SLF Int’l Academy of Performing Arts held their Siraspath Palandaveeme Mangalyaya – 2022

On Saturday, December 10th, 2022, the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts (SLF APA), founded in 2015 and Accredited in 2019, held its second inaugural graduation ceremony at the Mindfulness Meditation Center in Covina, California.

Senuri Pilana Manage, with her indomitable courage, effort, and commitment, became another successful graduate of Kandyan dance in our second Siraspath Palandaweeme Mangalya (Graduation) ceremony. She is a senior student who participates in online and in-person dance classes at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF APA). She was exploring to gain knowledge and new experiences through her learning process.

Sri Lanka has a unique and rich traditional dance history of over 2500 years. Sri Lankan traditional dances offer worship, healing and meditation processes, sickness, and invoking blessings. Sri Lankan Traditional Dance graduation is called a “Kalaeli Mangalya.”

When a Kandyan dance student has been dancing for several years and has reached an advanced level in their techniques, they will take on the Kalaeli Mangalya Ceremony to showcase their capabilities to pioneers, teachers, family, friends, and well-wishers.

This traditional Sri Lankan Dance graduation is also called a “Pahimpath Mangalya.” It is typically considered a rite of passage for young dancers to perform their “Siraspatha.” It is often considered the debut dance of a new generation of tradition bearers that will teach the next generation.

The Ceremony began early Saturday morning, starting with the blessings of Buddha, celestial bodies, and deities. The graduate was adorned with a beautiful “Pahimpatha” given to her by her teacher, the ornate traditional headpiece made of bronze and matching jewelry. According to the customs of Pirith and Magul Bera, the teachers adorned the “Siraspatha” on her in front of Lord Buddha while inside the temple.

Then she was covered in a white cloth and taken around the Bodhi tree. She offered and worshiped the Buddha with a bouquet. Then, after looking at auspicious things and taking away any evil eye, she saw herself for the first time in a pot of clear water dressed in the traditional jewelry made especially for her.

Completing all the traditional customs, she arrived at the hippodrome (Ranga Bumiya) to showcase her talents through performance to the audience. She mesmerized the dignitaries and the audience with exquisite traditional dances such as Mangalam Dance, Yahan Mutti Padaya, and Waram Kavi dance. The graceful and astonishing performances were performed to the sounds of live traditional drums and songs, showcasing her keen knowledge of traditional rhythm.

The traditional ceremony continued when the dancer prayed for her parents, teachers, and drummers to thank them for all their love and support. Then she thanked to the SLF APA Staff, the Director of Cultural Affairs and Director of Operations of the Academy of Performing Arts, Achala Weerasinghe, External Lecturers of APA Nirosha Wijegunasekare and Akila Palipana, and the senior Dance Instructor of APA Umendra Kahadawaarachchi, for their guidance.

President/CEO of SLF, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, and Mrs. Zuigly Jayasinha graced the occasion as the guests of honor, and the Chief Operating Officer, Shirani Stanislaus, Director of Project Management, Keshini Wijegoonaratna, Media Director, Chamodh Amarasighe attended the ceremony. Dr. Dishan in his opening remarks congratulated Senuri Pilana Manage and said he was very proud to witness her inspiring and memorable performance which showed her dedication and commitment to have mastered the skills to preserve the traditions and culture which is of utmost importance to him. Furthermore, he said the mission of the SLF Academy of Performing Arts is to continue to encourage and support other students to advance their skills and techniques to attain the highest level.

Achala Weerasinghe, Director of Cultural Affairs of SLF, Director of Operations for the Academy of Performing Arts delivered her speech and extended her utmost gratitude to the President/ CEO, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha for his fullest support to organize this ceremony. She also thanked the SLF Academy of Performing Arts and SLF staff, the graduate’s parents, and guests.

Senuri Pilana Manage, the graduate addressed the guests with a very inspiring and motivational speech, as she expressed, “my sincere gratitude goes to the ones who made my graduation possible, the Sri Lanka Foundation Chairman, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, the President /CEO Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, SLF Academy of Performing Arts Staff, SLF Staff, your presence and guidance have always been inspirational for me, and I am immensely grateful for all the love, kindness, appreciation and guidance you all showered me to be a successful dancer. It feels great to have so much genuine support around me. Also, I thank my dear family and friends”.

The Ceremony ended with an invitation to all the guests to enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan meal.

SLF Int’l Academy of Performing Arts Showcased a Breathtaking Performance at Disneyland

This year, Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF) showcased a blissful finale to the year 2022 with the Academy of Performing Arts (APA) traditional Dancing Concert at Disney California Adventure Park Hollywood Backlot stage on the 26th of November. Flared with the festive vibe of the holidays, this event had the audience bubbling with joy in anticipation of the breathtaking performances of the members of APA, much like previous concerts of APA at Disneyland with much enthusiasm and awe. The ceremony was glorified by the presence of the Chairman, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, President/CEO, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, Vice President, Mrs. Aeshea Jayasinghe, Mrs. Zuigly Jayasinha, and the COO, Shirani Stanislaus of SLF.

The students and the teachers of APA, and the community performers were zealous by the honor of their presence at the event. The show was set in motion with a beautiful Managalam Dance, welcoming all the spectators and guests, performed by our talented External Lecturer, Nirosha Wijegunasekara, with the students and the community performers. A beautiful Swan Dance followed this Mangalam Dance performed by our External Lecturers, Akila Palipana, accompanied by Nirosha Wijegunasekara & our Senior Dance Instructor, Umendra Kahadawarachchi, on stage.

APA students graced the occasion with beautifully choreographed Mayura Wannama, Raban Dance, and an Elephant Dance to enthrall the crowd with their talents. And then, an astounding low country dance mesmerized the viewers. The community performers then boomed the stage with another act of beating the traditional Sri Lankan drums, bringing out the idiosyncratic glory of Sri Lankan cultural music. The non-Sri Lankan audience was flabbergasted by the authentic beauty of Sri Lankan music and dance performances.

The immense gratitude of the SLF is extended to the staff of APA-Nirosha Wijegunasekara, Akila Palipana, Umendra Kahadawarachchi, and the Director of Cultural Affairs & the Director of Operations of APA, Achala Weerasinghe, for making the concert a roaring success. And we can never forget the utmost dedication of our students of APA, the community performers, and the parents to adorn the occasion, to whom we at SLF convey our heartfelt appreciation for flaunting the grandeur of Sri Lankan traditional music and dancing in the global arena.


Sri Lanka Day Expo & Parade, a virtual Global Celebration, was launched in the United States on the Sri Lanka Foundation International Virtual Platform on August 13th and 14th, 2022 to showcase the rich artistic tradition, embracing the fine arts including music, dance and visual arts. Throughout the two-day festivities, the featured events staged from around the world when the sights and sounds and the unique taste of Sri Lanka virtually came alive. Mesmerizing dance and music performances were staged throughout the two days. It featured Sri Lankan traditional music, dances, art, and theatre staged from USA, Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, U.K., and India.

Hope you enjoyed watching the spectacular performances by Sanduani Sulochani Dance Group and the Senior Dance Troupe of Bishops College from Sri Lanka which was featured in the last weeks SLF News. This week we are featuring two more Amazing Performances by the very talented singer, Talin Silva and from the students of the SLF Academy of Performing Arts.

Talin Silva has been performing for the Sri Lanka Foundation International since she was seven years old. Talin is a professional singer, dancer and model who is represented by one of the country’s top agencies, Blocla. She has danced for the Oscars and Kids Choice awards and many famous artists such as Justin Bieber, Mary J Blige, and many more.

Click the links to watch her performances:

Mayura Vannama is a popular Kandyan dance recital among the 18 Vannams in Kandyan dance tradition. It is a recital sung in praise of the bird Peacock, who is honored as the vehicle of the glorious God, Skanda in hindu tradition. Honoring the original Mayura vannama, this performance is a creation depicting the various movements of the peacock, portraying its unique head and body movements along with the spreading of the glittering fan-like tail with its beautifully spotted feathers presented by the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts.
Music credits: Ravibandu Vidyapathi, Vindika Gunarathne & other artists.

Click the link to watch the performance:

SLF Academy of Performing Arts Performed at the 25th Anniversary of Getty Center Museum

Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts was privileged to put our mission into action once again with our hands held with Getty to preserve, support, celebrate and present to a wide range of audiences; the culture, language, dance, and arts of Sri Lanka through performing our heritage. 

Getty is a cultural and philanthropic institution dedicated to the presentation, conservation, and interpretation of the world’s artistic legacy; an ideal platform for Sri Lankan heritage to converse with international art and culture. What portent can be greater than a conversation in this nature?

The event was open to multiple and a diverse set of communities in celebration of Getty’s 25 years of service to the international sphere of art and culture where they showcased the cultural diversity of Los Angeles by creating a series of free outdoor community art festivals, cultural performances, workshops, food stalls and many other colorful and diversified cultural experiences. It was a wonderful celebration with music, art and culture brought together by a global community, giving the expression of a global village.

