elements in the religion of the Sinhalas. Most scholars recognize the limitations of these terms and use them for “convenience” (Gombrich and Obeyesekere 1988, 3) or for “practical purposes” (Bechert 1978b, 221). See Reed (2003) for further discussion of the relationship between Buddhism and folk religion. 5. see Walcott (1978, 175 399) for a detailed discussion of the deities and associated texts.

6. ‘The translation of yakas as “spirits of the wild” is taken from Argenti-Pillen (2003).

7. Anthropologist Alex Argenti-Pillen argues that during the “time of terror” in 1988-90 the traditional Sinhala cosmos was severely disrupted in some areas of the country. During that period the cosmic hierarchy was reversed as the yakas, traditionally feared by all, became afraid of humans especially the fearless male youth who were involved in wartime atrocities such as the burning of corpses (Argenti-Pillen 2008, 211). 8. In contrast, Gombrich notes that in classical Pali texts the term_yaksa was not so ambiguous and referred to two kinds of beings: “morally neutral or ambivalent nature deities who live in trees and mountains; and extremely malevolent and hideous demons who frequent cemeteries and lure lonely travelers to sudden death” (1971, 161). g. kor more on the deviyo/yakku distinction, see Obeyesekere (1979, 1984). 10. [he myriad of deities invited to participate in the kankariya provides support for Godakumbura’s view that other rituals have been interwoven with the Kohomba kankariya (1955, 293).

11. Asna literally means “message,” “story,” or “poem.” However, in the context of the Kuveni Asna, asna is often glossed as “lament.” 12. The Vyaya Raa hatava is a major text recited in the kankartya. 13. Obeyesekere notes that “Viyaya, the ‘victor,’ is the secular counterpart of the

other victor [ja], the Buddha himself. What the Buddha is to the spiritual realm [sasana|, Vijaya 1s to the ‘secular’ realm” (2006, 138). 14. Walcott (1978, 629) discusses several different versions of how Kuveni curses V1jaya and different versions regarding the tongue and the leopard.

15. Kuveni can be categorized with other fierce “hot” female goddesses and demonesses of South Asian folklore who are characterized by excessive sexuality, anger, and heat. Before she meets Vyaya, for example, Kuveni has three breasts, one of which disappears on meeting him, symbolizing that her sexuality 1s now under control. ‘Uhe diamond or glass tongue of “phallic”? women, demonesses, and goddesses is a major motif in Indian folklore. See O’Flaherty’s discussion of “long-tongue the demoness” (1985, 101 3).

16. Walcott records several different versions of how the curse affects Vijaya. In some versions he dies right away; 1n others he reigns healthily for many years, or his life is extended by twelve years and the curse then falls on Panduvas (1978, 630). 17. Lhe evil that befalls Vyaya and Panduvas 1s called divi dos, which can be translated as “leopard evil” or “oath-break evil.” Diz can mean “leopard” or “oath.” 18. In the ritual texts Malaya, the pure-born, 1s said to be a “son” of Sita, the wife of the god Rama. Malaya was given to Sita by a sage to raise as her son. Like other aspects of the kankartya, this story demonstrates a connection to the god Vishnu. 19. Lhe boar is one of Vishnu’s incarnations. Symbolically, this act demonstrates the supremacy of Vishnu over Shiva.

22 Notes to pages 33 38 20. The place in the Hantana range where Rahu was struck is today identified as Ura Gala, or Boar Rock. 21. Anuradhapura 1s an ancient city of Lanka located in the north-central dry zone of the island. 22. This version of the healing of Panduvas is from the Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava), translated by ‘Theja Gunawardhana (1977, 68) from a palm leaf manuscript of yakdessa Nittawela Ukkuwa. 23. Wirz gives a description of games or contests such as fighting with coconuts ( pol gahanava), the horn game (ankeltya), and fighting with wooden sticks (l-keltya) that have the power to control the spread of epidemic diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and typhus (1954, 168-78). All of these are associated with the goddess Pattini. See also Obeyesekere (1984) on the significance of play and humor in Sinhala rituals. 24. The view that men can legitimately perform in both tandava and lasya styles

accords with the perspective of Indian aesthetic treatises. As dance scholar Mohan Khokar notes, while in many of the ancient dance treatises of India tandava 1s associated with men and lasya with women, “this does not mean that men alone may dance tandava and women lasya. ‘The two aspects refer simply to the style of rendering the dance, not to who 1s qualified or privileged to do the rendering” (1984, 59). Renowned Indian dance scholar Kapila Vatsyayan confirms this view, noting that in the Natyasastra the terms are not gendered. She states, for instance, that the Natyasastra uses the word tandava as a “generic term for dancing which cannot necessarily be interpreted as denoting violent dancing, or as that performed by men alone, or even a special type of dancing’ (Vatsyayan 1967, 232).

25. Sri Lankan art historian Siri Gunasinghe has remarked on the abstract nature of Kandyan arts and crafts, especially painting, noting that “Kandyan craftsmen were aware in their own way, of a kind of beauty ... a beauty that resulted from pure ornamentation. [his 1s the most consistent and coherent element in all Kandyan art” (1978, 21). Lhe similarity of this aesthetic to the abstract “pure dance” of the Kandyan tradition, which also stresses the beauty of ornamentation, suggests that it was deeply rooted in Kandyan society. 26. For detailed discussion of the female temple dancers, including comparison with the devadasi traditions of South India, see Raghavan (1967, 26-48). Raghavan’s research on Sinhala dance 1s heavily indebted to Sir Paul Pieris, and his discussion of digge natum draws largely from Pieris’s book Sinhale and the Patriots, 1815-1818. (Overall,

however, the quality of Raghavan’s book is uneven, and some information on Sinhala dances is incomplete or inaccurate.) 27. Each sandesa poem is named for the bird that delivers the message to a king or deity.

28. ‘This information on the caste of the dancers is from an interview with Upali Elapata-Katugaha, 1987. 29. Molamure (1956, 27) states that the affinities of Kandyan dance with Indian dance forms “are unmistakable, probably indicative of a common source.”

30. These verses are adapted from Walcott (1978, 119) and Gunawardhana (1977, 95).

31. Walcott’s esteem for the yakdessas was such that one goal in writing his thesis was to recognize the kankartya singers as “exponents of a ritualistic musical style of major importance among the musics of the world” (1978, 21).

Notes to pages 39 46 20 32. For details on drums, see Kotelawala (1998, 69~73); for details on musical aspects of drumming see Jayawecra (2004) and Sheeran (2000). 33. ‘This is also reported by Kapferer for rituals in the south of Sri Lanka: “Dance is an extension of music; this 1s explicit in exorcist theory. It 1s a visualization of the duration and dynamic rhythm of exorcist drumming” (1983, 192). 34. These verses are adapted from Walcott (1978, 173). 35. [he ornaments are enumerated in Gunawardhana’s translation of the Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava) (1977, 67-68). 36. ‘This is confirmed by John Davy, who records that, according to the sumptuary laws of Kandy, only royalty were entitled to possess gold ([1821] 1983, 86). 37. his description 1s based on Molamure (1958). I also was able to observe a com-

plete ves bandima, similar to that described by Molamure, performed by the ‘Tittapajjala dancers for my benefit. ‘Traditionally, women were prohibited from watching the ves bandima, due to cultural beliefs regarding female impurity. 38. Dancers also use the term ¢anzkacciya to refer to any modification of the full ves costume (Molamure 1958, 72).

39. Mandya is a Sinhala variant of the term mandala, which 1s a term widely used in Indian classical dances to refer to a basic standing posture. See Schwartz (2004, 35 36) for exegesis of the term mandala in the context of Indian dance. 40. Seniority 1s determined by experience, not by age. For dancers, seniority was determined by the date of their ves bandima. Al. ‘his is an adaptation of the translation in Ambrose (1983, 19), substituting the word “eyes” for “glances.”

42. For a detailed exegesis of the rasa theory in Indian performing arts, see Schwartz (2004).

43. Sicille Kotelawala includes photographs of a dancer performing twelve hastayas in her book, though she does not provide further information on them (1998, 52 53). Lhe names of the hastayas in the lists of ‘Tittapajjala Suramba and Kotelawala differ significantly, with only six of the twelve hastayas the same. ‘The twelve hastayas from Suramba’s manuscript are santa, soma, varada, naga, muhuda, caura, abhaya, candra, hasta, deva, ranga, and bhuma.

44. See Argenti-Pillen (2003) and Scott (1994) for discussion of the gaze in Sinhala culture and Eck (1998) and Gonda (1969) for India. 45. Inthe rarely performed solo dance of Ek ‘Talaya the gaze of the mul yakdessa 1s directed exclusively to the altars. Suramba told me that if the mul yakdessa directed his gaze to a human during the Ek ‘Talaya, the person could fall ill or even die. ‘Uhis is not because the yakdessa has ill intent but because of the naturally dangerous power that accrues to the mul yakdessa as a result of his performing this segment of the ritual. A sumilar effect 1s reported by Gombrich (1971, 138 39) regarding the gaze of images of the Buddha. 46. For more on the significance of feet in Indian dance, see Schwartz (2004, 31-32). 47. Ina 1938 article Miriam Pieris includes “bells tied around the calves” in her description of the dancer’s costume (1938, 643). However, bells are not mentioned in the detailed descriptions of Bowers (1956), De Zoete (1957), and Molamure (1958), and I did not observe any dancers wearing bells. 48. Faubion Bowers mentions that the whirls, known in the Sanskrit aesthetic treatises as brahmar, are no longer performed in India (1956, 95).

234 Notes to pages 50 6g 49. This discussion of dance structure is based primarily on my traming with Peter Surasena in 1987-88.

50. Allen remarks that one of the basic movement patterns in Indian classical dance is “the repetition of gestures right, left, and center” (1997, 89). In addition to the kastiramas, this pattern 1s also found in other segments of kankartya dances. 51. Some accounts of dance in Sri Lanka note how dancers will sometimes perform an adavwva for a specific individual with the expectation that they will be given money (e.g., Walcott 1978; Kapferer 1983, 205). However, I did not see this practice among the kankartya dancers I observed in the 1980s and 1ggos. 52. The one major dance for which I do not have much information is the Avanduma, which I only saw a few times 1n abbreviated form. 53. In my experience the mul yakdessa always leads the Yak Anuma and the Kuveni Asna. However, other senior dancers sometimes lead the Dance of the Coconut Flower and the Ballad of Kohomba. 54. See Goodrich for discussion of how extensions to a performer’s body and accessories can add variety to the rhythms of a dance (1999, 142-43). 55. Obeyesekere defines the aturaya as “congregation-patient,” and his description of that role in the gammaduva 1s also applicable to the village-sponsored kankartya: “In the gammaduva the whole village participates in the ceremony as a congregation; they are individually and collectively both congregation and patient. As a congregation they propitiate the devas in collective worship; as patients they seek redress and cure from dosa, or ‘troubles,’ both illnesses and other misfortunes” (1984, 36). 56. One such smaller ritual is the panduru venkirma, an abbreviated version of the kankartya.

57. On the afternoon of the evening ceremony, a separate but related ritual, the Meleyi Yakkun Natima (Dance of the Meleyi Yakas), 1s sometimes performed. ‘This ritual includes abbreviated verses and dances that are performed in the evening ceremony but also includes other acts, such as the pounding of rice in a mortar, that are not. 58. For further details on the symbolism of the kapa, see Obeyesckere (1984, 77~78) and Seneviratne (1978, 71-76). 59. [his varies according to regional tradition. In Kurunegala the kapa is uprooted

after the Dance of the Coconut Flower for Viramunda and before the performance of the five comic episodes (yakkamas).

60. ‘The following description is derived primarily from kankariyas I observed in 1987 88 in which ‘Tittapajjala Suramba was the mul yakdessa. Suramba represents the Kandy tradition. ‘The kankariyas of the Kurunegala region, as performed by S. M. R. Makchelvela, differed significantly in some portions of the ritual. 61. [he primacy given to Pattini and Kalu Kumara was a feature of _Kohomba kankariyas that were overseen by mul yakdessa ‘Tittapajjala Suramba. Other mul yakdessas included Viramunda and Kande Bandara among the main deities in the yahana. 62. Obeyesekere (1984, 15) states that the usual duration of kili (pollution) is three days for menstruation, fourteen days for menarche, thirty days for childbirth, and ninety days for death. 63. These verses are adapted from Walcott (1978, 160, 166). 64. The characters in all of the comic episodes can be played by either a dancer or a drummer. 65. Ek ‘Talaya is also performed in the Valiyak mangallaya, a ritual that takes place

Notes to pages 69 85 Zoo at the Vishnu temple in Kandy following the annual Asala Perahara. In the Valiyak ritual, Ek ‘Talaya is the first of the Seven Rhythmic Sequences (Hat ‘Talaya) performed by the senior ritual priest. 66. ‘The following description is from a performance of Ek ‘Talaya by ‘Tittapajjala Suramba in July 1988. 67. ‘Tittapajjala Suramba told me that the 7 gaha is associated with Vishnu. This is confirmed by Barnett, who relates that, according to the text / Gaha Santiya, Vishnu gave the arrow to Sakra, who in turn gave it to Mala Raja (King Malaya) (1917, 5). 68. All of the comic dramas (yakkamas) are replete with sexual symbolism. 6g. ‘Loddy is an alcoholic beverage made from palm trees. ‘The toddy tapper is the person who extracts and collects the sap of the palm that is used to make the beverage. 70. At this point in the ritual, after the Kohomba Halla, a section called the Raiding of the Storehouse (Gabada Kollaya) is usually enacted. However, at the kankartyas I attended I only observed the Gabada Kollaya performed in a cursory fashion. For a thorough description of more complex performances, see Walcott (1978, 783 99).

Chapter 2. Performers, Patrons, Dance 1. The performance took place on Saturday, February 28, 1987. 2. Upali’s assistance 1s acknowledged in Jiggins (1979) and Russell (1982).

3. Almut Lenz Jayaweera studied dance in Sri Lanka for several years. She is highly respected as a dancer and drummer and has taught Kandyan dance in Germany for over twenty years. For details on her background and training, see Jayaweera (2004, 50).

4. According to Upali Elapata-Katugaha, yakdessas in Hatara Korale (Keegalle region) came from the of as well as the berava caste. ‘The oli caste 1s not found in the Kandy area. In the 1980s and 1ggos there were also a few well-known govigama performers who participated regularly as dancers or drummers in the kankartya. Indeed, one of these govigama dancers, Navaratne, who hailed from a family of traditional bali ritualists, even performed as a mul yakdessa and was widely respected by the berava for his ritual knowledge. 5. For a comprehensive account of caste in Sri Lanka, see Ryan (1953). For a description of caste among Sinhalas in the Kandy period, see Pieris (1956b, 169 92). 6. As with many low-caste groups in India, the berava hold that the status of their caste was much higher in earlier times, and some believe that they were formerly of the priestly caste of Brahmins. Ryan, for example, documents that among the berava of the low-country there are some who claim “Brahminical Indian origins” (1953, 296). 7. kor complementary information on the low-country berava, see Kapferer (1983, 1997) and Simpson (1993, 1997, 2004).

8. For an alternative perspective on this widely accepted view, see Obeyesckere (1984).

g. One of Nurnberger’s consultants told her that some performers even received elephants as a reward for their performances (1998, 17). 10. For details on the rajakariya system, see Pieris (1956b) and Seneviratne (1978). 11. Lawrie does not mention the Kohomba kankartya in the Gazetteer. | assume that this is because his data relates to particular deity shrines (kovilas and devalayas), and performances of the Kohomba kankartya are not related to specific shrines.

236 Notes to pages 85-100 12. See Bandara (1972, 33 34) for a discussion of government assistance to poor artists.

13. In the 1980s and 1ggos performances of Sabaragamuva dance were extremely rare.

14. Lhe panteruva is a brass-ring percussion instrument similar to a tambourine but without the skin. ‘Tourist performances also often include fire-eating and fire-walking, two practices derived from low-country rituals. ‘The repertoire of stage performances of Kandyan dance has not changed much since their inception in the 1940s and 1950s, something that 1s in fact not uncommon for state-sponsored dance troupes (Shay 2002, 46) or folkloric troupes in general (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998, 64). The lists of dances in programs of the 1950s to the 1970s are almost identical to those of the 1980s and 1990s (see, e.g., Manchester 1958).

15. For a comparison and further description of individual vannamas, see Raghavan (1967, 63-68) and Kotelawala (1998, 6167).

