The theme of this year’s dance workshop presented by the Alliance Francaise de Kotte (AFKO) is ‘The Art of Neoclassical Ballet’ – a core item of the French Spring Festival 2016. The main objective of the workshop is to provide a brief history of neo-classical ballet and to introduce participants to simple techniques used in this sublime dance genre, which evolved from classical ballet in the early 20th century.

The workshop is for teachers as well as students (minimum age – thirteen) and will focus on the technical, artistic and performance aspects of neo-classical ballet. Participants must have prior ballet training and wear soft ballet shoes. (Girls must have their hair tied in a bun.) The recommended costume is tights, leotard and skirt for girls and tights/t-shirt for boys. (Casual attire will not be permitted). The workshop is free of charge and will be held on Sunday, June 26, from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm at the Nelung Arts Center, 81 Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 2.

Neo-classical (2)The instructor is Seneka Abeyratne, who has a strong background in classical/contemporary ballet and contemporary dance based on Martha Graham technique. His dance training includes eight years at the Khulsum School of Dance (now defunct) and twelve years at the Deanna School of Dancing – the largest ballet school in the island. He has in recent years conducted several dance workshops (ballet/contemporary) at such venues as the Deanna School of Dancing, the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, the Fulbright Commission, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and the Nelung Arts Center. He has also performed at various venues including the Lionel Wendt, Park Street Mews, and Lunar Terrace/Closenberg Hotel.

Neo-classical ballet is closely associated with the New York City Ballet (NYCB), founded by George Balanchine in 1948. One of the leading ballet companies in the world, the NYCB performs his pioneering works on a regular basis. Other great choreographers inspired by Balanchine include Jerome Robbins, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, and Roland Petit. Neo-classical ballet is sleekly modern and profoundly minimalist. Although it rebels against the established traditions of the full-length story ballet and eschews the overly dramatised style of the Romantic Period, it is firmly grounded in classical ballet technique.
The instructor can be contacted at (mobile) 077-5740807
or (email)