Born in Burma, Channa Udayaprema Wijewardena, spent his childhood in England. He has put his own stamp to Sri Lankan dancing through innovation, improvisation and improvement in rhythm. His initiation into drama came from Chitrasena and Vajira.
He also studied dancing from veteran dancer Pani Bharatha and successfully embellished this ancient art embodying improvements.
Having the experience of Sri Lankan performances at the Albert Hall in England, he studied Kathakali dancing from Guru Wimal Nayanananda. Also low country dancing from Guru K.S.Fernando and Kandyan dancing from Lansa Gurunanse of Bevilgamuwa. |To complete his studies he took lessons from Pani Bharatha in the art of recitation related to dancing.
Having played in the rugger team of the Isipathana College, he was able to include suitable movements from the game into his dancing.
Stating that there are no boundaries in the art of Sinhala dancing he includes aesthetic movements with free abandon.
He also gives unstinted support to unparalleled cultural productions of the stature of Mahasamayama. He plays Ishwara in Mahasamayama.
The character Ishwara is not alien to me. I have depicted Ishwara in the opera Shivaranga by Chitrasena.
To evoke an aesthetic sense through movement and music alone is a very fine art.
It is important that the pattern of the rhythm is continued in keeping with the music and rhythm. In a technologically proficient stage like the Nelum Pokuna dance movements have sometimes to be re-invented.
Mahasamayama is not a mere aesthetic production. Ravibandu and I have a greater responsibility than dancing. A new dimension has to be given through the creation of the costumes.
In a stylized drama of this nature where local as well as foreign concepts of drama have been combined the dances should be novel and appealing.
These days I live this character. As Ishwara is a very powerful god I have to take upon myself the qualities of his power and greatness. Presently my walk, my talk and body movements are all Ishwara.