16. The Samanala Vannama is a graceful vannama first popularized by the great Nittawela Gunaya. In the Samanala Vannama, the dancer depicts the delicate, fluttering movements of the butterflies associated with the sacred mountain of Sri Pada. I was told that the Maha Bo Vannama was an extraordinarily majestic and beautiful vannama danced exclusively by Nittawela Gunaya. Since his death it has not been performed. 17. At tourist performances, singing 1s often omitted, though the melody of the vannama may be played on a horanava, a traditional wind instrument. 18. For a complete analysis of the musical structure of a vannama, see Jayawecera (2004).

19. This description is based on my dance training in the vannamas with Peter Surasena.

Chapter 3. A History of Kandyan Dance, 1875-1948 1. [he following description is drawn primarily from Seneviratne (1978, 115-18, 130-40).

2. Since as early as the fifteenth century the once mighty Kohomba god and deities included in the group of ‘Twelve Gods (Dolaha Devtyo) had increasingly been displaced by more powerful gods such as Kataragama (Obeyesekere 1979, 1984). By the late nineteenth century Lawric (1896) had documented that in the Kandyan provinces many of the shrines for the ‘Twelve Gods (referred to as kovilas) had been abandoned and left to decay. Only a few Kohomba shrines remained active into the mid-twentieth century.

3. ‘This characterization of the differences between the Kandyan and Colombo clite 1s based largely on information in De Zocte (e.g., 1957, 38, 104) as well as interviews

with Upali Elapata-Katugaha. 4. Dates in various publications range from 1916 to 1925; however, 1917 1s the date most commonly cited (e.g, De Zoete 1957, 109; Gunawardhana 1977, 2; Keyt 1957, 43 Makulloluwa 1976, 16).

5. It was at the Serendib Gallery that I discovered two prints of ves ornamented “devil dancers” performing at a perahara in Kandy in 1875, described below. Serendib was the name used by Arab mariners to refer to the island of Lanka and 1s the origin of the word “serendipity.”

Notes to pages 100 107 Aa | 6. Early photographs of dancers, including a very early photograph of dancers in the ves costume taken in 1854, can be seen on the website www.imagesofceylon.com. 7. ‘The Valiyak mangallaya ritual is annually performed by yakdessas at the Vishnu shrine, following the Kandy Asala Perahara. ‘The ritual, which includes several elements also common to the Kohomba kankartya, has for decades been performed with priests wearing the ves costume. However, I do not know if this was the case in the nineteenth century. 8. ‘The concept of race was introduced by the British. For further discussion of race and its implication for ethnic politics in Sri Lanka see Gunawardana (1990).

g. The human “specimens” brought by Hagenbeck for his exhibitions were also of ereat interest to German anthropologists, primarily for their anthropometric (not ethnological) data (Rothfels 2002, 98). The Berlin Anthropological Society gathered detailed anthropometric information on naked “specimens” from Hagenbeck’s exhibitions and produced an extensive photographic archive of them. One of the society’s members, the prominent anthropologist Rudolf Virchow (a teacher of Franz Boas), worked closely with Hagenbeck and became one of his most adamant defenders against charges that the exhibitions were “heartless” and dehumanizing (Rothfels 2002, 96). Virchow asserted that the exhibitions were of “great benefit to anthropological science” and “a positive scientific achievement of the highest order” (Rothfels 2002, 98, 97). 10. The illustration from Die Gartenlaube is reproduced in Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1998, 43). Importantly, the illustration shows the Kandyan dancers in the tanikacciya

not the ves costume. Hagenbeck’s own account (1909) of the exhibition includes a striking photograph of southern masked dancers. 11. [he dates of De Zoete’s visits were December 1948 to February 1949 and July to October 1949. De Zoete was also the coauthor, with the painter Walter Spies, of the highly acclaimed classic Dance and Drama in Bal (1938) and the author of The Other Mind (1953), a study of South Indian dance. She was one of Britain’s leading dance critics and was Closely associated with the group of writers and scholars (which included Leonard Woolf) known as the Bloomsbury Group (Hitchcock 2002, 1, v). Although not formally trained as an academic, De Zoete read many scholarly books on Ceylon society and ritual and approached her subject with an interest in history, folklore, and aesthetics. Her descriptions are quite evocative, though the chronology 1s often difficult to follow. 12. Program, Kandyan Cultural Centre, August 10, 1984. 13. Itis mportant to note that even in the traditional village context berava dancers (wearing natyad1, not ves) performed in secular contexts such as for radala weddings and other family functions in the early twentieth century, as I was told by Upali ElapataKatugaha. However, I do not know if in earlier periods berava dancers typically performed in these contexts. 14. High-ranking British officials, including Sir Hugh Clifford (who later served as governor of Ceylon from 1925 to 1927), formed close alliances with Kandyan chieftains largely for political reasons. Clifford and others supported Kandyan claims to “special status” in the political realm “in the hope of using the Kandyans as a conservative buffer against the forces of political agitation and reform” (de Silva 1981, 395). 15. Based on evidence from later secular performances where only the tanikacciya was worn, it seems doubtful that the ves was worn in the 1908 performance, signifying that it was at that time still viewed as a sacred object.

238 Notes to pages 107-115 16. Molamure was a radala lawyer from Kegalle who had a wealth of knowledge about Kandyan dance and authored two excellent articles (1956, 1958). Among the dancers I interviewed, the use of the ves in the perahara was controversial. Some felt that the ves should only be worn in the kankartya, while others thought its use in the perahara was acceptable. 17. Program of the Ceylon National Dancers, 1973 tour of the United States, Ganada, and Latin America. 18. As mentioned earlier, berava dancers were known to have taught Kandyan radala male children in their homes. However, George de Silva was not a Kandyan aristocrat; his family came from the low-country town of Galle. 19. Even in the 1980s and 1990s, among some older Kandyan villagers, strict separation between castes was maintained within the household. In these homes lower-caste individuals were offered a low bench on which to sit, and the sharing of food was out of the question. 20. Fora summary of the artistic revivals in various fields (except dance) during this period see Dharmadasa (1977). 21. Most of my information on Sri Palee is from Tissa Kartyavasam. Kartyavasam told me that in the 1930s and 1940s Sri Palee was the major arts center in the Colombo area and there was no rival to it until 1948—49, when the education ministry started to produce government dance teachers. ‘Uhe school was in private hands until 1964. Following the death of the owner, Wilmot Perera, there was a long period when the school lay fallow because of disputes over ownership. Sri Palee became part of the Institute of Aesthetic Studies in 1979. 22. Ceylon Daily News, May 10, 1934, I. 29. Ipidie 3, 24. Ceylon Daily News, May 14, 1934, 3. 25. Llagore’s poem is published in Dassanayake (1978, 32, 43).

26. De Zoete states that the school was about eight miles from Kandy (1957, 24), and in her description of the opening of a new brick school at Amunugama in 1948, she

writes: “The school is built on an eminence above the road, where the old palm- or paddy-roofed school used to be” (1957, 194). Other schools that may also have been established by 1935 are the Pujapitrya school of the Sederaman family and the school at Tittapayjala. ‘he records for the ‘Tittapayjala school in the cultural ministry note that the school was established in 1931.

27. ‘Lhe panteru dance has also continued as a regular item in staged Kandyan dance performances; however, the udakki dance did not endure. Udakki dances are rarely mentioned in performances of the 1940s and 1950s and were virtually nonexistent in stage performances of the 1980s and 1ggos. ‘he performers of udakki were traditionally high-caste males. I was told by a well-known udakki performer in the late 1980s that the absence of udakki dancing in contemporary stage performances was duc largely to the dominance of berava performers in the field of dance teaching, 28. Interview with Minette de Silva, 1997. 29. Ceylon Daily News, March 28, 1941, in Nrtya Pua (1987, 78).

30. Much of my information on Chandralekha is based on an interview with Pani Bharata conducted in 1992. 31. I heard gruesome stories from dancers about how Chandralekha died. Some

Notes to pages 116 125 239 told me she died on stage or shortly after performing on stage in the ves costume. Pani Bharata, who was very close to her, told me that Chandralekha died of pneumonia. 32. Pani Bharata’s father, in fact, had initiated Miriam Pieris in the ves bandima ceremony.

33. My information on Mr. Kapukotuwa and the war years is based on an interview with Mr. H. M. A. B. Herath. Mr. Herath was the director of the National Muscum in Kandy for many years. 34. My information on the Flerttage of Lanka 1s from an interview with Minette de Silva, 1997.

35. My information on Uday Shankar is from an interview with ‘Tissa Kariyavasam, 1997.

36. It is difficult, 1f not impossible, to substantiate this type of claim; I have also heard other names associated with the creation of these dances. 37. The resentment of the Colombo influence by the Kandyans was evident even in the 1980s and 1990s amongst dance “traditionalists” who viewed the exposure to “alien” influences and the indiscriminate introduction of Indian and Western elements as destructive of the tradition. Colombo-based dancers were sometimes viewed by the Kandy-based dancers and connoisseurs as “corrupt,” reproducing a familiar dichotomy of urban “impurity” versus rural “purity.” It should be pointed out as well that at least some part of the animosity of the Kandyans toward Colombo relates to a long-standing division between the Kandyan and low-country Sinhalas. Kandyan Sinhalas are very proud of their cultural traditions, and some adopt an attitude of superiority toward the low-country Sinhalas, largely because of the Kandyans’ longer history of independence from European rule. ‘Tensions between Kandyan and low-country Sinhalas not only are based on cultural differences but also have important political and economic dimensions. For further discussion of these tensions, see Seneviratne (1978). 38. Sri Jayana had been sent by George Keyt to Bombay to study kathakali and bharata natyam (De Zoete 1957, 97). 39. Much of my information on the Amunugama school 1s from an interview with Amunugama Suramba’s daughter Vaidyavathi Rajapakse, 1992.

40. Other important dancers who produced oriental ballets include Vasantha Kumar and Premakumara Epitawala. Alt. For more on Chitrasena, see Nurnberger (1998). 42. For more on Vajira, see Nurnberger (2004). 43. Gunaya’s acclaimed performance was part of a grand spectacle, Pageant of Lanka, that was staged in February 1948 to mark Ceylon’s independence from Britain. Although Gunaya and other traditional dancers performed, and although he received considerable acclaim for his solo performance of the Horse (Turanga) Vannama (Dhanapala 1962, 188), the event overall reflected the primacy of the oriental ballet among the clite. he pageant was a showcase for Colombo-based dancers, particularly Chitrasena and his dance troupe; see Sanmuganathan (1948). 44. International law forbade the mention of a living person’s name on a stamp, but it was well known that the dancer featured on the stamp was Nittawela Gunaya (Manchester 1958, 9).

45. This information on Gunaya’s interest in stage dance is from Peter Surasena, his nephew.

240 Notes to pages 126-130 46. My information on the Ceylon National Dancers in this section is from a program of their 1973 tour of the United States, Canada, and Latin America. 47. [his information is from reviews of the 1958 performance of the Geylon National Dancers at Hunter College Playhouse in New York, sponsored by the Asia Society (Hering 1958; Manchester 1958).

48. In 1948 Sri Lankan folklorist Devar Surya Sena proclaimed that “Kandyan dances are almost world famed” and that artists such as Anna Pavlova, Ruth St. Denis (famed American dancer and wife of ‘Ted Shawn), and Uday Shankar had praised Kandyan dancers “as among the best male exponents to be found anywhere” (1948, 62).

Chapter 4. Dance, Ethnicity, and the State 1. In the quote the word “nation” 1s my translation of the term jatzya, which in contemporary Sinhala can also be rendered as “race.” As Manor states, “In every region of South Asia, the term ‘jati’ (or some variant of it) 1s used by people to mean ‘our kind’ or ‘our ilk.’ In India, Jati usually refers mainly to one’s caste or, more often, sub-caste. Among the Sinhalese, jati can refer to caste, but in most cases it refers principally to the Sinhalese linguistic group conceived of as a ‘race’” (1984, 8-9). In this context, however, I believe “nation” is the more apt translation. Rogers notes that in premodern Sinhala, jatiyya was the most common general term used to designate a “kind” or “group” and could refer to what is now labeled family, caste, religion, ethnicity, or even gender, depending on context (1994, 13). 2. While in the period prior to 1956 the Lanka Gandharva Sabha, a private voluntary organization, played a key role in promoting the study of Kandyan dance, after 1956 the state took over this role (Bandara 1972, 33). 3. Jaffna ‘Tamils are named after the Jaffna peninsula in which their ancestral villages are located.

4. See especially Russell (1982, chaps. 6 and 7) for detailed discussion of this period. 5. Matthew Allen provides a detailed critique of the term “revival” in relation to bharata natyam that is also applicable to Kandyan dance and other aspects of “Sinhala culture.” Allen demonstrates how the term masks several important transformations that took place when the dances of the devadasis were reformed and resanctified for the urban middle class (1997, 63-64).

6. Some Kandyans argued that the Kandyan Sinhalas were a separate “nation” and even a separate “race” from the low-country Sinhalas and thus should be treated as separate groups for the purposes of political representation (Roberts 1g7g9a, 353). In the 1920s the Kandyan politicians who made up the Kandyan National Congress proposed that an independent Ceylon should be a “federal state with regional autonomy for the Kandyans” (de Silva 1981, 395). 7. ‘The ‘Tamil-Kandyan connections were still strong among some families in the twentieth century, as the following anecdote indicates: “Once Mrs. Bandaranaike’s brother, Senator Barnes Ratwatte, was heard speaking to someone in fluent ‘Tamil. When a ‘Iamil person expressed surprise, Mr. Ratwatte replied lightly: “The higher you go up Kandyan society, the ‘Tamil improves.’ ‘This suggests a Geylonese society divided on caste lines rather than on linguistic lines” (Hoole et al. 1990, 67). 8. Quoted in Russell (1982, 155) from the Hansard, 1939, column 833.

Notes to pages 130-135 24] g. These revivals, it should be noted, were largely urban middle- and upper-class phenomena, primarily engaging the elites of Colombo and Jaffna. 10. See Tambiah (1986, 92-102) for a discussion of this phenomenon. My discussions with Sinhalas in the 1980s and 1ggos about the ethnic conflict often revealed a fear of domination by ‘Tamils. ‘The fact that Tamil Nadu served as a refuge and training ground for Sri Lankan ‘Tamil insurgents in the 1980s only served to confirm these fears.

Although Sinhalas make up over 70 percent of the population of the island of Sri Lanka, they often assume a wider regional perspective that includes the Indian subcontinent. ‘This view groups together the ‘Tamils of Sri Lanka with the much larger ‘Tamil population found on the mainland of India. Within this regional context, the Sinhalas find themselves to be but a small minority outnumbered by a ratio of more than five to one.

11. Although there was a resurgence in “oriental” and Kandyan dance, it did not become explicitly ethnic until the 1950s and 1960s. 12. ‘The “traditional culture” was a revitalized version adopted by the nineteenthcentury Hindu reformers. 13. Quoted in Russell (1982, 121) from the Morning Star, August 31, 1931. 14. Quoted in Russell (1982, 122) from the Morning Star, August 7, 1931. 15. In 1934, E. A. P. Wijeyaratne had observed that “the most vicious of our (Ceylon-

ese) political drawbacks” is an “inferiority complex” (Roberts 1979b, 240), and it 1s widely accepted by scholars that “the influence of British civilization upon the Ceylonese middle and upper classes [was] greater than in any [other] country in Asia” (Blackton 1979, 380).

16. In 1952 the Arts Council of Geylon had a Kandyan Dancing Panel, and six village dance schools were receiving some form of official support and recognition (Pieris 1956a, 11). Also in the 1950s, annual dance competitions were being held under the auspices of UNESCO (Molamure 1956, 30).

17. Much of my information on Makulloluwa is from interviews with ‘Tissa Kartyavasam. 18. See Hall (1996) for a comparative case of standardization in Irish dancing. Hall argues that standardization was in part motivated by pragmatic considerations in evaluating dancers by the same standard in regional and national competitions. 19. Other discriminatory acts followed. In the 1970s a process called “standardization” was implemented by the state for university admissions. ‘This policy systematically discriminated against ‘Tamils, who had to obtain higher examination scores 1n order to gain admittance to the universities. Sinhalas who supported the policy justified it as “‘affirmative action” on the grounds that ‘Tamils historically had been admitted in disproportionate numbers to the universities, and ‘Tamil professors held a disproportionate number of positions on university faculties. 20. For details on the political significance of the Mahavamsa view of history, see Daniel (1996), Kemper (1991), Russell (1982), and Seneviratne (1997). 21. Interestingly, one part of the Vyaya~Kuveni myth that 1s not emphasized by

Sinhala nationalists 1s the marriage of Vijaya to a princess from Madurai in South India. As Gananath Obeyesckere points out, this marriage can be interpreted to mean that the ‘Tamils are “not only kinfolk but also co-founders of the nation” (2006, 139). Another important myth from the Mahavamsa that has become central to Sinhala nationalist ideology 1s the tale of Dutugamunu, a Buddhist king who conquered the ‘Tamil king

242 Notes to pages 136 144 Elara. ‘Together, the myths of Vijaya and of Dutugamunu provide the basis for a great deal of Sinhala nationalist political rhetoric. ‘The edited volumes of Smith (1978) and Spencer (1ggob) include several essays on this theme. 22. See Handler (1988) for detailed analysis of the relations between nationalism and “culture.” 23. Wrigeins’s characterization of ‘Tamil culture as vigorous was echoed by several Sinhala women dancers | interviewed in 1992 1n the context of discussing bharata natyam in Sri Lanka. ‘These women noted, with evident admiration, the pride that ‘Tamil people have in their music and dance. One senior performer told me that bharata natyam did not require state support because, unlike the Sinhalas, “Tamil people do not lose their culture.” Similarly, anthropologist Dennis McGilvray observed during his field research in the early 1970s that east coast Muslims regarded with envy “how selfpossessed and culturally secure the ‘Tamils seemed to be” (McGilvray 1990, 295). See also Seneviratne (1999, 106-7) and McGilvray (2008, 319-25). 24. At the time of De Zoete’s visit in the 1940s, “Sederaman senior” (presumably J. E. Sederaman’s father) was the main teacher at the school, and he performed a bali ceremony for her. 25. Udarata Natum halava was the first comprehensive book on Kandyan dancing. Earlier works, such as 8. L. B Kapukotuwa’s book on the eighteen vannamas (Daha Ata Vannam), had addressed aspects of Kandyan dance but not the entirety of the tradition (Sederaman 1968, 108).

26. According to ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, who assisted Sederaman in the writing of his books, Sederaman’s sources were primarily the old palm leaf manuscripts. 27. Although Bowers had noted that dance was compulsory in the larger schools in the 1950s, this statement by Bandara suggests that 1t was not until 1972, under the SLFP government of Mrs. Bandaranaike, that studying an aesthetic subject became an islandwide requirement. In 1977, with the advent of the capitalist-oriented UNP government under J. R. Jayawardena, students were allowed to take either an aesthetic subject or commerce. 28. ‘The Sri Lankan education system 1s modeled on that of the British and at the secondary level is geared to the completion of the GCE O (Ordinary) and A (Advanced) level examinations. Subjects for examinations include history, civics, geography, physics, handicrafts (e.g, weaving, ceramics), Sinhala, English, music, painting, and Kandyan dance. ‘The syllabus for each subject defines the subject matter and sets the standards throughout the island. The standards for university examinations are similarly established by the central bureaucracy. 29. Most of the following information on Heywood, Sri Palee, and the Institute of Aesthetic Studies 1s derived from interviews with the director, ‘Vissa Kartyavasam, in 1988.

30. Dance students at the IAS in 1988 came from many parts of the country, with the exception of the north and the east. All were Sinhala, and the overwhelming majority was female. Because the IAS did not have dormitory facilities, the students lived in nearby neighborhoods in Colombo, often boarding with families or living in group houses they shared with other students. 31. In Sri Lanka, English 1s the prestige language of “development” and 1s referred to as the Aaduva (sword). Those who can speak English are able to literally “cut” (Aapanna)

non-English speakers in conversations, humiliating them with their command of the language.

Notes to pages 145-154 243 32. The “theoretical” knowledge of the rituals taught at the university was considered derivative by many of the traditional dancers in Kandy for whom “practical” (performance-based) knowledge remains the benchmark of performance competence. Reciting the phrase “daka purudda, aha purudda, kara purudda” (learning by seeing, learning by hearing, learning by doing), these dancers often remarked that mere study of the dance does not make one a dancer. 33. Jonathan Spencer remarks that among the villagers he worked with in Sri Lanka in the 1980s, “the state” was viewed as a positive force, making an “enormous difference” in the quality of villagers’ lives, “mostly for the good” (2007, 141). ‘This positive perspective on the state was shared by many dancers | interviewed, specifically in regard to some of the officials of the cultural ministry in Kandy, who were viewed as kind and

concerned about them and their schools. However, traditional dancers did object to “the state” when officials tried to manage their performances in state-sponsored rituals or forced them to perform in ways they found demeaning. 34. Ministry of Cultural Affairs (1985). All subsequent references are to this edition. 35. Lhe complete syllabus is available on the untversity’s website at www.vpa.ac.lk/ Dance/deeree.htm (accessed June 27, 2000).

Chapter 5. Performing the Nation 1. Over the last fifteen years or so, in the wake of the “top-down” theorizings of Ernest Gellner (1983) and Benedict Anderson (1991) and case studies of nationalism that emphasized the ways in which state ideologies and notions of the nation are reproduced

through educational and cultural practices mandated by the state (e.g, Handler 1988; Kligman 1989), greater attention has focused on the specifics of how these ideas of nation are constructed and resisted, how specific communities engage with dominant discourses of nation-states, and how these communities confront, become assimilated to, or become

marginalized by the dominant, usually middle-class, ideologies of the nation-state (Askew 2002; Brow 1996; Herzfeld 1997b; Schein 1996; Spencer 1990a; Williams 1996; Woost 1993). While, as Lowe and Lloyd have noted, “bourgeois nationalism 1s the form in which colonized societies enter modernity” (1997, 4), the spread and acceptance of bourgeols nationalism in postcolonial societies 1s never an even or uncontested process. 2. In post-Independence Sri Lanka, state patronage was extended only to those “indigenous” dances categorized as either “classical” (sastriya natum) or “folk” (jana natum). In general, the dances designated as classical were re-created forms derived from village ritual traditions, whereas folk dances included a wide variety of both ritual and secular forms. [he state did not patronize the “modernized” forms of elite dance, which had to

rely on private funding. ‘The categories of classical and folk are, as Susan Schwartz points out for India, “deeply problematic and deceptively oversimplified” (2004, 3). For an insightful discussion of the folk-classical distinction, see Hansen (1992, 43. 48). 3. I base this assertion on my observations of kankariya dancing by senior ritual performers. Uniformity in dress also appears to be a relatively new phenomenon. Photographs of dancers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries show dancers wearing a variety of different kinds of cloths as their lower garment. 4. Lhe quotations from dancers in this chapter are taken primarily from interviews I conducted in September, October, and November 1992. 5. Burghers began losing their political power by the early twentieth century, thus shifting from the center to the margins of political life. “By the 1930s and 1940s most

244 Notes to pages 156-171 Burgher notables tended to regard politics as a ‘dirty game,’ and withdrew into the social world of the middle class where they expressed their creative talents in the world of sport as well as those of photography (Lionel Wendt, Pat Decker, Reggie Van Cuylenberg), art (George Keyt), music (Lionel Wendt, Irene Van der Wall, Elmer de Haan), drama (E. EF C. Ludowyk) and Ceyloniana (Herbert Keuneman)” (Roberts, Raheem, and Colin-Thome 1989, 178). Lionel Wendt, George Keyt, and Herbert Keuneman were all intensely involved in the promotion of Kandyan dancing. Keyt and Wendt portrayed dancers 1n paintings, drawings, and photographs (Wendt 1950); Keyt and Keuneman promoted interest in the dance through their articles in English-language journals. 6. For an extensive analysis of the embourgeoisement of Sinhala society, see Gombrich and Obeyesckere (1988). 7. See, for example, Burke (1996) and Foster (2002), who discuss the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea, respectively. In Europe as well cleanliness was a key marker of respectability. For a thorough discussion of how cleanliness and hygiene figured in the development of middle-class life in Sweden, see Frykman and Lofgren (1987).

6. As noted earlier, the older generation dancers [ interviewed (those who were in their sixties and seventies in the late 1980s and early 1990s) saw themselves primarily as ritualists and secondarily (if at all) as artists or stage performers. Younger generation dancers saw themselves primarily as artists and professionals, and thus their concerns were less with the preservation of ritual and more with sustaining the dance as a secular stage performance. [his chapter emphasizes the perspectives of these younger generation professional dancers and their concerns about social status.

g. [he term “dancing master” was typically used to refer to dance teachers in the rural areas. 10. See Pigg (1996) for a discussion of how Nepali statements about “belief” in shamanism are interpreted as signs of one’s relation to modernity. 11. The vetti is a cloth worn by men on their lower body; the banian 1s a sleeveless undershirt. 12. The context in which the terms are spoken 1s critical; sometimes these words can also imply a certain level of intimacy between speakers. 13. Evers notes: “The villagers in Hiddaulla, who are predominantly members of the drummer’s caste (beravaya), even show a certain pride in their profession and their connection with a famous temple. ‘This attitude was, however, stimulated by a postindependence Sinhalese nationalism, which suddenly made traditional Sinhalese music very respectable and increased the demands for the services of drummers tremendously. They have to attend most public functions or receptions of political leaders to prove the politicians’ sincerity in fostering the Sinhalese cause” (1972, 46). 14. Nurnberger notes that graduates of the IAS have increasingly replaced berava dance teachers: “Since 1978, more and more dancers who were trained in the institute have come there, driving the traditional dancers out of its staff” (1998, 178). 15. In primary and secondary schools, students are taught in the vernacular languages, Sinhala and ‘Tamil. But private tuition classes for English are booming, and Enelish is required for most Jobs 1n private business. 16. ‘There are only a few high-caste dancers in Sri Lanka who have the knowledge to perform in the Kohomba kankartya. During my period of field research I was aware of only two who were respected enough by the berava to be invited to participate in village rituals.

Notes to pages 174-175 245 Chapter 6. Kohomba Kankartya as Spectacle 1. [he idea of a “second life” as cultural heritage is from Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1998, 129). Traditional rituals — especially those featuring dance and music — have often

served as focal points for cultural revitalization. “Ritual and festive events” are one of the items designated as “intangible cultural heritage” in UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (IGH), adopted in 2003. In September 2000 the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, based in ‘Tokyo, published a database on traditional/folk performing arts as a means of publicizing the intangible cultural heritage of eighteen countries in the Asia/Pacific region. At the top of the list for Sri Lanka was the Kohomba kankartya. Other items on the list were the vannamas, the masked folk drama known as kolam, the Easter passion play known as Raa Tun hattuva, the ritual of the Sanni demon (Sanni yakuma), and the folk drama known as Sokari. See

the website of the Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage at www .accu.or.jp/ich (accessed January 23, 2008).

2. ‘The major Sinhala village rituals include the gammaduva and ankeliya of the Sabaragamuva and Kandy regions (Obeyesekere 1984) and the tovil of the southern region. [he revitalization of the Kohomba kankartya 1s part of a broader trend that began in the mid-twentieth century in which some rituals were redefined as artifacts of “traditional Sinhalese culture.” ‘The best-known example is the famous ten-day pageant of the Kandy Asala Perahara. Anthropologist H. L. Seneviratne (1978, 1984) has richly documented the transformation of the perahara from a royal religious ceremony to a performance of political display and cultural heritage. Like the Kohomba kankariya, the perahara was, in the mid-twentieth century, given a “second life” as cultural heritage.

3. However, many dance teachers have been quite concerned about the lack of qualified male dancers at the professional level and some have made a special effort to recruit and train them. One such teacher is Vajira Dias, a well-known Colombo dancer and the wife of the late Chitrasena. In 2000 Vajira initiated a project called “Preserve the Dance,” a two and a half year course that aims to train male dancers to perform in the Kohomba kankariya as well as on stage (Nurnberger 2004, 97 98). 4. In the 1940s and 1950s, folklore scholars such as Edirtweera Sarachchandra and Theja Gunawardhana (founders of the Folklore Society of Ceylon) documented the Kohomba kankartya, although the rituals were not sponsored for this purpose. Apparently, during the period in which they conducted their research, the hereditary ritualists were not amenable to performing the rituals solely for exhibition or documentation. As Sarachchandra notes in his 1952 introduction to The Folk Drama of Ceylon, a ritual ceremony “can never be arranged for the special purpose of studying it, as folk priests do not like to perform such ceremonies unless a genuine occasion has arisen” (1966, 1x).

5. My information on the Kotte, Peradentya, and Matale kankariyas is from H. L. Seneviratne (pers. comm. 2008), Chandra de Silva (pers. comm. 2006), and Upali Elapata-Katugaha (pers. comm. 1987), respectively. 6. ‘The source for the date of the first Mahaveli project kankariya 1s the website www.lankalibrary.com/rit/kolam.htm (accessed February 8, 2006).

7. For examples of the confusions created by hybrid performances, see David Guss’s analysis of the appropriation of the Venezuelan ritual dance, ‘Tamunangue (2000, 162 63), and Fred Myers’s exegesis of the performance of Australian aboriginal artists at the Asia Society in New York (2002, 255-76).

246 Notes to pages 176-176 8. The pilgrimage sites are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruva, Sigirtya, Kandy, Kataragama, and Sri Pada. Much of the following discussion draws from Daniel (1996, 43-71). g. [he introduction of the “exhibitionary” mode of perceiving dance and ritual in Sri Lanka can be traced to the colonial era and 1s rooted in nineteenth-century European ideas about exhibition and in state practices that were aimed at civilizing populations and constituting them as respectable citizens of the nation. As ‘Tony Bennett has argued, nineteenth-century European muscums, art galleries, and exhibitions were created by states to serve as “educative and civilizing agencies” and were constructed for the purpose of “nationing” a population (Bennett 1994, 129, 141). See also KirshenblattGimblett (1998) and Mitchell (1992) on exhibition. 10. See also Schechner (1988) for a discussion of the ritual to theater continuum. For Schechner, the difference is posited in terms of efficacy (ritual) and entertainment (theater). [he close relationship between efficacy and entertainment is explicit in rituals like the Kohomba kankartya, which is done for a ritual purpose but includes elements of entertainment that are considered an integral part of the healing process. As one speaker remarked at a staged performance of a kankartya in Kekirawa in 1987: “This [ritual] activity has two dimensions: the curing of illness and the enjoyment you get out of watching this natya |drama].” Once pleases the gods by performing well, and the performers are charged with giving pleasure to the audience, to make them happy, to make them laugh. Making the audience laugh “purifies the blood” and is essential to the ritual; for more on the importance of humor in ritual, see p. 34. 1r. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett notes that the masterpiece orientation has been criticized by some heritage professionals. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian institution, for instance, “has been trying to move UNESCO from a masterpiece orientation toward supporting local communities so that they can sustain cultural practices” (2006, 179). 12. Performances by unqualified performers in nontraditional kankartyas have also

had an impact on traditional kankariyas. Several berava ritualists told me that traditional kankartyas were less efficacious and the power of the ves costume had been dimunished due to such performances. 13. Anthropologist Jane Atkinson makes a useful distinction between “lturgycentered” and “performer-centered” rituals. Liturgy-centered rituals are “orderly sets of ritual procedures which coordinate the actions of practitioners and congregants,’ while “performer-centered” rituals are “governed less by liturgy and more by the actions and inclinations of individual practitioners” (1989, 14). 14. Among the ‘Toraja of Sulawesi, Indonesia, ‘Toby Alice Volkman has described how in the 1960s the development of “a cleaned-up, rationalized” form of the local “pagan” religion led to a reformulation of ritual practice (1990, 93). Contributing significantly to the redefinition of ritual was the tourist trade’s promotion of ‘Toraja rituals, particularly funerals, as exotic attractions. Volkman describes how rituals have been “edited” to conform to the demands of both domestic and foreign audiences and how the construction of ritual as a tourist object has led to the “disaggregation” and “recomposition” of ritual elements (1990, 106). As with the Kohomba kankartya, traditional constraints against change have been challenged and the rituals made to conform to external conditions, such as the schedule of a government official (Volkman 1990, 106). 15. During the time I was in the field only two yakdessas, ‘Tittapajjala Suramba and S. M. R. Makchelvela, were recognized as masters of the ritual texts, and both of these

Notes to pages 178 184 247 masters have since died. Older dancers commented that although this decline in knowledge of the texts had been ongoing for several decades, it had become a major problem by the mid-1g80s. At some kankariyas I observed, the mul yakdessa frequently sang alone or at most alternated with one other performer, with little relief or support from other dancers or drummers. Several of the older drummers, in fact, knew more verses than the younger dancers, having played at kankariyas for decades. 16. Although considered nontraditional, the inclusion of acrobatics 1s not new. In 1948 Beryl De Zoete viewed a kankartya near Kurunegala in which dancers “indulged in acrobatics, back somersaults, back bends on the ground, etc. which have nothing to do with Kohomba Kankariya— unless it is held to be a receptacle for all the sensational elements of Kandyan dancing” (1957, 173). 17. Daniel recounts a similar phenomenon in describing the presence of ontic elements at place-events that are primarily epistemic (1996, 62). Examples he cites are the sacred tooth relic of the Kandy Perahara and the sacred bo tree of the museum city of Anuradhapura. 18. ‘Vhe Vadtyak kankartya 1s a version of the Kohomba kankartya. Due to space limitations I do not include in this book detailed discussion of this or other related rituals such as the Valiyak mangallaya and the panduru venkirima.

19. Ihe fact that the kankariya can be so radically restructured reflects the dechning significance of the local deities and the local folk reigion. One of the central features of local deities was their jurisdiction over specific territories. When one visited an area, one paid homage to the deity or deities who reigned there. Kohomba and the other deities propitiated in the kankartya (with the exception of Pattini) are deities whose territories were limited to the central and north-central regions of Sri Lanka. Because the kankartya 1s performed for specific local deities, ike Kohomba, the yakdessa cannot substitute other deities in the ritual. ‘Tittapajjala Suramba, for example, always carried the plaques and weapons of the gods with him to the ritual site, whether it took place in Kandy, Colombo, or elsewhere. ‘This 1s a quite radical move, as it suggests that the power of the deities is no longer related to their specific regions or locales. Since this 1s a fundamental aspect of the folk religion, it illustrates the extent to which that system of practices has eroded. 20. The necessity of attending to other jobs or obligations often prevents dancers from arriving until just before the kankartya 1s to begin. It was also not uncommon for

some performers to leave before the ritual was completed in the late morning for the same reason.

21. The Matale program of 1968 was also calculated on intervals of clock time, though more precisely in units of five minutes. 22. Some yakdessas, such as $8. M. R. Makehelvela, came into less conflict with state officials, as they were willing to make changes and break old taboos because they believed that change was inevitable. ‘These yakdessas viewed it as better to perform the ritual — even if radically altered than to see it die out completely. ‘These yakdessas recognized and had been brought into the “ritual as culture” discourse. 23. However, the presence of a printed schedule does not necessarily mean performers will adhere to it, and I often noted disparities between the schedule and the timing of the actual events. The Colombo kankariya, for example, did not start until 10:00 p.m., two hours after the scheduled time.

246 Notes to pages 187-206 24. See Spencer (1990c) for an insightful discussion of how anthropologists are implicated in nationalist projects. 25. Lhe chanting of the sutraya was part of a ceremony known as the pirit ceremony. he pirit ceremony consists of monks reciting specific Buddhist texts as protection against illness, demonic afflictions, and evil planetary influences (Obeyesekere 1ggo, 118). See Obeyesekere (1ggo0) for a complete description of a pirit ceremony. 26. Bodhi puja literally means “worship of the bo tree.” See Gombrich and Obeyesekere (1988, 384 410) for an extensive discussion of the ceremony of bodhi pya. 27. ‘hese monks seem to be more orthodox in their interpretation of the precept than some others. For example, Gombrich and Obeyesekere describe a Buddhist monk who sponsored a Kandyan dance school (kalayatanaya) and report that “this type of i1nvolvement, which is considered ‘cultural,’ 1s now widespread, and few object that it contravenes the prohibition on monks’ watching dancing and other shows” (1988, 228). See chapter 7 for more on monks and dancing. 28. In Kerala in the early 1990s, in fact, break-dancing had become a standard item in entertainments preceding the ritual drama, mutzyettu, even in remote areas (Caldwell 2001, 102).

29. Neville Weereratne records that in 1965 a staged kankartya was performed in Colombo, featurmg more than twenty dancers, including the renowned berava performers Nittawela Ukkuwa and Nittawela Gunaya (Weereratne 1993, 142). Unfortunately, Weereratne gives no further details of this event. ‘This is the only kankartya that I am aware of that has ever been performed on stage in Sri Lanka.

Chapter 7. Between Purity and Respectability 1. Although the overwhelming majority of dance students are female, the archetypal Kandyan dancer 1s still the male ves dancer, and male dancers are the featured performers in major ritual processions, state-sponsored parades and ceremonics, and at weddings.

2. See Lynch (2007) and Hewamanne (2008) on the importance of the “good girl” image for Sinhala women. 3. Vajira Dias, the wife of the modern dancer Chitrasena, helped to make dance respectable in later decades. See Nurnberger (2004) for discussion of Vajira’s career and impact on dance. 4. Due to the inherently polysemous quality of dancing bodies, where meaning 1s often ambiguous, contradiction and paradox seem to be the rule rather than the exception in women’s dance. For a review of issues in dance and gender, see Reed (1998, 516-20). 5. Unless otherwise noted, the quotations from dancers in this chapter are taken from interviews I conducted in September, October, and November 1992. 6. See Obeyesekere (1984, 14-16) for a detailed discussion of impurity. 7. The extent to which women actually follow these proscriptions varies.

8. ‘The information presented here concerning respectable sites for dancing 1s based primarily on interviews with senior women dance teachers from Kandy. ‘The situation for women dancers in Colombo may be different, as women in Colombo are, 1n general, not as restricted in their movements as elsewhere. g. See Seizer (2000, 2005) for discussion of the strategies used by Special Drama actresses in South India to protect their reputations in similar circumstances.

Notes to pages 209 216 249 10. Dance scholar Marjorie Franken has noted that in Egypt, when women perform dances solo, their performances are interpreted as much more provocative than when they dance in a group (1996, 271). “An individual woman dancing sends a very different message than a group of dancers, even if the group consists entirely of women. . . . [Solo] dancing is an invitation to sex by women” (1996, 271). 11. For details on a suvisi performance of the 1g60s, see Gombrich (1971, 127-31). 12. Much of my information on suvisi derives from interviews with Mr. ‘Thenuwara in 1987 88. Mr. Thenuwara was one of the main organizers of suvisi performances in the Kandy region. 13. ‘The Ramanya nikaya is the most recently formed of Lanka’s Buddhist nikayas and tends to observe the monastic rules more strictly (Gombrich 1971, 310). 14. The use of dance for fitness rather than “art” 1s widespread in urban areas, for middle-aged as well as young women. While formerly the ideal body type for Sinhala women was somewhat fleshy and full-figured, in the 1980s and 1ggos the “fit” body emerged as a preoccupation of Sinhala women, at least in urban areas. ‘To improve their figures, women now use Kandyan dance as a form of what Sinhalas refer to as “body exercise.” In the late 1980s some middle-aged women students of Mr. Surasena’s told my research assistant somewhat apologctically that their main reason for taking dance lessons was to lose weight. 15. Folk dances have long been a staple of Sri Lankan stage performances and are included in the state dance curriculum. Some folk dances such as the Stick Dance and Pot Dance are based on centuries-old traditional village dances, while others such as the Harvest Dance were invented in the mid-twentieth century. 16. In contrast, women who perform the social dances known as baila in a provocative way are seen as expressing their own desires, for which they can be roundly condemned (Hewamanne 2003, 87 go). 17. Uhe sexualization of dance is also evident in visual representations of women dancers in drawings (often used in dance textbooks and dance programs), paintings, batik wall-hangings, and notecards, among others. A very common style of depicting women, which has been reproduced consistently since the 1950s, shows them 1n filmy, semitransparent costumes. 18. Daily News, February 4, 2002 (www.dailynews.lk/2002/02/04/feao4.html [accessed March 10, 2008]). 19. Daily News, February 18, 2003 (www.dailynews.lk/2003/02/18/new25.html [accessed March 10, 2008]).

20. Most of the following information is based on interviews with Ms. Hemalatha and her students conducted in March and June 2008. I am deeply grateful to H. L. Seneviratne and Sachini Weerawardena for their assistance in conducting these interviews.

21. Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Indian Buddhist King Asoka, came to Lanka in the third century BCE with her brother Mahinda to establish the Buddhist order on the island. ‘The Sanghamitta Perahara commemorates this event. 22. In 1982 an all-female Kohomba kankariya was performed at the IAS, but the women performers did not undergo the ves ceremony or wear the full ves costume. However, they did perform as ritualists throughout the ceremony. ‘The kankartya was organized by Dr. Tissa Kartyavasam, then the director of the IAS, and Clarence Delwela, a high-ranking government official from a Kandyan radala family. When I asked Dr. Kartyavasam why he decided to hold a Kohomba kankartya with women students, he

250 Notes to page 216 told me that as women were now the ones carrying forward the tradition, they should have the opportunity to perform the rituals. Although he had the support of some of the berava teachers, others objected strenuously, and the issue was hotly debated in the newspapers. hose who criticized the women’s participation appear to have won the debate, as a female kankartya was never again attempted at the IAS. 23. Daily News, February 4, 2002 (www.dailynews.lk/2002/02/04/feao4.html [accessed March 10, 2008]). 24. Daily News, February 4, 2002 (www.dailynews.lk/2002/02/04/feao4.html [accessed March 10, 2008}]).

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Note: Page numbers in italics indicate a photograph.

acrobatics: about, 91, 178-79; Buddhist temple Anderson, Benedict, 243n1 dances and, 209-10; gender and, 203; Ao- —ankelaya (horn-game ritual), 34, 80, 232n23,

homba kankariya and, 48, 50, 178 79, 186, 245n2 192, 247n16; ves falluva and, 54,90;women __anklets (selambu), 4.1, 4.2, 47-48, 64, 70

and, 206, 209-10 Anuradhapura, 33, 87, 176, 180, 232n21, adavva, 50~51, 52, 88, 220, 234n51 246n8, 247n17 aestheticization, 5, 227n2 arangelram (dance debut), 20, 132, 212, 215, 216.

Ajuha: A Randyan Ballet, 92, 95 See also bharata natyam alankara matra (ornamentation phrase of a Argenti-Pillen, Alex, 229n13, 231nn6~—7, 233n44.

dance), 50, 51, 52, 53, 65, 66, 88, 89 aristocratic subcaste. See radala

Algama Kiriganitha, 76, 122 The Art of handyan Dance (Udarata Natum halava) Algama Pani Bharata. See Pani Bharata (Sederaman), 95, 137. 40, 242nn25 26 Algama paramparava (dance lineage), 78, 84. See Arts Council of Ceylon, 14.6, 24.1n16

also Algama Kiriganitha; Pani Bharata Arts Council of Sri Lanka, 181, 223

Allen, Matthew, 234n50, 240n5 Asadrusa (Buddhist triple gem) Vannama, 87, altars: ayile, 59, 60, 61, 73, 90, 186, 189, 191, 219 219; yahana, 59, 60, 60, 61, 179, 186, 189, Asala Perahara: about, 3; berava performers

IQI, 219, 234n61 and, 80, 91, 168; cultural heritage and, Amarapura nikaya (Buddhist sect), 209 245n2; fieldwork and, 19, 21; Gajaga (elAmbalangoda kankariya, 25, 179, 190-92, 196, ephant) Vannama and, 88; Kandyan

229 dancers and, 3; Kataragama, 19; Peter

Ambarapati. See Pattini Surasena and, 163; ves dancers and, 88, Ambrose, Kay, 233n41 99 100, 107. See also Valiyak mangallaya

Ampitiya, performance at, 74, 76-78 Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Amunugama dance school, 113, 119 21, 154, Heritage (UNESCO), 245n1

199, 238n26, 239n39 Asia Society, 5, 7, 126, 194, 196, 245n7 Amunugama paramparava (dance lineage), 84.. Askew, Kelly M., 229n15, 230n22, 230n24,

See also Amunugama Suramba; Raja- 243NnI pakse, Vaidyavathi; Surasena, Peter astrologers and astrology, 24, 74, 75, 79, 80, 92,

Amunugama Suramba, 76, 117, 118 21, 126, 93, 183

161, 166-67, 199, 239n39 Atkinson, Jane, 24.6n13

264 Index aluraya (sponsor/patient), 25, 58, 59, 61,62,179, — berava performers: about, 12, 27, 79 80; on ac-

182, 186, 188-89, 234n55 robatics, 90; colonial era and, 96, 108, alya bera (competitive drums), 62, 63, 77, 186, 110, 114, 118, 123, 126; generational dil-

193, 219 ferences among, 82; Kandyan elite and,

Auspicious Drums (Magul Bera), 62, 63, 64, 77, b1, 84-85; Kandyan identity and, 81; Ao-

189-90, 193, 195, 219 homba kankanya and, 27; low-country, 81, Avanduma (dance), 70, 234n52 225n7; paramparavas of, 83-84; radala paavul hara (beaded chest ornament), 41, 42, 43, trons and, 81, 64-85; regional distinc-

92, 93 tions among, 81; state education system

ayile (minor altar), 59, 60, 61, 73, 90, 186, 189, and, 133, 142; on vannam dances, 89;

IQI, 219 women dancers and, 201, 202-2, 217. See

Ayile Yadima (Invocation to the Deities), 65, also older generation dancers; respect-

184 ability of berava performers; yakdessa; and specific performers

Balavatgoda Sirisoma, 223 Betel Leaf Offering Dance (Bulat Padaya), 35, bal (ritual for planetary deities), 72, 80, 84, 93, 55, 67, 185, 202, 203, 219 99, 138, 160, 162, 196, 235n4, 242n24 bharala nalyam: arangelram (dance debut), 20, Ballad of Kohomba (Kohomba Halla), 51, 72- 132, 212, 215, 216; dynamism in, 8—9; 1n-

73, 192, 234N53, 235n70 fluence on Kandyan dance, 203, 212; Inballets (dance-dramas), 13, 92, 95, 117, 118, 121- stitute of Aesthetic Studies students and, 24, 133, 144, 150, 230N19, 239N40, 239n43 144, 229n16; kankariya dances and, 36; Bandara, H. H., 135-36, 140, 141, 146, 240n2, oriental ballet and, 123; Sinhala women,

242N27 and performance of, 203; Sri Lankan

bandara deities: about, 29; Irugal Bandara, 29, Tamils and, 11, 131-32, 142, 229nn15~ 16; 35, 65; Kande Bandara, 29, 35, 65, 186, at Sri Palee, 112; University of Visual and

234n61 Performing Arts curriculum and, 150

Bandaranaike, Sirimavo, 240n7, 242n27 Bharucha, Rustom, 230n20 Bandaranaike, 8S. W. R. D., 10, 128, 134 bhisana kalaya (“ume of terror”), 18, 20, 230n25,

Bandaranaike family, 75 231n7

bar (dandwyama), 44, 113, 147 Blackton, Charles, 24115 Barnett, L. D., 235n67 body: extension of, 48; extensions to, 234n54; basnayaka nilame (chief lay official of a temple), five parts of, 45; ideal for male dancer,

75,98 48-49; ideal for women, 239n14. See

Batgoda Gurunnanse, 189—90 also mandiya; ves costume Bavilgamuva Lapaya, 18, 122 Bowers, Faubion, 46-47, 54, 124, 125, 136, Bavilgamuva paramparava (dance lineage), 84.. 2339nn47-48, 242n27

See also Bavilgzamuva Lapaya break-dancing, 194, 248n28

Bechert, Heinz, 28, 231n4 Breckenridge, Karan, 123 Bellanvilla Raja Maha Viharaya, 215 Briggs, Charles, 172

belled leggings, 48, 702, 233n47 Brow, James, 243n1 Bellwood kankaniyas, 187, 223 Buckland, ‘Theresa, 227n3 Bellwood Training Institute, 13, 128, 141, 185, Buddawatte paramparava (dance lineage), 84

107229 Buddha: in Sinhala Buddhist cosmos, 28; tooth Bendix, Regina, 6 rehe of the; 3, 25, 85, 66, 69, 160,216; Bennett, Tony, 227n2, 246n9 247n17; Vijaya and the, 31, 231n13

bera. See drums Buddhism, Sinhala, 26, 27-28, 80-81. See also berakarayas. See drummers Buddha; Buddhist kankanya; Buddhist