Set up in KoreaTown, Liberty Park, home to many people from around the world, the most diverse part of the city of Los Angeles; the 25th anniversary of Getty was indeed a festival of diversity. Getty, being a cultural institute that is dedicated to celebrating beauty in the form of art and culture, has opened their arms for APA to join and perform at the 25th anniversary celebrations. The invitation was extended by Getty’s Lead Producer Mr. Albert, giving APA the opportunity to receive a free booth to distribute our marketing materials and to conduct a workshop to add a little bit of essence of Sri Lankan culture to the event. 

The workshop was conducted by our senior students, Umendra Kahadawaracchi who is the talented dancing teacher at APA and the Director of Cultural Affairs, Achala Weerasinghe. The workshop was dedicated to celebrating the beauty of Sri Lankan traditional dancing which is a huge part of Sri Lankan cultural inheritance. Sri Lanka is home to many different styles of dances such as Udarata Natum, Pahatharata Natum and Sabaragamu Natum which can vary in their styles of movements and motions, the style of dressing and the type of drums used for performances, the workshop has given prominence to kandyan Dancing, which is beautiful and deserves to be celebrated world-wide. 

The workshop was very colorful and engaging which also did not fail to enlighten the audience about many hidden beauties in Sri Lanka such as Dalada Maligawa which is a place where all these cultural performances come together, once a year, as a devotion to Sri Lankan religious belief systems. 

The workshop was appreciated by many in the audience including the event producers and parents of the foreign children who were privileged enough to immerse themselves in the beauty of a very foreign country to them which is physically miles apart. Traditional drums were in the center of attention for many of those kids and were keen on joining APA classes to learn drums such as thammattama, yak beraya and geta beraya.

It was indeed a day full of celebrations and our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our Founder and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, Vice President of SLF Aeshea Jayasinghe, Chief Operating Officer / Corporate Secretary, Shirani Stanislaus, Director, Research & Development, Rodney Perera, and our Media Director, Chamodh Amarasinghe not only for creating such platforms for

cultural celebration but also for being a part of this event and giving us a helping hand and courage to keep reaching greater heights as a Sri Lankan community away from home. 

SLF Visits University of Visual & Performing Arts in Colombo, Sri Lanka

University of the Visual and Performing Arts, located in Colombo, the Faculty of Dance and Drama (FDD) was established parallel to the establishment of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts (UVPA) in July 2005 by upgrading the Institute of Aesthetic Studies of the University of Kelaniya under the Extraordinary Gazette Notification Number 1400/24 dated 08th July 2005.

Today, the Faculty consists of seven Departments (i.e., Department. of Kandyan Dance, Department of Low-country Dance, Department of Sabaragamuwa Dance, Department of Percussion Music, Department of Indian and Asian Dance, Department of History and Theory of Dance and Drama, Department of Theatre, and Oriental Ballet and Contemporary Dance).

The departments offer four-year (Honors) degree courses in thirteen areas of study. Each degree program aims to create a graduate with theoretical and practical knowledge in the relevant field of performing arts (i.e., dance, theatre, or film), creative and socio-emotional skills, critical and analytical thinking capacities, and professionalism. In dance-based studies, primarily, the degree programs explore and practice the dance traditions of Sri Lanka and India and contemporary dance forms of the West. As a result, the students are exposed to the most updated knowledge in the relevant fields in theatre and film-related courses.

However, these degree courses do not merely provide knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to traditional and contemporary performance trends, but also focus on the study of critical theories, pedagogies, and essential skills to adapt to varied performance spaces and contexts as performance practitioners. In addition to this, the degree programs simultaneously offer the opportunities and the training required to achieve the career goals of students, including institutional and field training, research projects, language-based learning, mainly in English and Tamil, information technology, and computer skills, along with career development orientation and guidance.

The Vision of the UVPA is to ensure that traditional Sri Lankan performing art forms are preserved for posterity while promoting original creations and encouraging research and dissemination of knowledge.

The Mission is to engage in the study of performing art forms through critical analysis and exploration.

The Faculty offers state-of-the-art facilities such as a multimedia studio with audio and video recording, still photography, multi-camera shooting, and video production facilities, a multimedia laboratory, a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, an English language lab, a black box studio, and a dressmaking and costume designing facilities to enhance the skills of the students and researchers.

