The Sri Lankan Dance Academy
In 1975 the desire to provide a glimpse of our rich cultural heritage to the younger generation was the beginning of Dayani Gonsalkorale’s journey in dance teaching. From a humble beginning the journey continued creating an opportunity to our young generation to contribute towards the rich cultural diversity in New Zealand. In 2004 Dayani’s efforts were recognized by the New
Zealand government by awarding her with a Queen Service Medal. Our academy has been blessed over the years of having talented dance teachers joining the academy and imparting their knowledge to our students. In 2002 an
accomplished dancer Chalanka Athalage joined Dayani in training our students and producing quality performances. In 2009 Mohan Sudusinghe, a renowned dancer and choreographer from Sri Lanka was invited to join the academy to assist our children’s learning. With the increasing demand for traditional dance teaching, a branch was established in Lower Hutt in 2012. Mohan’s skill in traditional drumming has led the academy to commence drumming classes in Tawa and in Lower Hutt.
The “Bera Handa” group of Sri Lankan drummers have been in great demand and taken part in many cultural presentations.
The Academy achieved another first in New Zealand in 2012, when a graduation ceremony – a “Kala Eli Mangalyaya was performed in Wellington where four senior dancers were graduated.
The Sri Lankan Dance Academy has been at the forefront in promoting Sri Lankan culture in Wellington and was awarded the Porirua City’s Wellington Airport Regional Community award for arts and culture in 2009. In 2015 the academy was invited to perform on the world stage of the ICC cricket world cup opening ceremony at Hagley Oval in Christchurch for an audience of over 20.000 people. This occasion had international coverage and our students led by Mohan made us proud. The Sri Lankan Dance Academy is a non-profit organization and has conducted its activities for over 40 years. This wouldn’t have been possible if not for the whole hearted dedication of “SLDA family” of parents and well-wishers, the support of the community at large and the financial support of various funding organisations.