Trinity College is not just another school that imparts education. It is a unique socio-cultural habitat. Established a century and a half-ago by the Anglican missionary educationists who arrived in Sri Lanka, Trinity is a sanctuary that attracts, retains, nurtures and propagates the vibrancy of cultural diversity of the Sri Lankan social fabric. Trinity embraced both localization and globalization in correct proportions from its very inception.
The founding fathers of Trinity though British by birth, were completely in sync with the pulse of the native land and its people whom they acquainted with and made it a point to include not only the local culture, traditions, practices, values and beliefs, but also the art, music, dancing, literature and architecture into the College system in right proportions and at the right time. The lion in the College crest and the mesmerizing architecture of the world-famous Trinity Chapel are a few illustrations of their reverence for the local culture.
Though commenced as a College that offers education in the English medium in 1872, with the turn of the 20th century the then Principals made it a point to introduce vernacular education to the curriculum, understanding the importance of integrating the local cultural factors into a missionary school. The years that passed saw the inclusion of a myriad of local cultural practices, art, and aesthetics into the Trinity system making it a hot-spot in the Kandyan kingdom that bred unity within diversity among the multi-ethnic, multi-religious students who walked through the gates of Trinity College.
The year 1972 was a momentous year in the Trinity almanac as it recorded a century of academic and co-curricular contribution by the College to the Sri Lankan society, embracing the richness of the local culture and drawing learnings from the world at large. What better way to celebrate this momentous occasion, than to fortify the Trinity character by introducing something very historic and precious to the Sri Lankan society? The birth of the now renowned “Trinity College National Drum & Dance Troup” (NDDT) took place in the centenary year – a fitting tribute to mother Trinity for all her efforts over a century to integrate with the local society.
The National Drum and Drama Troup of Trinity College was originally known as the “Ranga Sabhawa” and was inaugurated in 1972 under the blessings and guidance of the then Principal Mr. Lionel Fernando, and late Mr. Karunadasa Rajapakse of revered memory was entrusted with the responsibility of grooming this fledgling yet imposing new unit of the College.
The first performance of this unit was the centenary anniversary celebrations recital held in 1972 under the name “Rangawali”. The name “Rangawali” became an instant hit among the Trinity community due to the superlative performance by the students, and the once-in-five years public performance conducted by the dance troupe was trade-marked as “Rangawali” since 1972. Between then and now, this cultural unit has gone through many progressive changes under the guidance of Principals, Masters-in-charge and trainers, and over the passage of time, due to its unprecedented contribution to the local traditional dancing sphere, the unit has been elevated as the “National Drum and Dance Troupe” [ NDDT ] giving the outfit due recognition and opportunities to represent Sri Lanka at many overseas cultural festivals, the most recent being their tour to Malaysia in the T150 anniversary year to participate in the Petaling Jaya Folklore International Festival. A rare honour for a school in Sri Lanka.
The current NDDT outfit consists of 50 students, all who are incidentally fully inducted “Wes” dancers. The students are trained by Mr. Sunil Chandrasiri [Chief Instructor] who’s being supported by Mr. Kasun Marasinghe, Imal Wasagaratne and Mr. Kanishka Samarasundara and the troupe is managed by Mr. Ruwan Jayaratne, a long-standing tutorial staff member of Trinity College Kandy. The NDDT is led by Master Jeywin Samarakoon, assisted by Master Jalitha Kuruppu.
The recital on the 14th January will be a fully-fledged performance by the NDDT, including items from all three dance forms of Sri Lanka – Kandyan, Low Country and Sabaragamu. The spectators will witness performances from folklore such as Pantheru (පන්තේරු), Udekki (උඩැක්කි), Raban (රබන්) & Jasaya Lenchina Kolama (ජසයා ලෙන්චිනා කෝලම) and reverential Kandyan dancing items such as Magul Bera (මඟුල් බෙර), Wes Dancing (වෙස් නැටුම්), Nagaraksha (නාග රාක්ෂ) and Ginisisila (ගිනි සිසිල), etc. and performances from the Students of Hillwood College, Kandy. The culmination of the recital will be the traditional drum orchestra performance, which is synonymous to Trinity College, Kandy. This “Rangawali” recital will also witness the largest ensemble of students ever to perform in a show.
Review by : Lalanthi Rajapakse
The tickets for “Rangawali” is available at the I Love Trinity stall at the College premises and anyone who wishes to purchase tickets can call 076 690 1565 – Mr Ruwan Jayaratne, 077 725 9124 – ILOVETRINITY, or 076 492 7773 – Linuka Mallikarachchi or visit Rangawali Online Ticket Purchasing website for online purchases.
Pictures by: Muditha Dehigolla (THREE WAY)