RE - INTERPRETING CULTURAL PERFORMANCE

Thaji Dias

Part of exceptional performance art is the unknown - the unexpected. Cover personality, Thaji Dias embraces this notion as her performance breaks monotony. She brings to stage a curious consciousness that sparks and illuminates a conversation on Sri Lankan tradition and folklore. The youngest granddaughter of the dance icon Vajira Chitrasena, Founder of the prestigious Chitrasena Vajira Dance Company, Thaji pursued Kandyan dancing at the age of seven and received the opportunity to perform with the Théâtre du Soleil in Paris in 2000 as a guest of Ariane Mouchkine, Founder of this Parisian avant garde stage ensemble. Since then, Thaji has performed as a member of the Dance Company to local and international audiences and festivals including the Asian Arts Festival in Chinese Taipei (2003), Montpellier Festival in France (2005), the Sydney Festival (2015) and the Esplanade Dance Festival in Singapore (2016). Today, Thaji is the Principal Dancer of the Chitrasena Vajira Dance Company and is revered for her dynamism, of which we seek her creative influences in preserving, innovating and respecting the parameters of traditional dance.

In conversation, Thaji mentioned that her primary source of creative influence comes from her family and their approach and sanctity towards performance art. ‘Dance is sacred’ is a mantra of the Chitrasena Vajira Dance Company. As Thaji states, “The art forms we practice are passed down from generation to generation - they are born from rituals which were performed for the Gods. These forms of dance are 2500 years old but they are very different to its origins. So when my grandfather brought it from the ritual to the stage, he changed it in a way that didn’t hurt the ritual artist”. Thaji reveres this approach of her grandfather for its infusion of artistic vision and commitment to cultural preservation, from which she seeks much inspiration. Heshma Vignaraja, Thaji’s cousin and the Artistic Director of the Dance Company is also a significant creative influence to our cover personality. “Heshma always says that it’s important to go back to our roots, to our ritual gurus to seek inspiration and to continue what we are doing with integrity which I follow profoundly”.

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7th February, 2019 Visual Art | Conceptual

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