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.