Introduction to Kandyan Dance and Ritual

2:30 min.

For more information and to purchase Dance and the Nation, please contact The University of Wisconsin Press

Recorded in Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1987-89.

Directed by Wilton Martinez / Production: Susan A. Reed and Wilton Martinez

Research: Susan A. Reed / Written & Narrated by Susan A. Reed

Camera & Sound: Susan A. Reed / Editing & DVD Authoring: Wilton Martinez

Funding & support: National Science Foundation, Bucknell University, Society of Dance History Scholars

Distributed by The University of Wisconsin Press

Duration: 2:30 minutes

This video is recommended for teaching about subjects including:

ritual and symbolism

dance and performance


Sinhala cultural and national identity

Southeast Asian studies

This film presents a brief introduction to the Kandyan region in Sri Lanka and to the research project. It offers a glimpse of the variety of ritual performances, stage dances, rehearsal and training sessions that were studied and documented by Susan Reed during fieldwork she conducted in 1987-89. The series has been edited from over 50 hours of material recorded on location. A portion of the original footage has been selected for digital preservation and documentation as part of the Collection of Performance Traditions by the Ethnographic Video for Instruction & Analysis Digital Archive Project (EVIA).


  1. Obeyesekere, Gananath (1979) Popular Religions. In Modern Sri Lanka: A Society in Transition. Tissa Fernando and Robert N. Kearney, eds. pp. 201–25. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

  2. Reed, Susan A. (2010) Dance and the Nation. Performance, Ritual and Politics in Sri Lanka. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.

  3. Reed, Susan A. (1998) The Politics and Poetics of Dance. Annual Review of Anthropology, 27: 503–32.