Lal Thilakarathana, the principal of the SRI LANKA FOUNDATION Academy of Performing Arts 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.
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.