The President/CEO of the Sri Lanka Foundation, International, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, his wife Zuigly Jayasinha, and Achala Weerasinghe, the Director of Cultural Affairs & the Academy of Performing Arts, was invited to the final year practical exam performance in the “experimental dance expression” of students. During his speech, Dr. Dishan addressed the faculty members and the students of UVPA. He mentioned how happy he was to have the opportunity to represent SLF at this event. The Mission of SLF is all about educating people around the globe about Sri Lankan culture, arts, and heritage. He also said he saw the difference tonight with the professionalism in students’ performances.

Nirosha, the external lecturer at SLF Academy of Performing Arts, is a lecturer at UVPA and is strengthening the connections between both entities.


The SLMANA WR is reaching to our fellow Sri Lankans to promote awareness, advocacy and raise funds for much needed help in Sri Lanka.

As you know our motherland is heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and is in critical need.

We are reaching out to you to kindly distribute the attached letter from the President of SLMANA WR Dr. Dineshi Liyanage to the SLF community.

We appreciate your support and generosity.

See letter attached for more details:

Covid Relief Letter 5 20 2021- Final

Sign the Petition to Support!!

For more information contact:

Daphne Torrijos, RN, BSN, PHN
Secretary, SLMANA WR

Video Attached! Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts reaches the uttermost success in the celebration of the virtual ‘Avurudu’ event…

With the dawn of April month, we all are in the festive mood to celebrate one of the significant festivals in Sri Lanka; the Sinhala and Tamil New year. Annually, at SLF Academy of Performing Arts we; educate our students with rich traditions, customs, and rituals intertwined with our Sri Lankan culture and thereby promote togetherness. However, students of our academy, could not take part in the ‘Avurudu’ program and celebration in their usual countenance due to the prevailing pandemic situation.

  Yet, we premiered our virtual ‘Avurudu’ event on 14th April fabulously. This even bridged the Sri Lankan community in LA as well as the Sri Lankans in our home country miles away. The event reached its uttermost success due to the great efforts taken by the instructors and the brilliant participation of the students, and the enthusiasm grown in the hearts of the students of our academy for the celebration of the new year.

  We initiated our program with the new year greetings from the founder of the Sri Lanka Foundation, Dr. Walter Jayasinha, the ambassador of SL for the USA,H.E Ravinatha Ariyasinha, the Consul General for LA Dr. Lalith Chandrasa and the president of SLF; Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, the Director of Operations of the academy: Achala Weerasinghe. The program was ended with a thank you note from the Vice President of the SLF; Aeshea Jayasinghe.

The program epitomized the beauty of the new year under different items showcased by the students as well as the instructors, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, Akila Palipana, Nalinda Dilupama, Lal Thilakarathna, Umendra Kahandawaarachchi and Kanishka Gomas.  

Students of PreK dance class – SLF Academy of performing Arts brilliantly performed for the song ‘Erabadu Mal pipila’ to show how nature beautifully gets dressed to celebrate the new year, the cry of the cuckoos and the ‘Erabadu’ trees draped in the crimson flowers. 

  Another vibrant item was showcased by our students mingling the sounds we hear during the ‘Avurudu’ season by compiling the folk singing and playing ‘Raban padha’. The items such as ‘Eluwan kaama’ and the dances showcased with the collaboration of the students of our academy from, the child, and intermediate classes, beginner and senior class, and the senior classes interpret the unity, togetherness and the strong bond shared between the students of our academy as much as the talent resided in them. The playing of the ‘Getabera’ and ‘Daula’ and the ‘Avurudu’ dance showcased by the instructors was heart-throbbing. 

The program was organized amidst so many difficulties such as in the preparation of the costumes, rehearsals conducted virtually, and many more. Thus, special gratitude should be paid to all our students who took part in the items, the instructors who guided them, and to all others who played different roles in making the event successful. 

Please click on the link below to watch the video:

Video Attached! Congratulations to SLF Academy of Performing Arts Students, Welcome to the New School Year 2021!

On Sunday, January 24th the Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts hosted another successful webinar to preset the certificates to the students who completed the Dance & Drumming classes in 2020, and after they enrolled for the New School Year to continue the virtual lessons.

Achala Weerasinghe, the Director of Operations welcomed everyone with a brief description of the school’s future goals to expand globally on virtual classroom sessions. Shirani Stanislaus,Chief Operating Officer introduced the new lectures, Nirosha Gunasekera from the Visual and Performing Arts University in Colombo, Akila Palipana, from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka and the new instructors, Nalinda Dilupana, from the Behri Foundation Drums & Dance and Kanishka Gomas, the founding member and dance instructor at Behri Foundation of Dance & Drums.

