Teachers

Lal Thilakarathna

Lal Thilakarathana is the most senior dance and drumming instructor at The SRI LANKA FOUNDATION Academy of Performing Arts. Lal first started dancing when he was six years old at the Sri Nimalweera Kalayathanaya, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka. He learned to perform Kohomba Kankariya, Bali rituals and many more folk rituals and dance traditions at that institution for more than ten years before he graduated in 1986 followed by a “Ves Baduma” ceremony in 1989. Lal continued his higher education with a diploma of ” Lalitha kala ” (NYC) and National Gandharva exam. In 2014 he was offered a bachelors degree from Shakspeare Center Sri Lanka in dancing, drama, and stage productions.

He has performed in more than 35 countries at some of the most prestigious venues including Sydney Opera house and Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. Lal has performed in front of hundred and two world leaders including Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. As a dance instructor, he taught many students at prestigious dance academies around the world including, Sri Lankan Art Council of Sydney, Channa Upuli Dance Academy & Lal Thilakarathna Rangayathana in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

He also conducted the first Traditional Sri Lankan Graduation ceremony (pahinpath mangalyaya) in Califonia.

Chathuri Wickramarachchi

Chathuri Wickramarachchi, the principal of the SRI LANKA FOUNDATION Academy of Performing Arts, first learned Sri Lankan traditional dance from the reputed Chithrasena Dance School in Colombo. She studied under the guidance of Channa & Upuli Performing Arts Foundation and later became one of the teachers in that prestigious dance academy. She also received her Bachelor of Performing Arts in Sri Lankan Traditional dance, Creative dance, and Kathak form of the Visual and Performing Arts University in 2007.

As a professional dancer, she has traveled around the world, representing Sri Lanka at world-class theaters such as the Sydney Opera House, Kosmische Opera house, Germany, Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. and Queen Elizabeth Theater in London. Chathuri was the founder of the” Natamu Dance” Studio where she instructed and choreographed dance for students in Washington D.C. She also founded another dance school called the “Ethnic Dance Studio “Colombo in 2007 with a capacity of 200 students. She also served in the board of judges at many reality tv shows in Sri Lanka.

She also conducted the first Traditional Sri Lankan Graduation ceremony (pahinpath mangalyaya) in Califonia & Washington DC

Umendra Kahadawaarachchi

Umendra Kahadawaarachchi is a Sri Lankan dancer, drummer , choreographer and an instructor of dance living in America. She has been dancing since the age of 4. She joined the Piyasara Shilpadhipathi Dance School at the age of 7, and later graduated in the year 1994. She also received national certifications from the Ministry of Education, in Sri Lanka for primary and advanced level dance examinations (Ghandarva and GCE A/L). She continued to dance with the Piyasara Shilpadhipathi Dance School till 1998 and then migrated to the United States of America in the same year and started her very own dance studio called the ” Nethranjali Dance Academy “. Umendra continued to teach dancing for free to students in America, serving the Sri Lankan community living here. She also received a Bachelors degree with honors in nursing from the University of Phoenix in California and is continuing to advance her studies in nursing while currently working for the Sri Lanka Foundation as a dance instructor here in Los Angeles since 2017.

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