Ves Dancers in the Kandy Perahera
As the Kandy Esala Perahera took to the streets yesterday it marked 100 years of the introduction of Ves in 1919 to this great ritual, bringing blessings on the people.
It is difficult to find information on Ves and how it originated.
There are certain masks in museums the world over, taken away from Sri Lanka and are not returned.
But I believe they are better preserved in those museums. I refer to what happened to the Crown of King Rajasinghe removed from the Dodanwela Devale, and the result was a sad story.
I wonder if since the Perahera to Aluthnuwara came from Dondra, whether there were any Ves Dancers in that Perahera. But there is no mention of any dancers, except the display of Sun and Moon Flags.
How then Ves Dancers came to be established in the hill country has to be delved into.
In passing, Ves is being imposed on students and huge amounts of money spent on these events.
I wonder whether they have probed into the origins of this dance form that has come to stay.
Ves Dancing as part of the Kandy Esala Perahera was introduced by Diyawadana Nilame Punchi Banda Nugawela and it continued to gather momentum over the years and has been part and parcel of this religious event ever since.
The Golden Dancer Peter Surasena has danced for 60 years and now at 79 recalls his dancing style.
Peter Surasena is a product of one of the exponents of Kandyan Dancing Heen Baba Dharmasiri and of Surambaya who has danced in Carnegie Hall in the USA and the Royal Albert Hall in the UK.
As the procession passes, people’s eyes go to the Ves Dancing. But drummers and other artistes formed the initial stages of the Perahera until 1919.
The Ves Dancers are more or less centralised near the Nilames and in front of the tuskers carrying the insignia and the Golden Karanduwa.
I wonder if since the Perahera to Aluthnuwara came from Dondra, whether there were any Ves Dancers in that Perahera...there is no mention of any dancers, except the display of Sun and Moon Flags.