The program continued with speeches from the current Academy of Performing instructors, Lal Thilakaratna and Umendra Khandawarachchi, who talked about the success of the virtual sessions and showed video clips of the students performances in 2020.

The new lecturers and the two new teachers also had the opportunity to present video’s of their experience and knowledge as well as addressed the audience to say how excited they are to be a part of the Academy.

Sri Lanka Foundation Vice President, Aeshea Jayasinghe inspired everyone from her speech by highlighting areas of importance of working together as a team to achieve success. Keshini Wijegoonaratna, the Director of Project Management & Public Relations, updated the Accreditation Self Study process and explained the credibility of the ACS WASC accrediting agency.

The founder of SLF, Dr Walter Jayasinghe thanked the SLF and the Academy staff for working diligently to bring the foundation to this level and addressed areas for expansion for the future.

The program ended with Achala Weerasinghe, the Director of Operations of the Academy, with a vote of special thanks to the SLF Media Director, Chamodh Amarasinghe for all his hard work by creating the graduation ceremony on a virtual platform, and also thanked everyone for attending.

See attached link to watch the video:

Meet our New Staff! SLF Academy of Performing Arts Open Enrollment for 2021

Open Enrollment Date January 24th, 2021!!!

10.00am to 12.00pm

Meet our new staff:

Nirosha Wijegunasekera,
Following MPhil Degree, University of Peradeniya
MA in Dance, University of Kalaniya
Bachelor of Arts in Visual & Performing Arts

Lecturer at the University of the Visual and performing Arts, Sri Lanka

Akila Palipana
BA. Degree, University of Kelaniya
MA. Undergraduate, University of Kelaniya
Visiting Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

Nalinda Vithana
Behri Foundation of Drums and Dance

Kanishka D Muhandiramge Gomas
Founding Member & Dance Instructor at Behri Foundation of Drums and Dance.

Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts will continue to conduct virtual sessions on Google classroom settings for Dance & Drumming in the NEW SCHOOL YEAR STARTING IN JANUARY 2021.

The school achieved its Accreditation status in 2019 from the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) which is a world-renowned accrediting association. WASC is a voluntary dual-purpose process for schools to demonstrate that they provide high-quality learning and model continual self-improvement.

The classes consist of a well rounded curriculum to meet the needs of the Accreditation status as well as the lesson plans have been adjusted for the students to be able easily grasp the techniques online. The classes are taught by extremely qualified and experienced staff that has made a huge impact in the students learning to keep their focus on the online teaching. Quarterly assessments are conducted to monitor the progress of the student programs and its impact on student learning with respect to the ACS WASC criteria.

In 2022 the school will go through a self study program which will involve of all stakeholders during the process that will consist of a school-wide action plan to address and identify areas for improvement.

The enrollment application is available on the: and click on the Academy tab.

For more information call:
213-400-1662 or Email:
Achala Weerasinghe
Director of Cultural Affairs/SLF and Director of Operations, Academy of Performing Arts
Please click on the link below to register to join:

Video Attached! If you missed it, A successful Webinar Enlightened the audience hosted by the SLF Academy of Performing Arts

Sri Lanka Foundation Academy of Performing Arts presented its very first virtual webinar platform on Dance & Drumming lessons on November 8th, 2020 from 10.00am to 12.00pm to a large audience from around the world.

During these unprecedented times the attendees were amazed how the Academy of Performing Arts staff didn’t hesitate to immediately convert the curriculum and assessments to be conducted on a google classroom setting to ensure the students did not miss out on their weekly sessions. Even though some adjustments had to be made to the weekly lesson plans due to limitations of presenting our traditional movements and sounds on a zoom platform, the student’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was very evident.

After seven months of successful virtual teaching sessions and on going assessments the Academy of Performing Arts Staff was very proud to showcase what the students had achieved to the entire world that was very much appreciated by the audience.

The Director of Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools, Elizabeth Oberreiter was one of the Panelists that enlightened us with the importance of a school achieving Accreditation and also our special guests, Dr Indika Ferdinando, the Dean of the Faculty of Dance & Drama of the University of the Visual & Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka and the Honorable Ambassador H.E Rodney Perera, applauded the instructors of the Academy for a job well done. The staff of the Academy of Performing Arts highlighted the areas of Dance and other activities of the virtual sessions that has been taking place the last few months by presenting slides and video clips of their past performances.

Please click the link below to watch!