Index 263 temple; Buddhist temple dances; Sinhala Colombo elite, 96-97, 97-98, 99, 110, 117-18,

Buddhist folk religion IIQ, 127, 153-54, 168. See also Burgher Buddhist kankariya, 80-81, 180, 192 94, 224, elite

248n27 Colombo kankariya, 181-84, 223, 247n23

Buddhist temple (wiharaya), 4.2, 79, 85, 128, 166, colonial history of Kandyan dance: about, 16,

192-94, 196, 201, 206, 209-10, 215 22, 96-97, 126-27, 240n48; AMunugama Buddhist temple dances, 206, 209~ 10, 248n27, village school and, 113, 119-21, 238n26;

24QnnI1-13 art and entertainment and, 106-7,

Bulat Padaya (Betel Leaf Offering Dance), 35, 237nn13~-15; Caldecott House and, 118-

55, 67, 185, 202, 203, 219 19; Carl Hagenbeck and 96, 103.5, 108, Burgher elite, 97, 99, 110, 119, 153-54, 243- 125, 138, 237nng-10; Ceylon National

44n5. See also Keyt, George; Wendt, Dancers and, 124, 125 26; Colombo

Lionel elite and, 97-98, 99, 110, 117-18, 119;

Burghers (Sri Lankans of European descent), 9 cultural renaissance and, 110-11, 129

Burke, Timothy, 244n7 32, 240n5; “devil dancers” and, 100-103, 102, 104, 125, 236n5; exhibitions and,

Caldecott House, 118-19 96, 103-5, 108, 125, 237nn8~10; foreign Caldwell, Sarah, 248n28 interest in dance and, 108— 10; °43 Group Carnatic music, 131, 132 in Colombo and, 118; Heritage of Lanka, caste discrimination, 84, 94, 165~-69 117, 124; Indian influence and, 110~13, caste hierarchy, Sinhala, 26, 72, 78, 79, 85, 94, 117-18, 127; oriental ballet and, 118, 121 130, 165-69, 235n5, 238n19, 240n7. See 24; the Prince of Wales perahara and, 16, also berava performers; govigama; radala 48, 100-103, 102; state involvement in

Ceylon, xv, 229n18. See also Sri Lanka dance schools and, 116-17; Vaddas “ethCeylon National Dancers, 7, 124, 125-26, 137, nographic” exhibition and, 103; women

238n17, 240n46, 240n47 and, 114-16, 201, 238-39n31, 239n32. See

Chakravorty, Pallabi, 227n3 also Kandyan dance Chandralekha (Indian dancer), 8 comic dramas: Comic Episode of the Guru, Chandralekha (Perera), 114-16, 142, 155, 198- 68, 194; drummers in, 4.0, 234n64; ritual

99, 238n30, 238 39n3I and, 24, 26, 34, 246n10; Ritual of the Chatterjee, Partha, 152 Boar, 18, 24, 72, 192, 194; Ritual of the Chitrasena dance school, 214 Vadda, 26, 70-71, 194, 235n68; sexual Chitrasena Dias: 53, 113, 118, 121-24, 133, 142, symbolism in, 71, 235n68

155, 239N41, 239n43 Comic Episode of the Guru (Guruge Malava),

Circus Knie (Switzerland), 105 68, 194 classical and folk, categories of, 24.3n2 competitive drums (alya bera), 62, 63, 77, 186,

classicization, 7, 152-53, 228n7 193; 210 Clifford, Sir Hugh, 106, 237n14 Consecration of the Dancer’s Cloths (Hangala

Cohn, Bernard, 227- 28n4 Yadima), 61, 62, 184, 189, 195 Colin-Thome, Percy, 243-44n5 costume. See ves costume Colombo: Caldecott House in, 118 19; dance cultural heritage, 4, 5, 14, 196, 227n1, 245n!1 and, 118, 119, 239n37; elite patrons from, cultural objectification, 4—5, 12, 92, 177, 179,

97-98, 99, 110, 117-18, I19, 153-54, 168; 227n2, 227-28n4. See also epistemic; exhi-

"43 Group in, 118; Hertage of Lanka in, bitionary order 117; Aankaniyas in, 181-84, 185-86, 247n23; Cultural Policy in Sn Lanka (UNESCO), 135-36

women dancers in, 114-16, 212, 215, 276, cultural renaissance and revitalization: colo-

240n6 nial era and, 110—11, 119, 129-32, 240n5;

266 Index cultural renaissance and revitalization (conl.) Dance of the Coconut Flower (Mala Natima), kankariya and, 174-76, 245nn1- 3; Sinhala 51, 59, 71-72, 192, 195, 23453, 234n59 nationalism and, 132 37; women and, Dance of the Meleyi Yakas (Meleyi Yakkun

198-99 Natima), 184, 186, 234n57

curse of Kuveni (divz dos), 30, 32-34, 231Inn14-17 dance phrase (malra), 50-53, 65, 88 dancer-priest. See yakdessa

Dalada Maligawa (‘Temple of the Buddha’s dancers. See berava performers; high-caste danc-

Tooth), 25, 85, 87, 93, 99, 172, 188 ers; older generation dancers; women; yahdance debut. See arangetram; kala eli mangallaya dessa; and specific dancers dance-dramas (ballets), 13, 92, 95, 117, 118, 121 dance school. See kalayalanayas 24, 133, 144, 150, 230N1Q, 239N40, 239n43 Dances of Seven Offerings (Hat Padaya), 67—

dance exercises (saramba): arm (al), 45, 220; 68, 195, 215 bar (dandwama), 44; loot (pa), 44-45, 220; dance studies: anthropological, 227n9; critical,

ground (goda), 4.5, 220; standardization of, 13; nonelite perspectives and, 14

134 dance training, 44-45, 83, 116, 140, 145, 153,

dance in the Aohomba kankariya: about, 35-36; 205, 220. See also education; kalayalanayas; acrobatic movements and, 48, 50; adavva, and specific mstitutions; specific schools 50-51, 52, 220, 234n51; alankara matra, 50, dance troupes: national, 5, 6-8, 137, 228n8;

51, 52, 53, 65, 66, 88, 89; bharala nalyam state sponsorship of, 6-8, 13, 91, 153, and, 36; drumming and, 39~40, 63, 219, 208, 228-29nI0, 236n14; tourist, 145 233nn32- 33; eyes and gaze and, 35, 42, dandiyama (bar), 44, 113, 147 47, 52, 54, 90, 178, 233nn44—45; facial ex- Daniel, E. Valentine, 176, 181, 241n20, 247n17

pression and, 47, 178; footwork and, 44, Danture kankariya, 189 90, 2223

46, 47-48; fundamentals of, 42-48, 43; Dassanayake, M. B., 238n25 gaman malra, 50, 51, 53, 65; group dances, Davy, John, 233n36 48-53, 49; 234n53; hand movements, 45 de Alwis, Malathi, 200 47, 70, 233n43; improvisations and, 48, deities and spirits, 26, 27, 28-30, 231nn5-6,

49, 52-53, 54, 64, 73; Indian classical 231nn8 9. See also Sinhala Buddhist folk dance and, 36-37, 45, 47-48, 232n29; religion; and specific deities and spirits kastirama, 45, 50-51, 52, 88, 234n503 ka- deity shrines. See devalayas thakah and, 36; lasya (style of dancing), 35, Delwela, Clarence, 75, 249-50n22 201-2, 232n24; mandiya (dance position), de Mel, Lakdasa, 119 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 54, 90, 233n39; matra de Mel, Neloufer, 200 (dance phrase), 50-53, 65; music and, 37- de Mel, Vasantha K., 214-15 40; nontraditional movements and, 54 Derantyagala, Justin, 75, 114, 118, 119 55, 178-79, 24.7n16; singing and, 37-309, Derantyagala family, 75 45, 46, 66, 175, 177, 232n31; swrumaruva, 51; de Silva, Chandra, 245n5

solo dances, 55, 90; structure of, 50-53, de Silva, George E., 110, 238n18 55, 234nn49- 51, 234n53; sural, 50; landava de Silva, Jani, 229n13 (style of dancing), 35, 95, 201-2; 232n24; de Silva, K. M., 130, 131, 237n14, 240n6 training, 44-45, 83; vescostume and move- de Silva, Marcia (Anil), 117 ments in, 53-54. See also ritual acts of the de Silva, Minette, 110, 238n28, 239n34 hohomba kankariya; and specific dances devadasis, 37, 232n26, 240n5

dance lineage. See paramparava devalayas (deity shrines): 37, 40, 42, 75, 76, 79-80, Dance of the Arrow (Kol Paduva), 55, 56, 69 85, 98, 188, 234—35n65, 235nI1, 237N7 Dance of the Bow (Dunu Malappuva), 55, Devanagala Simon, 224

68-69 “devil dance,” 106, 107, 109, 122

Index 267 “devil dancers,” 100, 104, 125, 236n5 certificates for performers and, 94-95; The Devils’ Dance at the Prwate Perehara before the university degrees in dance and, 141, Prince, handy (The Graphic), 101, 102 142, 144,150, 152, 161, 162, 163, 164, 170; De Zoete, Beryl,.27; 36; 103, 10453, 107, 108, women and, 144, 199. See also kalayataTOSI! 116, VIG, “TOO. TOS, TOR. 127, nayas; and specific institutions; specific schools 138, 233n47, 236nn3~-4, 237nI1, 238n26, educational kankariyas, 11, 25, 175, 177, 180-81,

239n38, 242n24, 247nI16 184-87, 223 Dhanapala, D. B., 124, 125 Ek ‘Talaya, 4.6, 55, 69-70, 219, 233n45, 234Dharmadasa, K. N. O., 113, 116, 238n20 35n65, 235n66 Dias, Maurice. See Chitrasena Dias Elapata-Katugaha, Upalt, 17, 74-75, 76, 77, 78, digge natum (female temple dances), 20, 37, 75, 84, 232n28, 235n2, 235n4, 236n3g, 237n13,

114, 198, 232n26 245N5

Dissanayake, Mudiyanse, 158, 169 embourgeoisement, 156, 230n21, 244n6 dwt dos (curse of Kuveni), 30, 32-34, 231nn14- 17 English language, 144, 160, 242n31, 244n15

Dolaha Deviyo (Twelve Gods), 28-30, 99, epistemic, 176-81, 185, 187, 192, 247n17. See

226n2. See also specific gods also ontic Dolapihille, P., 119 Epitawala, Premakumara, 113, 123, 202, Doniger, Wendy (Wendy O’Flaherty), 74, 229N40

231NI5 Erdman, Joan L., 8

dress. See ves costume ethnic conflict, 18, 20, 134, 229n12 drummer caste. See berava performers ethnic groups and identity, 4, 5, 9, 10, 80 drummers (berakarayas): about, 79~80; as artists, 81, 229nT1, 239n37. See also specific ethnic

157; comic dramas and, 234n64; costume groups of, 62, 63; Aohomba kankarwa and, 27, 35, ethnic nationalism. See nationalism 246-47n15; relationship with dancers, 40, Evers, Hans-Dieter, 167, 244n13 52-53; seniority and, 45; Sinhala nation- — exams. See education alism and, 244n13; women’s ves initiation exercises. See dance exercises

ceremonies and, 217 exhibitionary order, 5, 136, 227n2, 246ng drumming, 39~40, 63, 219, 233nn32-33. See also —_ exhibitions, 96, 103-5, 108, 125, 237nn8—10

drummers; drums Exposition Coloniale (Paris), 5, 227n2 drums (era): 39, 86, 145, 147, 233n32

Dummala Padaya (Incense Offering Dance), Feld, Steven, 154-55, 169

55, 67 Fernando, Shanez, 17, 21 68-69 Five Stories (Kata Paha), 30

Dunu Malappuva (Dance of the Bow), 55, fieldwork, 17-22

Dutugamunu, 241~-42n21 Fogel, Fred, 119

folk and folkloric dance, 6 9, 213, 228n5,

earth goddess (Sriya Kantava), 30, 60, 189 228n8, 236n14, 243n2, 249nI5

Eck, Diana, 233n44 folk culture, 5-6

Edmondson, Laura, 213 folk region. See Sinhala Buddhist folk religion education: dance curriculum and, 133 34, 140 folk songs, 6, 76, 95 46, 150, 201, 242n27, 243n32, 249nI5; folklore, 5, 6-7, 228n6, 228n9 educational kankariyas, 180, 184. 87; Gan- Folklore Society of Ceylon, 245n4. dharva exams and, 116-17, 141, 162; guru- folklorization, 5

sisya method of, 83; Kandyan elites and, "43 Group, 118, 133

153, 154; marginalization, and berava Foster, Robert J., 244n7 performers’, 161-64; state exams and Franken, Marjorie, 249n10

268 Index Friedland, Lee Ellen, 6 117; Maha-Bo (sacred bodhi tree) VanFrykman, Jonas, 156-57, 244n7 nama and, 236n16; Pageant of Lanka and, 239n43; paramparava ol, 84; Samanala

Gabada Kollaya (Raiding of the Storehouse), (butterfly) Vannama and, 236n16; staged

188, 235n70 kankarwa performance by, 248n29; Ted

Gadaladeniya Ukkuwa, 18 Shawn and, 109; as teacher, 110, 118; ‘TuGahaka (conch shell) Vannama, 87, 203 ranga (horse) Vannama and, 120, 124, Gajaga (elephant) Vannama, 3, 87, 88, 89, 205, 239n43; Uday Shankar and, 117

2125 210,'220 Guruge, Ananda W. P., 138-39 gaman matra, 50, 51, 53, 65, 88 Guru Gedara (television program), 211 gammaduva, 11, 58, 14.4, 234N55, 245n2 Guruge Malava (Gomic Episode of the Guru),

Gandharva exams, 16-17, 141, 162 68, 194 Gandharva Sabha, 116-17, 133, 141, 240n2 guru must (secrets of the teacher), 57, 95 gala beraya (Kandyan drum), 73, 39, 86, 14.7. See guru-sisya method of training, 44, 83, 94, 116

also drumming Guss, David, 5, 177, 213, 227n2, 230n22, 2945n7 Saze, 35, 425 47> 52> 545 65, go, 178, 233nnN44~ 45

Geertz, Clifford, 7 Hagenbeck, Carl, 96, 103-5, 108, 125, 138,

Gellner, Ernest, 161, 243n1 237nng- 10

gender, and dance, 201 4, 248n4. See also Hall, Frank, 241n18

lasya; landava; women Hall, Perry, 169-70 Giragama Aesthetic Teacher Training Insti- Hamangoda kankariya, 223

tute, 128, 141, 145, 161-62 Handbook for Private halayatanayas (Paudgahka ha-

Gnanadasa, 76, 77, 78 layalana frlibanda Alpota) (Ministry of CulGodakumbura, Charles, 26, 27, 230nn1- 2, tural Affairs), 95, 147, 148, 221

231n10 hand gestures (hastayas), 40-47, 70, 93, 233n43 gods. See deities and spirits Handler, Richard, 140, 227n2, 227-28n4, Gombrich, Richard, 26, 27-28, 29, 209~10, 242N22, 243nI 230N21, 231n4, 231n8, 233n45, 24.4n6, Hangala Yadima (Consecration of the Dancer’s

248n26, 248n27, 249nI1, 249n13 Cloths), 61, 62, 184, 189, 195

Gonda, Jan, 233n44 Hanguranketa, 80, 121; Aankariya at, 224 Goodrich, Janet, 234n54 Hansen, Kathryn, 228n7, 243n2 Gopinath, 122, 123, 124 Hantana mountain range, 17, 33, 34, 232n20 govigama, 79, 98, 142, 149, 166, 168, 209, 210, Hapugoda, J. D., 223 235n4. See also high-caste dancers; radala Harvest Dance (Kulu Natuma), 86, 213, 249n15 The Graphic, “Vhe Prince of Wales in Ceylon,” Harvey, Peter, 209

100, IOI, 102, 102, 103, 109 Hasta Dolaha (Twelve Hand Gestures), 4.6, 70, Great Invocation (Maha Yatikava), 30, 38, 40, 93, 233N43

232N22, 233n35 hastayas (hand gestures), 46—47, 70, 93, 233n43

Grimm brothers, 6 Hat Padaya (Dances of Seven Offerings), 67

Gunasekera, Tamara, 94 68, 195, 215

Gunasinghe, Siri, 232n25 Hat ‘Talaya (Seven Rhythmic Sequences), 234 Gunawardhana, Theja, 34, 232n22, 232n30, 35n65 233n35, 236n4, 237n8, 245n4 headdress. See ves lattuva Gunaya, Nittawela: about, 18, 117, 124-25, 151} Heenbaba Dharmasiri, 18, 118, 126, 163

Caldecott House and, 118; Ceylon Na- Hemalatha, Miranda, 215-17, 249n20 tional Dancers and, 125 26; fame of, 118, Henry, Rosita, 227n3 125, 133, 239n44; Heritage of Lanka and, Herath, H. M. A. B., 95, 116, 239n33

Index 269 Herder, Johann Gottfried von, 5 6 Indian classical dance, 7, 36-37, 45, 48, 111, heritage kankariyas, 25, 179, 180, 181-84, 196, 116, 123, 150, 233n39, 233n46, 234n50.

24723 See also bharata nalyam; kathak; kathakah;

Heritage of Lanka, 117, 124, 239n34 manipuri dance Herzfeld, Michael, 155, 167, 172, 243n1 Indonesia, 7, 15, 196-97, 230n23, 246n14 Hewamanne, Sandya, 200, 248n2, 249n16 initiation ritual (ves bandima): about, 12, 42, Heywood College of Fine Arts, 115, 133, 142 gt; Chitrasena and, 122; seniority and, high-caste dancers: berava performers on, 170- 233n40; women and, 215, 233n37 71; Buddhist temple dance and, 209~10; innovations (nrmana), 54, 89, 114, 119, 204,

caste discrimination and, 165, 166; digge 214-15 nalum and, 37; early stage performances Institute of Aesthetic Studies (IAS): adminisof, 115, 117; Institute of Aesthetic Studies trative positions at, 161-62; berava perand, 168; Aohomba kankarwa and, 235n4, formers and, 142, 1608, 244n14; dance 244n16; respectability of dance and, 153, curriculum at, 141-46, 150, 243n32; ed155; suviste dance and, 209-10; udakki ucational kankarwa at, 185-86, 223; Endance and, 238n17; ves initiation and, clish language studies at, 144, 242n31; 122; views on berava performers, 142, 159- fieldwork and, 17; profession for gradu60; women, 37, 114-16. See also Chan- ates from, 145; ritual-centered curricu-

dralekha (Perera); Chitrasena Dias; Dis- lum at, 143-45, 243n32; students at, sanayake, Mudiyanse; Navaratne Banda, 144-45, 242n30; university status of, 14.2;

H. M.; Pieris, Miriam women’s performance of kankariya at, Hitchcock, Michael, 237n11 249 50n22. See also Heywood College

Hitgoda Siridara, 93 of Fine Arts; Kariyavasam, ‘Tissa; Pani Hobsbawm, Eric, 227n2 Bharata; Rajapakse, Vaidyavathi; Sri

Hoole, Rajan, 130, 240n7 Palee arts school

horn-game ritual (ankeliya), 34, 80, 232n22, institutions for dance, state, 140—46, 150,

245n2 242n27. See also specific institutions

Hughes-Freeland, Felicia, 227n3 Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), 196, 245n1

246n10 (IC'TM), 7

humor, importance in ritual, 34, 232n22, International Council for ‘Traditional Music Invitation to the Deities (Yak Anuma), 47, 49,

IAS. See Institute of Aesthetic Studies 51, 64-65, 77, 78, 89, 184, 186, 189, 191, ICH (Intangible Cultural Heritage), 196, 245n1 192, 193, 195, 215, 219, 234N53 IC’TM (International Council for ‘Traditional Invocation to the Deities (Ayile Yadima), 65,

Music), 7 184

improvisation, 48, 49, 52-53, 54, 64, 73, 89, Irugal Bandara, 29, 35, 65

go, 186 Israel kankaniya, 170-77, 194-96, 248n29 impurity of women, 115, 201, 216, 217, 233n37,

246n6 Jackson, Naomi, 227n3

Incense Offering Dance (Dummala Padaya), Jafina region, 10, 33

55, 67 Jaflna Tamils: about, 240n3; bharalanalyamand, India: dance, and influence of, 110~-13, 117~-18, II, 131-32, 142, 229n16; dance as expres122-22, 127, 128; forms of modern dance sion of culture and, 129, 131-32, 241n9Q, in, 8; Aohomba kankara and, 27, 360-37, 241n12; Indian influence on, 131-32; Kan-

239n29; nationalism and, I10~I1, 129; Sri dyan Sinhala connections with, 81, 130, Lankan ‘Tamils, and influence of, 131 32; 240n7; Rabindranath Tagore and, 112 urban elite in, 7; vannam dances and, 87 13, 132. See also Tamils

270 Index Janata Vimukti Peramuna ( JVP; People’s Lib- standardization of, 134; landava (style of eration Front), 10, 18, 19, 20, 229nI13, dancing), 201-2. See also Buddhist tem-

230N25 ple dances; colonial history of Kandyan

Jjatava (lacquered wooden crown-piece), 41, 42 dance; dance in the Aohomba kankariya;

Jayasinghe, Esmee, 200 stage performances; tourist performJayasuriya, J. E., 136 ances; vannam dances; weddings, dance Jayawardena, J. R., 18, 19, 20, 242n27 at; women Jayaweera, Almut Lenz, 40, 52, 76, 77, 79, Kandyan drum (gala beraya), 13, 39, 86, 147

233n32, 235n2, 236nI8 Kandyan elite. See radala Jiggins, Janice, 75, 235n2 Kandyan kingdom, 80-81, 85, 87

Jinadasa, K. B., 53 Kandyan National Congress, 240n6 JNSV exams (Jatika Natum Sangita Vibhaga; Kandy Asala Perahara. See Asala Perahara National Dance and Music Exams), 116- Kandy kankariya, 25, 187-89, 219, 224

17, TAT, 102 Kandy Lake Club, 208

Jothiratne, Ransina, 121, 149, 169 Kandy National Dance Troupe, 213

Jothiratne, Srimathi, 200 Kandy perahara. See Asala Perahara JVP (Janata Vimukti Peramuna; People’s Lib- Kaplerer, Bruce, 229n14, 233n33, 234n51,

eration Front), 10, 18, 19, 20, 229n13, 235nN7

2230n25 Kap Hituvima (Planting of the Kapa), 58-59, 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 188, 234n58

Kadavera, 29, 35, 71, 230n!I Kapukotuwa, S. L. B., 116, 127, 154, 242n25 Kadavera Pidima (Offering for Kadavera), 71 Kariyavasam, Tissa, 112, 113, 133, 140, 142, 143,

kala elt mangallaya (dance debut), 93, 212, 215 150, 238n21, 249-50n22 kalayatanayas (dance schools): about,140, 146— Karp, Ivan, 227n1 49; Amunugama dance school, 113, 119- kastirama (culmination of a dance phrase), 45,

21, 154, 199, 238n26, 239n39; cultural 50-51, 52, 88, 234n50 ministry and, 94, 95, 140, 146-49, 221, Kata Paha (Five Stories), 30 243n34; cultural performances and, 147, Kataragama (deity), 68, 68, 99, 236n2 148-49; grading of, 221; Sederaman fam- Kataragama (pilgrimage site), 19, 176, 246n8 ily, 138, 238n26, 242n24; Sri Lanka De- kathak, 111, 144, 150 shiya Kalayatanaya, 94, 95, 199; state in- kathakal, 30, 105, 112, 122, 123, 150, 239n38 volvement in, 140, 146-49, 221, 243n34; Kegalle region, 25, 78, 81, 84, 191

women, and establishment of, 121, 149 Keil, Charles, 169

Kalu Kumara, 59, 61, 186, 234n61 Kekirawa, 18, 179, 246n10 Kande Bandara, 29, 35, 65, 186, 234n61 Kemper, Steven, 241n20 Kandy: resort of, 6,10, 11,. 17; 25,76, 60-81, Keuneman, Herbert, 243-44n5 64, 191; scholarly kankariya in, 25, 187-89; Keyt, George: Amunugama dance school and,

use of term, 80 IIQ, 120, 154, 168; °43 Group and, 118; Kandyan Arts Association Center, 21, 208 Hentage of Lanka and, 117; as patron, 74, Kandyan dance: about, 3-4, 8-9, 10-13, 85- II7, 118, 119, 154, 239N38, 243-44n5; on gt; archetypal dancer and, 11-12, 248n1; ves dancers in Kandy Asala Perahara, 99classicization of, 7, 152-53; fieldwork and, 100, 236n4. See also Burgher elite 17-22; hohomba kankariya, and link with, Khokar, Mohan, 232n24. 11; dasya (style of dancing), 201-2; nation- Ault (pollution), 61, 234n62

alism and, II, 132-34, 229n15; respect- Korshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara, 4-5, 14, ability and, 14-15, 16, 151-55, 230nn2I 104, 177, 236n14, 237N10, 245n1, 246n9,

24; sites for performance of, 3, 9, II; 246ntI

Index Za Kitulotuwa, 18 224; semority and, 45, 233n40; singing Knox, Robert, 79-80 and, 37-39, 45, 46, 66, 175, 177, 232n3I;

Kohomba gods, 24, 29, 35, 59, 99, 192, 236n2 Sinhala heritage and, 174-75, 177, 179, Kohomba Halla (Ballad of Kohomba), 51, 72- 180, 181-84, 247nn21~—23; stage perform-

73, 192, 234N53, 235n70 ance of, 176-77, 194-96, 248n29; lanihohomba kankariya: about, 3, 11-12, 15, 16, 23- kaccwa (costume) and, 233n38, 237nI0, 27, 174-76, 196-97, 219, 230n1; Amba- 237nI15; training and, 44-45, 83; unqual-

langoda kankariya, 25, 179, 190-92, 196, ified performers in, 178, 246n12, 246223; aluraya (sponsor/patient), 25, 58, 59, 47ni5; Vadiyak kankarwa and, 18, 179, 61, 62, 179, 182, 186, 188-89, 234n55; 247n18; vannam dances and, 54-55, 89; ayile (minor altar), 59, 60, 61, 73, 90, 186, women and, 215-16, 249~50n22; yahana 189, 191, 219; Bellwood kankanyas, 187, (main altar), 59, 60, 60, 61, 179, 186, 189, 223; Buddhist kankarwa, 80-81, 180, 192- IQI, 219, 234n6r. See also berava perform94, 224, 248n27; categories of, 179—81; ers; dance in the Aohomba kankariya; mul change in traditional, 178-79; Colombo yakdessa; origin myth of Aohombakankariya; kankarwya, 181-84, 223, 247n23; comic dra- paramparava; ritual acts of the Aohomba mas and, 34, 68, 70-71, 72, 194, 234n64, kankariya; Sinhala Buddhist folk religion; 235n68; cultural revival and, 174-76, ves bandima; ves costume; yakdessa 245nnit- 3; Danture kankariya, 189 90, Kolmura Kavi, 66 223; decline of, 99, 174, 236n2; deities Kol Paduva (Dance of the Arrow), 55, 56, 69 and spirits of, 26, 27, 28-30, 231nn5-6, Kotala Padaya (Water Pot Offering Dance), 55,

231nn8-9; drumming and, 39-40, 63, 67, 185 219, 233nn32- 33; educational kankanyas, Kotelawala, Sicille, 45, 52, 87, 118, 233n32,

II, 25, 175, 177, 180-81, 184-87, 223; en- 239n42, 236n15 tertainmentand, 58, 59, 178, 186, 24.6n10; Kotugoda, Edwin, 76 epistemic and, 176-81, 185, 187, 192, kovilas (deity shrines), 29, 235nI1, 236n2 247nt17; future of, 190, 196-97; heritage Kramrisch, Stella, 74.

kankariyas, 25, 179, 180, 181 84, 196, Krishna, 75 247n23; high-caste performers of, 166, Kulatillake, C. D.S., 40, 87, 190-91 171, 235n4, 244n16; historic importance Kurunegala region, 25, 81, 84, 185, 191,

of, 23-24; Institute of Aesthetic Studies 234nn59-60, 247n16 (IAS) kankanya, 185 86, 223; humor in, Kuveni, 24, 26, 30, 31-34, 38, 65-66, 135, 174, 34, 232n23, 246n10; Israel kankarya, 176—- 179, 193, 23INN14—-17, 241-42n21

77, 194-96, 248n29; Kandy kankanya, Kuveni Asna (Lament of Kuveni), 26, 30, 51, 25, 187-89, 224; in Kurunegala region, 65-67, 89, 184, 186, 195, 201, 219, 231nI1, 234nn59~-60; maduva (ritual hall), 16, 23, 234N53 47-48, 58-62, 60, 73, 90, 179, 183, 188

89, 191; Maha Yatikava (Great Invoca- Laduwahetty, Walter, 181 tion), 30, 38, 40, 232n22, 233n35; Matale Lament of Kuveni (Kuveni Asna), 26, 30, 51, kankartya, 175, 24721; music of, 37-40; nai- 65-67, 89, 184, 186, 195, 201, 219, 231nII, yadi(costume) and, 42, 84, 89, 113, 237n13; 234N53 ot caste and, 235n4; older generation land tenure records, 37

dancers and, 82, 178-79, 246-47n15; Lange, Roderyk, 6 prose recitation and, 38, 39; regional tra- Lanka, xv, 229n18 ditions of, 81-82; ritual space in, 59-61, Lanka Gandharva Sabha, 116~17, 133, 141,

60; ritual texts of, 30, 38-39, 95, 133-34; 240n2 scholarly kankaryas, 25, 180, 187-92, 223, lasya (style of dancing), 35, 95, 201-6, 232n24

242 Index Lawrie, Archibald Campbell, 29, 80, 85, mal yahana. See _yahana

2235nI1, 236n2 Malagammana paramparava (dance lineage), 84. Lenz, Almut. See Jayaweera, Almut Lenz Mala Natima (Dance of the Coconut Flower), Li-kel Natuma (Stick Dance), 213, 232n23 51, 59, 71-72, 192, 195, 234N53, 234n59

Lloyd, David, 243n1 Malaya (king), 12, 30, 32-35, 38, 40, 68, 70, 72, Lofgren, Orvar, 156—57, 244n7 73, 231n18, 235n67 low-country berava performers, 81, 235n7 Manchester, P. W,, 126, 236n14, 239n44,

low-country dance, 10-11, 25, 86, 126, 141-42, 240n47

144, 146, 150, 229n14. mandiya (dance position), 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 54,

low-country drum (yak beraya), 86 86, 90, 202, 204, 233N39 low-country elite, 97-98, 110, 117-18, 153-54. manipuri dance, 123, 150

See also Burgher elite; Colombo elite Manor, James, 240n1

Lowe, Lisa, 243n1 Marglin, Frederique Apffel, 7 LITE (Liberation Tigers of ‘Tamil Eelam; Matale kankanya, 175, 247n21

Tamil Tigers), 10, 18 matra (dance phrase), 50-53, 65, 88 Lynch, Caitrin, 248n2 Mayura (peacock) Vannama, 87, 88, 89, 203 McGilvray, Dennis, 242n23

Madana paramparava (dance lineage), 84, 138. Meepe aesthetic training institute, 128, 141, 162

See also Sederaman, J. E.; Sederaman Meleyi Yakkun Natima (Dance of the Meleyi

family dance school Yakas), 184, 186, 234n57 maduva (ritual hall), 16, 23, 47-48, 58- 62, 60, Mendoza, Zoila S., 228n6

73, QO, 179, 183, 188-89, I9I Ministry of Cultural Affairs: administration of

Magowan, Fiona, 227n3 kalayalanayas and, 94, 95, 140, 146-49, Mageul Bera (Auspicious Drums), 62, 63, 64, 221, 243n34; Colombo heritage kankaniya

77, 189-90, 193, 195, 219 and, 181-82, 223; establishment of, 134; Maha Bo (sacred bodhi tree) Vannama, 87, mission of, 136

236nI6 Ministry of Education, 133, 135, 140, 14.1, 146Mahavamsa (text), 30, 134-35, 241n20, 47, 154

241~-42n2I Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, 196 Mahaveli Development Project, 175, 245n6 Ministry of Sports, 149 Maha Yatikava (Great Invocation), 30, 38, 40, The Mirror of Gesture (Abhinaya Darpana), 36, 45

