Venuri: I kind of looked down on being a dancer and dance. Because traditional dance, Kandyan dance was about beauty, perfection of technique. And when you dance more beautifully, people tell you, you become more egoistic. And I didn’t want that to happen to me. And I remember my guru in his 70s becoming very bitter because all of us didn’t know how great he was.
Venuri: Did any of you see Tellervo’s film last night? Well, the state of mental illness in Sri Lanka is 10 times worse.
Venuri: You think dancers and artists are creative people, but for most of my life I felt I wasn’t creative, because as a traditional dancer you’re asked to perfect these steps.
Venuri: The question of why I dance: I’m still not sure, but through this, I’m trying to create a sense of empathy from this other community we were in a sense alienated from. And that these personal stories we could actually relate to: despair, the loss of a child, the loss of dignity.
Venuri seemed sheepish about this concept - choreography for the disabled is old hat in many countries. But in Sri Lanka, it does seem to be taking a different form. Here, one dancer (who's just unfastened his prosthetic leg) is moulding another man from a Buddhist mudhra pose to a warrior pose: