Goodness Rhythm Dancers at LORDS, UK

The Goodness Rhythm Dance Troupe which was established as a sustainable income generation venture for the Foundation of Goodness, a charitable NGO established in 1999 performed at the prestigious MCC Lords grounds during the 2nd day of the England vs. Sri Lanka 3rd test match (held on 10th June, 2016) together with Chandana Wickramasinghe & the Dancers Guild of Sri Lanka. The Dancers were flown to and from England courtesy of Sri Lankan Airlines.

The group also performed on the 8th and 9th at the Westminster City Hall upon invitation by the Lord Mayor and at the Lords Nursery Grounds, respectively. They were accompanied by percussionist Rakitha Wickramaratna & the Naadro band.

The visit was sponsored by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) who have supported the Foundation of Goodness for over a decade post-tsunami, including establishing the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama, South which reaches over 30,000 beneficiaries from 100+ villages via 30 empowerment activity sectors annually, free of charge. This visit consolidates the partnership which has gone beyond all boundaries in delivering exceptional opportunities to rural Sri Lankan communities.

The performers included 15 dancers from the Goodness Rhythm Dance Troupe & the Dancers Guild and 4 drummers from the Naadro band. For many of the rural girls who were part of the Goodness Rhythm Dance Troupe, this was their first trip overseas and definitely a first for all the dancers to perform in front of such a large crowd.

We were also deeply privileged to have 6 volunteers of Sri Lankan heritage living in UK to participate in the performance carrying ceremonial decorations.

These programmes have paved the way towards unearthing immense talent from rural areas, which is how the Goodness Rhythm Dance Troupe was formed. These dancers will become the first ever group of dancers from Sri Lanka to perform at LORDS during the lunch break of a test series and the incredible privilege is a dream come true for them.

The Goodness Rhythm Dancers entertained a multi-cultural audience at the Lord’s Cricket Grounds with a series of Traditional and Cultural dances showcasing the hidden talent of rural Sri Lanka which was a once in a life time opportunity and a great achievement for our nation.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience even for the professional dancers and if not for the Marylebone Cricket Club, we would never have got the chance. It was an opportunity to see these iconic grounds with our own eyes, with that atmosphere of packed crowds which was a different experience all together.
This is the first time that Sri Lankan entertainers have performed at LORDS and we received a huge response from the audience, even while the troupe was still waiting to enter the field for the performance, people were extremely enthusiastic to see them dance, and some did not even leave for lunch so as not to miss the performance.”

Dilani Weerasuriya, Tour Manager

“It was like a dream to be able to perform at LORDS, as a dancer I was delighted and at the same time, as a cricket fan it was completely unbelievable to actually feel the grass beneath our feet at the LORDS grounds!

I have never before performed in front of an audience of 26,000 people which is what we were told was the turnout that day. I was nervous about performing in front of so many people but when we heard the cheering from everyone, it gave us a new energy and I performed better than I ever had because of the spirit and atmosphere at the grounds.

Before this, the biggest performance that I was a part of was during a tour to France for a folk festival with FoG. But the biggest difference is at the dance performance, the people who are in the audience are already dance lovers. In this occasion, we were able to perform in front of a very different group of cricket enthusiasts and introduce traditional Sri Lankan dance and culture to them.

As a dancer, this had been a huge achievement for me, and I can't forget to thank Mr. Kushil Gunasekera and the Foundation of Goodness for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

Charitha De Silva
Dancer, Goodness Rhythm Dance Troupe

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the Marylebone Cricket Club for giving us this opportunity, Sri Lankan Airlines for flying the dancers to and from UK, The Lord Mayor of Westminster Steve Summers, the Grange Rochester and all FoG friends, donors and volunteers in UK who gave us so much support and were a great strength to us!

29th June 2016



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