299n99, 099ngn Mitchell, ‘Timothy, 5, 136, 227n2, 246ng main ritual priest. See mul yakdessa mixed-gender dances, 203-4, 212, 213 Makehelvela, S. M. R.: Ambalangoda kankariya Molamure, Arthur H. E., 27, 39, 42, 75, 83, 91,

and, 223; on Avanduma ritual dance, 70; 107s 114=153.-992) 154. 290n3,. B3eng0, change in the Aankarya and, 247n22; Chi- 233N37, 233n38, 233n47, 238n16, 241nI6 trasena and, 122; educational kankariyas Molamure family, 75 and, 185, 186, 187; heritage kankarwa and, Moragolla kankariya, 223 182, 223; on humor and play in ritual, 34; = Muddanava Appu, 93, 122 kankariya ritual texts and, 246~47n15; Ku- mul yakdessa(main ritual priest): about, 27; guru

runegala region kankariyas and, 234n60; mustt and, 57, 95; role of, 30, 36, 38, 51scholarship on ritual and, 95, 134; Upali 52, 55-57, 50, 60, 61-73, 177, 179, 180,

Elapata-Katugaha on, 77 181-84, 187, 188, 196, 233n45, 234n53, Makehelvela paramparava (dance lineage), 84. 246- 47n15; vas and, 57. See also Makehel-

See also Makehelvela, 8S. M. R. vela, 8S. M. R.; Suramba, Tittapajjala Makulloluwa, W. B., 36, 50, 66, 83, 86, 87, Yakdessalage 133-34, 149, 150, 153, 154, 198, 236n4 Murray, David, 227n3

Index A Muruddentya kankariya, 49, 60, 223 Obeyesekere, Ranjini, 248n25 music: Carnatic, 131, 132; cultural perform- Offering Dance (Puja Natuma), 86, 2023, 204,

ances and, 5; drumming, 39-40, 63, 219, 205, 215, 219 239nn32-33; of Aohomba kankanya, 37- Offering for Kadavera (Kadavera Pidima), 71 40; singing, 37-39, 45, 46, 66, 175, 177, O’Flaherty, Wendy (Wendy Doniger), 74,

SgonSI 23InI5

Muslim dancers, 22gn16 older generation dancers: about, 82; Ampitiya Muva Mala Vidima (Shooting of the Plantain performance and, 76; caste system and,

Flower), 55, 69, 73, 219 81; on change in dance, 179; conduct of,

Myers, Fred, 245n7 158 60; fieldwork and, 161; Aankanya and, myth. See origin myth of Aohomba kankariya 82, 178-79, 246 47n15; on nontraditional movements and dance, 54; on performnawadi costume, 42, 84, 89, 113, 237N13 ances abroad, 105; as ritualists, 244n8; on

nakalt, 79. See also berava performers sexualization of dance, 215; social justice namaskara (obeisance), 21, 38, 48, 114 and, 171; on state education system for

Narayan, Kirin, 228n6 dance, 175; on training practices, 45, 83, national dance troupes. See dance troupes 243n32: ves lalluva and, 40-41, 54, 91-92, nationalism: cultural, 4, 5, 151; dance and, 4, 5- 107, 178; on women’s dance, 201. See also

g, 128, 240n1; dance troupes and, 6, 7-8, specific dancers 13; folk culture and, 5~7; Indian, 110~11; ola caste, 235n4 Kandyan dance and, 11, 132 34, 229n15; ontic, 176-81, 184 85, 187, 190, 192, 196,

Mahavamsa and, 134-35, 241-42n21; ro- 24717 mantic, 5~7; Sinhala Buddhist, 80-81, oriental ballets, 118, 121-24, 133, 150, 239n40,

128-29, 134-37. See also state 239n43. See also dance-dramas Natyasastra, 36, 37, 232n24. origin myth of Aohomba kankariya: cultural sigNavaratne Banda, H. M., 166, 171, 235n4 nificance of, 11, 30; Kuveni in, 24, 26,

Nayakkar dynasty, 87 30, 31-34, 38, 65-66, 135, 174, 179, 193,

Ness, Sally Ann, 8 22InnI4 17, 241 42n21; Mahavamsa and, Nevill, Hugh, 27, 230n1 135; Malaya in, 12, 30, 32-35, 38, 40, 68, nirmana. See innovations 70, 72, 73, 231nI8, 235n67; mul yakdessa

nirvana, 31, 72, 135 and, 179; Panduvas in, 12, 24, 30, 32-

Nissan, Ehzabeth, 96 34, 38, 191, 231Inn16~ 17; political signifiNittawela Gunaya. See Gunaya, Nittawela cance of, 26, 174, 241-42n21; Rahu in, Nittawela Ukkuwa. See Ukkuwa, Nittawela B97 BG. 40, 79. O90noo; ritual acts: and, nrlila (pure, abstract dance), 36, 45, 47, 88, 89, 26, 30; Sinhabahu and, 30-31; traditional

232n25 ritualists’ interpretation of, 191;Vyaya in,

Nugawela, C. B., 93 II, 24, 26, 30-32, 38, 65-66, 135, 174, 179, Nugawela, Kudabandara, 106 IQI, 193, 23INNI3~—17, 241-42n2I Nugawela, Punchi Banda, 99 O’Shea, Janet, 8-9, 229n16 Nurnberger, Marianne, 133, 235n9, 239nn41-

42, 244NI14, 245N3, 248n3 Pageant of Lanka, 124, 239n43 pahata rata dance. See low-country dance

Obeyesekere, Gananath, 26, 27-28, 29, 30, 57, Palavala Danaya, 68 59, 71, 99, 229N13, 230n21, 230n25, 231n4, ~~ Palihakkara, Sesha, 113

23INQ, 23INI3, 232n22, 234n55, 234n58, palm leaf manuscripts (ola), 37, 39, 74, 138, 144,

234n62, 235n8, 236n2, 241 42n21, 244n6, 232n22, 242n26 245n2, 248n6, 2486n26, 248n27 panduru venkirima, 24, 41, 234n56, 247n18

274 Index Panduvas (king), 12, 24, 30, 32-34, 38, 191, Pigg, Stacy Leigh, 244n10

23InnI6—-17 piri ceremony, 192, 215, 246n25 Pani Bharata: Ampitiya performance and, Planting of the Kapa (Kap Hituvima), 58-59,

76-78; Chandralekha, and perform- 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 188, 234n58 ances with, 115, 116, 142, 238n30, 238 Pot Dance (Kalagedi Natuma), 86, 213, 249n15 39n31; on elite patrons, 154; Heywood Premachandra, ‘Tittapajjala, 73, 76, 77 College and, 115, 14.2; Institute of Aes- Premadasa, Ranasinghe, 19-20 thetic Studies and, 142, 143, 154; on kan- Prevots, Naima, 228- 29n10 karwa dance performance, 82; Kegalle Prince of Wales, visit to Geylon of, 16, 48, 100—

tradition and, 78; state dance curricu- 103, 102 lum and, 150; on state-sponsored ap- “The Prince of Wales in Ceylon” (The Graphic),

prenticeships, 172; study in India, 113; IOI, 102, 102, 109 Upalh Elapata-Katugaha and, 76, 78 procession. See peraharas

panleru dance, 86, 114, 238n27 Puja Natuma (Offering Dance), 86, 203, 204, panteruva (brass ring percussion instrument), 205, 215, 219

147, 236n14 Punchi Gura, 122

Parakramabahu VI, King of Kotte, 230n1 pure, abstract dance (nrtta), 36, 45, 47, 88, 89, paramparava (dance lineage): 37, 44, 77, 83-84, 232N25 133, 134, 140. See also specific paramparavas

patient/sponsor. See aluraya Quigley, Colin, 228n5 patrons: about, 84-85; 167, 168, 172; berava

performers and radala, 81, 82, 93-94; race, 103, 139-40, 155, 237n8, 240n1, 240n6 Burgher, 153-54; Colombo, 117, 118, 119; radala (aristocratic subcaste): about, 79, 84-85,

Kandyan elite, 81, 82, 84-85, 93-94; 98- 98-99, 153-54; berava performers and, 99, 153-54; loss of, 108, 168; low-country, 93-94, 149; Prince of Wales’ visit to 97-98; political marginalization and, 153; Ceylon and, r1o1, 103. See also Delwela, radala, 81, 82, 84-85, 93-94; 98-99, Clarence; Deraniyagala, Justin; Elapata-

15354 Katugaha, Upali; Kapukotuwa, S. L. B.;

Pattini, 30, 42, 59, 61, 68, 88, 234n61 Makulloluwa,W. B.; Molamure, Arthur;

Pavlova, Anna, 240n48 Nugawela, C. B.; Nugawela, Kudaban-

Pelmadulla, 75 dara; Nugawela, Punchi Banda; Pieris, peraharas (processions): about, 86, 207-8; colo- Miriam nial era and, 98, 99-102, 104, 107, 236n5; Raghavan, M. D., 37, 39, 42, 228ng, 232n26,

ves lalluva in, 107; women in, 207-8. See 296nI5 also Asala Perahara; Prince of Wales, visit Raheem, Ismeth, 243~-44n5

to Ceylon of; Sanghamitta perahara Rahu, 32,99. 70, 72, 232n20

Reéeréra, J.D) As 115140 Raiding of the Storehouse (Gabada Kollaya),

Perera, Wilmot, 111, 238n2I 188, 235n70

performers. See berava performers; high-caste rajakariya system,76, 85, 108, 235n10

dancers; older generation dancers; Rajapakse, Vaidyavathi: about, 76; Ampitiya women, yakdessa; and specific performers performance and, 76, 77; on Amunu-

Pieris, Harold, 119 gama school, 239; on female dancers, Pieris, Miriam, 75, 114-15, 116, 125, 198-99, 120, 199; Institute of Aesthetic Studies

232n47, 239N32 and, 76, 143; on Aohomba kankaniya, 23, Pieris, Paul, 75, 114, 232n26 24; on respectability of performers, 161, Pieris, Ralph, 79, 136, 146, 228n9, 235n5, 166-67; on traditional dance, 24. 25; van-

235nI0, 241nI6 nam dance performance by, 205. See also

Index Nar ES Amunugama dance school; Amunugama 186, 234n57; Dances of Seven Offerings paramparava;, AMunugama Suramba (Hat Padaya), 67-68, 195, 215; Ek Talaya, Ramanya nikaya (Buddhist sect), 209, 238n13 46, 55, 69-70, 219, 233n45, 234 35n65,

Rangama Gunamala, 93 235n66; Incense Offering Dance (DumRangama paramparava (dance lineage), 84 mala Padaya), 55, 67; Invitation to the

Ranger, Terence, 227n2 Deities (Yak Anuma), 47, 79, 51, 64-65, Rao, Pratima, 154 775 FOy BOs LOLs: 100, 180s: 101, 1925 109;

rasa, 45, 233N42 195, 215, 219, 234n53; Invocation to the

rata yakuma (protective ritual for women and Deities (Ayile Yadima), 4.6, 65, 184; Kol-

children), 143, 144 mura Kavi, 68; Kotala Padaya (Water Pot Ratwatte, Barnes, 240n7 Offering Dance), 55, 67, 185; Lament of

Ratwatte family, 75 Kuveni (Kuveni Asna), 26, 30, 51, 65

Reed, Susan A., 103, 227n3, 231n4, 248n4 67, 89, 184, 186, 195, 201, 219, 23INII, respectability: aesthetic of, 14; performance 234n53; Offering for Kadavera (Kadaand, 14-15, 230nn2I-24; women and, vera Pidima), 71; Palavala Danaya, 68; 199 201. See also respectability of berava Planting of the Kapa (Kap Hituvima), 58—

performers 59, 181, 182, 183, 184, 186, 188, 234n58; respectability of berava performers: about, 16, Raiding of the Storehouse (Gabada Kol151-52, 155-56, 243n1; caste discrimina- laya), 188, 235n70; Ritualof the Boar(Ura tion and, 16569, 244nn12~-14; cleanliness Yakkama), 18, 24, 72, 192, 194; Ritual of and, 156-57, 244n7; dress and conduct the Vadda (Vaddi Yakkama), 26, 70-71, changes and, 156-60, 244n8; elite danc- 194; Shooting of the Plantain Flower ers and, 154-55; elite patrons and, 154, (Muva Mala Vidima), 55, 69, 73, 219 168; lineage of family and, 160-61; mar- ritual dance. See dance in the Aohomba kankariya ginalization and education for, 161-64; ritual dancer. See mul yakdessa;_yakdessa

nationalistappropriation of practices and, ritual hall. See maduva 169~71; social justice and, 82,94,165,169- ritual for planetary deities (dal), 72, 80, 84, 93,

71. See also berava performers 99, 138, 160, 162, 196, 235n4, 242n24 Reusche, Gary, 25, 188-89 Ritual of the Boar (Ura Yakkama), 18, 24, 72, Rhythm in Life (documentary), 92, 191 192, 194 ritual acts of the Aohomba kankarya: about, 24, Ritual of the Vadda (Vaddi Yakkama), 26, 70—

26, 30, 58, 61 62, 234n60; Auspicious 71, 194 Drums (Magul Bera), 62, 63, 64, 77, 189- _ ritual priests. See mul yakdessa;_yakdessa

90, 193, 195, 219; Avanduma (dance), 70, Roberts, Michael, 111, 129, 240n6, 241n15,

234n52; Ballad of Kohomba (Kohomba 243-AAN5 Halla), 51, 72-73, 192, 234n53, 235n70; ~+Rogers, John D., 130, 240n1 Betel Leaf Offering Dance (Bulat Padaya), — romantic nationalism, 5 7 35, 55, 67, 185, 202, 203, 219; Comic Epi- _— Rothfels, Nigel, 104, 23’7n9

sode of the Guru (Guruge Malava), 68, — Russell, Jane, 75, 113, 130, 131, 132, 235n2,

194; Consecration of the Dancer’s Cloths 240n4, 240n8, 24InnI3~-14, 241n20 (Hangala Yadima), 61, 62, 184, 189, 195; Russell, Martin, 119 Dance of the Arrow (Kol Paduva), 55, Ryan, Bryce, 94, 235nn5~—6 56, 69; Dance of the Bow (Dunu Malappuva), 55, 68-69; Dance of the Coconut SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional

Flower (Mala Natima), 51, 59, 71-72, 192, Cooperation), 8 195, 234nN53, 234n59; Dance of the Me- = Sabaragamuva dance, 11, 25, 86, 141-42, 144,

leyi Yakas (Meleyi Yakkun Natima), 184, 14.6, 150, 236n13, 245n2

2/6 Index St. Denis, Ruth, 240n48 Shiva, 32, 33, 42, 231nIQg Samanala (butterfly) Vannama, 87, 126, Shooting of the Plantain Flower (Muva Mala

236n16 Vidima), 55, 69, 73, 219

Saman Ratnapura Devalaya, 75, 76 Silva, Neluka, 200 Samaraweera, Tittapayala: about, 82, 94, 95; Simpson, Bob, 235n7 Ampitiya performance and, 76, 77; on Singhalese Devil Dance, 108, 109 break-dancing, 194; fieldwork and, 17; singing: Aohomba kankartya and, 37-39, 4.5,

photographs of, 713, 43 46, 66, 175, 177, 232n31; tourist performsandesa poems, 37, 232n27 ances and, 236n17; vannam dances and, Sanghamitta perahara, 215, 249n21 88, 236n17

Sanmuganathan, S., 239n43 Sinhabahu, 30-31 Sanni yakuma (ritual of the Sanni demon), 144, Sinhala Buddhist folk religion: about, 27 30,

245nI 247n1g; cosmos of, 28, 231n7; deities and saniikarma (benevolent ritual), 26, 138, 144, 183, spirit beings of, 26, 27, 28 30, 231nn5_ 6, IQI, 196 231nn8—9; folk, use of term, 27, 231n4 Sarachchandra, E. R., 87, 98-99, 245n4 Sinhala nationalism. See nationalism

sal saltya, 209, 210 Sinhalas: about, 9, 10, 229n15, 241n10; cultural Savula (rooster) Vannama, 87, 213 revival of, 132~34; ethnic conflict and, 10;

Schechner, Richard, 179, 246n10 Kandyan and low-country, 130, 239n37,

Schein, Louisa, 172, 243n1 24on6. See also nationalism scholarly kankariyas, 25, 180, 187-92, 223, 224 Sirisena, Rattota, 76, 91

Schwartz, Susan L., 50, 233n39, 233n42, Sirisoma, I. G., 165

232n46, 243n2 strumaruva, 51, 88 Scott, David, 233n44 Sita, 68, 231n18

Scott, James, 167 Siyam nekaya (Buddhist sect), 209 Sederaman, J. E., 95, 133, 134, 138-40, 150, Skyllstad, Kjell, 190

242nn24-26 SLBC (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation), Sederaman family dance school, 138, 238n26, Q5, 128, 157, 190

24.2N24 SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) government, Seizer, Susan, 248n9 134, 140, 229n18, 242n27 Seneviratne, H. L., 74, 97, 98, 140, 157, 234n58, Spencer, Jonathan, 140, 167, 229n12, 241~-42n21,

235nNI0, 236nI, 239n37, 241N20, 242n232, 243N32, 243nI, 248n24

245N2, 245N5, 249N20 Spies, Walter, 237n11 service tenure records, 74. See also land tenure sponsor/patient. See aluraya

records square dance, 227n5

sexualization of dance, 212-15, 249n17 Sri Jayana, 119, 126, 239n38 Shankar, Uday, 117, 122, 123, 124, 239n35, Sri Lanka: about name of country, xv, 229n18;

240n48 colonial and postcolonial history of, g— 10;

Shanta Rao, 124, 125 ethnic groups in, 4, 9, 10, 229nII; geogra-

> > Oh ? O92 “DO / 2? / >

Shantiniketan, 111-12, 113, 122, 123, 133. See also hy of, 9; Independence Day celebrations,

Tagore, Rabindranath 124, 126, 239n43; Indo-Lanka Accord, 18, Shapiro-Phim, Toni, 227n3 19; map of, 2; political history of, 9-10, 18-

Y‘

Shawn, Ted, 108— 10, 124, 126 20, 229gnnI2~-13. See also Ceylon; Lanka; Shay, Anthony, 9, 213, 227n2, 226n8, 236n14 state

Sheeran, Anne, 196, 233n32 Sri Lanka Deshiya Kalayatanaya (dance

Sherman, Jane, 108-9 school), 94, 95, 199

Shilpadhipathi, Piyasara, 76, 77, 185 Sri Pada, 176, 236n16, 246n8

Index ee or: Paleé arts school, a11—-12; 117, 129). :149. 181 84; on comic dramas, 34; on contem144, 238na2r. See also Institute of Aesthetic porary dance, 171; Dance of the Arrow

Studies performance by, 56; on dance exercises,

Sriya Kantava (earth goddess), 30, 60, 189 45; dance school of, 94, 95, 238n26; ecostage performances: about, 12-13, 86, 88-89; nomic status of, 85; Ek Talaya and, 69, berava performers and, 117; Chitrasena 239n45, 235n67; on elite patrons, 93and, 113; Colombo elite and, 99; elite 94; fieldwork and, 15, 17; on gods, 29, womenand, 114-15; folk dances in, 249n15; 234n61; hastayas and, 46, 233n43; as Institute of Aesthetic Studies students healer, 79; Kandy region tradition and, and, 144; Aohomba kankariya and, 194. 96, 78; Aohomba kankariya and, 23, 24, 25, 248n29; lasya and landava in, 202; Nitta- B05 50s, 595° 025-0550S>. L7ey. 194); 228; wela Gunaya and, 125; older generation 224, 234n60, 246° 47N15, 247N19; mandiya dancers on, 82; repertoire of, 236n14; re- (dance position) of, 90; as mul_yakdessa, spectability and, 14; sexualization and, 56, 60; name ol, 84, 93; paramparava of,

212-15; transition from ritual to, 90-91; 84; in performances abroad, 105; ritual urban elites on, 9; uniformity and, 152; texts and, 134, 138, 246—-47n15; scholarly

ves dance in, 89-90; women and, 200, kankanyas and, 188-92; training and, 83, 201, 215, 217. See also dance-dramas; tour- 93; on ves ornaments, 40; on ves lalluva,

ist performances 41; _yahana of, 59

state: apprenticeships and, 172; dance, and Surasena, Peter: about, 76, 77, 163-64; on besupport from, 12-13, 133, 241n16; dance rava temple drummers, 172; on caste dis-

curriculum and, 133-34, 140-46, 150, crimination, 165~-66, 170-71; on dance 242n27; dance troupe sponsorship by, and Sinhala identity 128; on dance in 6, 7-8, 13, OI, 153, 228n8, 228-2g9n10, Colombo, 118; on elite patrons, 168- 69; 236n14; educational structure for dance fieldwork and, 17, 21; on gaze, 47; hand training and, 134, 140-46, 150, 175; position of, 46; on ideal artist, 157; on hohomba kankarya and, 175, 177, 179, mandiya (dance position), 44; on older 180, 194; institutions for dance and, 140 generation dancers, 160; on sexualiza50; teaching qualifications and, 116~17, tion of dance, 215; and Sicille Kotela24on2. See also nationalism; and specific in- wala, 118; on social status of dancers,

stitutions; specific munstries 169; staged kankariya performance of, Stick Dance (Li-keli Natuma), 213, 232n23 194-96; as teacher, 20, 21, 44, 234n49, Story of King Viyaya (Vyaya Raa hatava), 30, 236n1g, 249n14; on ves bandima, 91; on ves

31, 32, 38, 230n2, 23I1nI2 costume, 92 Sumanaweera, Tittapajjala: about 82, 94, 95; Surya Sena, Devar, 240n48 Ampitiya performance and, 76, 77; on Sutton, R. Anderson, 197, 230n22 changes in kankarya performance, 178; suvist, QI, 193, 209, 210, 249nNII~12 fieldwork and, 17; photograph of, 73; on

support for ritual dance, 172; on vannam Tagore, Rabindranath, 96 97, 110, 111-13, 117,

dances, 87 I2I, 123, 132, 142, 228n6, 238n25. See also

sural, 50 Shantiniketan

Suramba, Tittapajjala Yakdessalage: about, 18, Tambiah, Stanley, 10, 134, 229n12, 241nI0 36, 92-95, 170; Ampitiya performance Tamils: about, 9, 10, 241n10; bharata nalyam and,

and, 74, 76, 77; as astrologer, 79; bat rit- II, 131-32, 142, 229nn15-~16; cultural pride ual and, 93; Bellwood kankanyas and, 187; of, 137, 242n23; cultural renaissance and,

Buddhist Aankanya and, 193 94; Circus 110, 129 32, 240n5; dance as expression Knie and, 105; Colombo kankariya and, of culture and, 120;.191=32, 94112; elite

278 Index Tamils (cont.) lovil (healing ritual), 136, 190, 194, 245n2 and, 110; Indian influence on, 131-32; as training, dance, 44-45, 83, 116, 140, 145, 153, minority, 136; nationalism and, 229n16; 205, 220. See also education; kalayalanayas; revitalization of dance by, 110, 241ng. See and specific institutions; specific schools

also Jaffna ‘Tamils Turanga (horse) Vannama, 87, 88, 113, 120, Tamil Tigers (Liberation ‘Tigers of ‘Tamil 124, 126, 203, 239n43

Eelam; LITE), 10, 18 Turkish State Folk Dance Ensemble, 9, 228n8 landava (style of dancing), 35, 95, 201-5, Twelve Gods (Dolaha Deviyo), 28 30, 99,

232N24 236n2. See also specific gods

lankacciya (costume), 233n38, 237NI10, 237N15. Twelve Hand Gestures (Hasta Dolaha), 46, 70,

See also naiyadi costume; ves costume 93, 233N43 Tanzania, 213, 229n15, 230n24

Taylor, Julie, 227n3 udakki dance, 238n27 temple dances. See Buddhist temple dances udakkiya (hourglass-shaped drum), 114, 14.7 Temple of the Buddha’s ‘Tooth (Dalada Mah- uda rata natum (up-country dance). See Kandyan

gawa), 25, 85, 87, 93, 99, 172, 188 dance Tennakoon, N. Serena, 175 Udarata Nalum halava (The Art of Aandyan Dance)

Thenuwara, Mr., 209, 249n12 (Sederaman), 95, 137-40, 242nn25~26 “time of terror” (bhisana kalaya), 18, 20, 230n25, Ueda, Noriyuki, 189 90, 192

231n7 Ukkuwa, Nittawela, 110, 115, 117, 118, 119, 125, Tittapajjala dance school. See Sri Lanka De- 232N22, 248n29

shiya Kalayatanaya Ukusa (hawk) Vannama, 87, 203 Tittapajjala paramparava. SeeSuramba, Tittapaj- =UNESCO, 5, 7, 135-36, 154, 177, 196, 228n9,

jala Yakdessalage; Premachandra, ‘Titta- 241nt6, 245nI, 246n11 pajjala;Samaraweera, Tittapajjala;Suma- — University of Kelaniya, 142, 152. See also Insti-

naweera, Tittapajjala tute of Aesthetic Studies Tittapayala Suramba. See Suramba, Tittapayj- University of Peradeniya, 74, 175, 188, 245n5

jala Yakdessalage University of the Visual and Performing Arts, toddy tapper, 72, 79, 235n69 150, 243n35. See also Institute of Aesthetic tooth relic of the Buddha, 3, 25, 85, 88, 99, Studies

188, 216, 247n17 UNP (United National Party) government, 19— tourist performances: about, 86, 208-9, 219, 20, I71, 242n27 236n14; berava dancers and, 123; income up-country dance (uda rata nalum). See Kandyan

from, 14.5; middle- and upper-class danc- dance ers and, 123 24; Peter Surasena and, 163; Urapola Banda, 121 state-sponsored performances and, 13; Ura Yakkama (Ritual of the Boar), 18, 24, 72,

Tittapayala Suramba and, 92; urban 192, 194 elites on, 9; vannam dances and, 236n17;

women and, 206, 208 9 Vaddas, 24, 26, 27, 103 tours abroad: Caldecott House and, 118; Cey- Vaddi Yakkama (Ritual of the Vadda), 26, 70-

lon National Dancers and, 125; Israel 71, 194 kankariya, 194-96; Kandyan dance and, Vadiyak kankarwya, 18, 179, 247018 100; national dance troupes and, 7-8, 13; Vajira Dias, 121, 124, 155, 245n3, 248n3

older generation dancers and, 105; poli- Valiyak, 29, 34, 65 tics and, 7-8, 228-2g9n10; prestige and, Valiyak mangallaya (ritual), 17, 20, 80, 85, 101,

160-61 234~-35n65, 237N7, 247nI18

Index Nan RS vannam dances: about, 86 89; Ceylon Na- Vishnu, 29, 68, 69, 88, 101, 102, 192, 231nn18

tional Dancers and, 126; gender and, 19, 235n67 203; innovation in, 119; as Intangible Vishnu devalaya, 20, 188, 234 35n65, 237nN7 Cultural Heritage, 245n1; J. E. Sede- Volkman, ‘Toby Alice, 246n14 raman on, 139; Aohomba kankariya and,

54-55; Nittawela Gunaya and, 120, 124; Walcott, Ronald: on adavva, 234n51; on curse

sexualization and, 213-14; at village of Kuveni, 231n14, 231n16; on Raiding dance school, 113-14; women and, 205, of the Storehouse, 235n70; on Ritual of 205, 215. See also specific vannamas the Boar, 72; ritual texts of kankarya and,

vannam songs, 86-87, 88, 236n17 89, 95, 134, 233N30, 233n34, 234n63; on

vas, 57, 69 singing in the kankariya, 38, 232n31; on Vasantha Kumar, 113, 133, 239n40 Twelve Gods, 29, 231n5; on Vijaya, 31, 32 Vatsyayan, Kapila, 35, 232n24 Water Pot Offering Dance (Kotala Padaya), 55, ves bandima (initiation ritual): about, 12, 20, 42, 67, 185 QI, 195; Chitrasena and, 122; seniority Weber, Eugen, 161 and, 233n40; women and, 215, 233n37, weddings, dance at: berava performers and, 93,

239N32 94, 123; Caldecott House dancers and,

ves costume: about, 11-12, 13, 40-42, 43, 91-92, 118; income and, 85, 145; peraharas and, 99 100; Asala Perahara and, 107; belled 86, 88, 207; Peter Surasena and, 163; ra-

leggings and, 48, 102, 233n47; body of dala patrons and, 82, 84, 237n13; statedancer and, 49; Chitrasena and, 122; sponsored dance troupes and, 13; urban dance movements and, 53~54; modified, elite on, 9; vannam dances and, 88; ves 42, 233n38; ornaments of, 12, 13, 43, 92; costume and, 12, 91, 182, 237n13; women

performers and, 89—90, 91~92; Prince of and, 198, 215 Wales’ visit to Ceylon and, 101-2, 103; Weereratne, Neville, 118, 248n29 women and, 115-16, 214, 215-16, 276. Wendt, Lionel, 47, 117, 118, 119, 154, 243-44n5 See also naiyadi costume; lanikacciya; ves Weuda kankariya. See Buddhist kankariya

bandima; ves pelliya; ves lalluva Whitaker, Mark, 229n12 ves peltiya (box for ves ornaments), 40, 83 Wiyeyaratne, E. A. P., 241n15 ves lalluva (headdress): about, 12, 40 42, 43; Wilabadage, 76, 77 cultural objectification and, 12, 92; Willams, Brackette F., 243n1 dance movements and, 53-54; non- Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam, 132

traditional movements and, 54, 90, Wirz, Paul, 232n22 178; in perahara, 107; sacred and power- women: about, 15, 198, 217, 248n1; acrobatic

ful nature of, 40-41, 91-92, 151; secu- movements and, 193, 206, 209-10; Amular dances and, 109; as symbol of Sri nugama village school and, 120~21, 199;

Lanka, 12, 92; vannam dances and, Buddhist temple dancing and, 209 10; 89; ves pelliya lor, 40, 83; women and, Chandralekha (Perera), 114-16, 142, 155,

115-16, 201, 215-16, 216 195-99, 238 39n31; feminization of style

vtharaya. See Buddhist temple and repertoire and, 15, 2016; fitness Vaya, II, 24, 26, 30-32, 38, 65-66, 135, 174, and, 212, 249n14; impurity of, 115, 201, 179, 191, 193, 23INNI3-17, 241-42n21 216, 217, 233n37, 248n6; Aohomba kankaVyaya Raa hatava (Story of King Vijaya), 30, riya and, 215-16, 249-50n22; lasya (style

81; 39.90. S802, O9Int? of dancing), 35, 95, 201-6, 232n24; marvillage dance school. See kalayatanayas riage qualifications for, 212; Miriam PieViramunda, 29, 35, 59, 65, 71, 186, 234n61 ris, 75, 114-15, 116, 125, 198-99, 233n47,

250 Index women (conl.) Wriggins, Howard, 137, 242n23 239n32; mixed-gender dances and, 203-4, Wulff, Helena, 227n3 213; Nittawela Gunaya and, 125; peraharas and, 207-8; provocative performances by, —_yahana (main altar), 59, 60, 60, 61, 179, 186, 189,

209, 249n10; Ransina Jothiratne, 121, 149, IOI; 210; 294nb1 169; respectability of, 198-201, 217, 248n3; ~—_yaka, 28-29, 35, 231nn6—9g

ritual and, 215-17, 249n21,249-50n22;sex- Yak Anuma (Invitation to the Deities), 47, 49,

ualization of dance and, 212-15, 249nn16 51, 64-65, 77, 78, 89, 184, 186, 189, 191, 17; Sinhala Buddhist ideals of woman- 192, 193, 195, 215, 219, 234N53 hood and, 200-201; as students, 120, 144, _yak beraya (low-country drum), 86 198, 199, 242n30; suvise performances by, —_yakdessa (ritual dancer-priest): about, 27, 235n4;

209 10; landava (style of dancing), 35, 95, hohomba kankartya and, 12, 25, 27, 35 201-5, 232n24; tourist performances by, 36, 38-39, 58, 174, 196; students 1n train208-9; vannam dances and, 203, 205, 205, ing as, 42; ves bandima, 42. See also mul 212, 213, 214, 215, 219, 220; vescostume and, yakdessa II5, 214, 215, 216, 276, 217, 238-39n31, —_yakkamas. See comic dramas 239n32. See also bharala nalyam; Kandyan _yakku. See_yaka

dance; Rajapakse, Vaidyavathi Yampolsky, Philip, 15, 230nn22~-23

Woolf, Leonard, 106-7, 237n11 Yuga Natuma (dance duet), 204, 219 Woost, Michael, 243n1

Wosien, Maria-Gabriele, 47 ZU, Bruce, 154

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