Mahesh Eranga Umagiliya / artistic director/ Meranga Fine Arts Ensemble

Mahesh Eranga Umagiliya, a Sri Lankan citizen, was born in 1979. In 1996, he initiated his career as a professional dancer at the Chithrasena School of Dance, one of the first dance schools in Sri Lanka. He was trained for nearly fifteen years. Mr. Umagiliya graduated as a traditional Kandyan dancer by passing the Initiation Ceremony in 2000.

In 2008 he left the Chitrasena Dance Company and set up his own Dance Company “Meranga Fine Arts Ensemble” in Wattala. Since then, he has developed a number of dance performances: “Sasanwēda” (2009) represents his first production, followed by “Black blood” dance theater (2010), “Spiral path” dance theatre (2011) and “naRthanAwarthana” (2012), an experimental contemporary Kandyan dance performance based on archival dance.

In 2012 Mr. Umagiliya was chosen by the German Dance Company “DIN A 13” as a dancer and choreographer to accompany the company and support “DIN A 13” in their international dance projects. During this period, he got the chance to study contemporary dance, theater and choreography in Germany.

Due to the influences of “DIN A 13”´s style, he gradually changed his perspectives of dance and movements. He recognized the power of the diverse qualities and the beauty of differing human bodies shown by dancers with disabilities. Consequently, Mr. Umagiliya realized the necessity to introduce mixed-abled activities into his society and to establish mixed-abled dance groups in Sri Lanka to bring people with disabilities out of the shadows.

In October 2013 he set up a mixed-abled dance company and created “Eternal Return”, a mixed-abled contemporary dance theater performance. This production was funded by a German foundation.

In the future he plans to expand his dance company towards rural areas in Sri Lanka, and to change perceptions about people with disabilities in Sri Lankan society through dance.