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Low Country

A dance style derived and originated in the coastal belt, south of Colombo and southern parts of the country. More popularly the ‘Yukk’ drum is played in this style of dance. Rather free and easy movements and basic rhythms of the ‘Devol’ dancer combined with a very elementary mime danced to this ‘Yukk’ drum is a typical style of the ‘Pahatha Rata’ dance. In addition to pure dance movements, they combine elements of mime, dramatic dialogue and impersonations in authentic folk rituals performed to the exotic beats of this drum. A ‘Devol Madu’ or the ritual structure which is an essential part of the whole process is a parallel representation of famous Kandyan Kohomba Kankariya environment for the dance of appeasement of the deity.  

These structures are made in various styles, big or small, for various purposes, for example for the mask dancer to appear from behind, or as a ‘pahan weta’ the lamp holder. Unlike in the Ves style in Kandyan dance, the mask or the head-dress of the dancer covers the entire face of the dancer. The mask itself is a superbly wood carved works of art and has many forms of representation of various myths and characters. ‘Sanniya’, ‘Giri Devi’, ‘Shanthi Karma’, Kolam’ are some of drama depictions in ‘Pahatha rata’ dance.

This kind of low country dance evolved from folk rituals which eventually gave rise to the so-called devil-dancing, of the south of Sri Lanka. The use of masks is common in devil dance.