Asanga Domask

Company

Mission:

The mission of SerendibDance Company is to serve a fundamental role in preserving the sacred and endangered art of traditional Sri Lankan dance through training, education, and performance.

About The Company:

SerendibDance is a Sri Lankan traditional and folk dance company directed by founder, choreographer, dancer and educator, Asanga Domask in 2013.

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“Serendib” is an ancient Arabic word used to refer to a magical island in the Indian Ocean known today as Sri Lanka. Ancient Sri Lankan traditions and culture are the root and soul of this new company far from that land, but immersed in the country’s spirit, art and history.

The performances celebrate an art form built upon thousands of years of tradition with deep roots in everyday village life, Buddhist religious customs, and ceremonial celebrations for the island’s royalty.  These performances give the audience an opportunity to view the authentic, non-commercialized version of this graceful dance form.  Elaborate costumes, traditional music, and powerful yet elegant movements will engage audiences of all ages and interests.

Inspiration:

The inspiration behind SerendibDance and its preservation mission stems from Asanga’s childhood growing up under the tutelage of some of the most respected dance masters, including Nandana Balasuriya, Chitrasena and Vajora Dias, and Gyana Magammana.  These dance masters focused on the importance of learning and mastering the core elements of traditional dances from technique to artistry to learning the history.

Knowing the importance of her ancient traditional dance, Asanga conducted extensive research from 2003 through 2006 as part of her Master’s thesis to explore what is being done to help preserve and protect these traditions that are so central to the nation’s identity and history.  Through her research, she found that many of the efforts to help protect and celebrate the cultural heritage in Sri Lanka in the post-independence decades had begun to weaken and fade over the past 20 years.  The threats to the traditional art were far more imminent and powerful than what she expected.  The older dance masters had begun to age and many among the new generation had begun exploring more commercialized and Western versions of the traditional dance forms.  Little was being done to help protect the rapidly fading traditions, and Asanga felt compelled to do what she could.  Thus, she began teaching students the traditional forms that she learned growing up in an effort to develop future generations who could help carry on the traditions through education, training and performance.  Asanga wanted to share what her great dance masters shared with her many years ago with so much dedication and passion to help save an ancient art form before some of it would be completely lost.

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