Sri Lankans go dancing internationally!
Toes tap, hips swivel and
graceful legs move from side to side on the international dancing stage
in Singapore. It is now a motivation for Sri Lankan dancers to take to
the dance floor as a result of a local dancing couple clinching victory
at the World Dance Championships recently. Getting to rub shoulders with
the best of the world’s dancers, Rustom Yusuf and Roshanthi
Nananayakkara, coached by professionally qualified dance teacher Shiromi
Perera, were able to take their dance academy to greater heights.
|Rustom and Roshanthi with
their dance guru Shiro Perera
The couple was placed fourth in three categories of the Latin section
in their category, which included Cha Cha, Rhumba and the Jive and fifth
place for the Samba round. Shiromi Perera Dayaparan is the owner of
‘Rhythm World Dance Studio’ who started her dance career in Kandyan
Dancing at the ‘Chithrasena School of Dance’ at the age of seven and she
also trained under the guidance of Ms. Rathna Rajapakse of Sri Jayana
After a four year stint overseas, she returned to train as a dancer
and thereafter qualified as a Teacher in order to steer professional
dancing in the right direction by opening her Dance Academy with an
emphasis on Latin American and Ballroom dancing.
Speaking to the Sunday Observer on training a young couple to dance
to their delight on the world stage, Shiro said that she was happy that
Rustom and Roshanthi overcame their ‘dance’ fright from the first round
to finishing beautifully on their technique in the final one. With 42
judges, over-all the couple got more confident in their dance after each
“We were selected to be suitable to participate in Singapore because
the dance examiner Aleena Tan said that Rustom and Roshanthi had what it
took to dance internationally”. Ms. Tan is the President of the
Singapore Ballroom Dance Teachers’ Association, Vice President of the
Asia Pacific Dance and Dancesport Council and an esteemed Examiner of
the Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing counting almost 40 years
of dance experience.
Having received a Teachers’ Qualification from the prestigious
British Dance Academy, ‘The National Association for Teachers of
Dancing’, Shiro is one of the Sri Lankan dance teachers who has been
accepted by the International Dance Teachers’ Association of the U.K. as
a Lifetime Member with the Associate and Licentiate qualifications.
“Unlike freestyle dancing, the Latin and Ballroom dances have a
proper technique and rules to follow because it should maintain
consistency” said Shiro. Further she commented, “I’m not condemning the
various dance schools mushrooming in every part of the city but it is
wise to know the proper dance technique from a qualified expert.” It was
this proper dance technique that got Sri Lanka recognised at the World
Dance Championships. “Dancing is an Art and it should not be just a
money making business to some,” said Shiro.
However, despite facing many hurdles in obtaining sponsorships to
dance in Singapore, they all managed to brave the storm. Rustom got a
part sponsorship from the company he works for, Dimo Engineering and
CIMA/IIT student Roshanthi managed to get her ticket sponsored by
gracious family friends.
“We also have a dinner dance where we raise funds but still, we would
like a good sponsor to help uplift the standard of professional dancing
in Sri Lanka and take our talented dancers internationally as we have
the potential” highlighted Shiro.
Shiro is also trained in the area of wheelchair dancing and hopes to
have classes for Sri Lanka’s disabled soldiers. “I am willing to give
free lessons to our soldiers who have sacrificed their limbs and arms
for the country and dancing is the best way for them to channel their
energies into something useful and fun” she said with a smile. As her
motto suggests, her Dance Academy definitely offers everyone the chance
to dance for friendship, fitness and fun!