Publication:

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - 2021-11-21

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India honours Vajira, Lanka’s Muse of Dance

COMMENT

India honoured Vajira Chitrasena, Lanka’s own Terpsichore, by presenting her with one of the nation’s highest awards, the Padma Shri, in recognition towards her distinguished contribution to the Arts. The award for 2020 was presented for ‘further strengthening the bonds of friendship between the peoples of India and Sri Lanka through the promotion of dance and blending the art forms of both countries, especially Kandyan and Odissi.’ However, since Vajira was unable to travel to New Delhi for the presentation ceremony on November 8, the award was presented to her on behalf of the Indian President by the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in Colombo on Wednesday. It was another celebration for Vajira in her lifelong passion for dance.. Ever since she set eyes, at the tender age of ten, on her future dance master and husband, the maestro Chitrasena performing at the Kalutara Town Hall in 1941, she had been inexorably drawn into the world of dance. So inspired had she been watching him perform that she began to study dancing, music, singing as well as the dilruba and sitar. In 4 years she had become Chitrasena’s student. In a further 2 years, on the threshold of turning 16,

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