2.4. Mangalam and Graduation
The very first dance the students learn is called the Mangalam Natuma. The verses repeated here are made to rouse in the pupil a sense of pride and respect for the tradition and heritage of the dance. It is also to inculcate him a love and a sense of appreciation for the art form.
The song tells of how this dance was first performed by his ancestral families in the Courts of Kings and Temples. Therefore, the students are taught to show the continuity, love and due respect for its traditions. The dance also gives particular attention to the movements of feet, hands and glance of the eyes in their various synchronised forms.
Watch the following video of a Mangalam dance performance:
Only when the dance teacher feels that the students have reached the required standard he allows the students to don the Ves costume. To receive blessings of the Gods through the Sangha (temple monks) chanting Pirith, the teacher takes the students to the Buddhist temple. It is here they choose an auspicious day and time for the students Ves graduation ceremony.
Initially, the Ves graduation ceremony was only for male dancers to don the Ves costume known as Ves Bandima. Though now, many female Kandyan dancers are also able to attain the 'Kandyan Dancer Status' through a ceremony of their own known as Pahim Path Mangalya. Almost all auspicious traditions of Ves ceremony are followed in Pahim Path ceremony.
Watch the following video of Pahim Path Mangalya: