The Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation


The Channa-Upuli Dance Ensemble has brought international recognition to Sri Lanka. Channa Wijewardena specializes in all forms of traditional and creative dancing in Sri Lanka – namely Kandyan, Sabaragamuwa and his own creative modern ballet. His modern dance which he calls “Body Language” is also based on “Thribanga” which signifies the three curves of a woman’s body and is a flexible style performed by his graceful dancers. Channa’s performances also include all types of traditional Sri Lankan drum patterns with the traditional Kandyan, low country and Sabaragamuwa drums.

Channa learned traditional Sri Lankan dance forms under Dr. Chithrasena in Sri Lanka at a young age, and then he later studied other forms of dance in India and classical ballet in France. Channa and his wife Upuli Panibharatha, who also possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of dancing, founded their own Dance Institute, The Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation.

The Channa-Upuli troupe has captivated audiences across the world. The troupe has had the privilege of performing in many famous theatres, including Sadler’s Well Theatre and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in the UK, as well as the Sydney Opera House and the Regent Theatre in Australia. In 1998 Channa and his troupe had the privilege of performing in the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at the Presidential House when Sri Lanka celebrated its 50 years of Independence.

This dance troupe brought great pride to Sri Lanka when they won first place out of 178 countries participating in the Lions Parade at the International Lions Convention in Denver in 2003. They also participated in the International Lions Convention in Hong Kong in 2004, Chicago in 2007 and Thailand in 2008.

Channa has won many awards, both locally and internationally, for his dance achievements, including the honorary award for “Performing Arts” from the Japanese government. In 2005 the President of Sri Lanka awarded Channa the highest honorary award “Kala Shuri.” Sri Lankans consider Channa and his team to be a national asset, as they have brought international fame to Sri Lanka.

Watch Past Performances

Video 2/4/2014: The Channa-Upuli Dance Ensemble

To commemorate the 66th Anniversary of Sri Lankan Independence, the world-renowned Sri Lankan dance company presents traditional dancers, drummers, a vocalist, and violinist. Presented in cooperation with the Embassy of Sri Lanka.

The Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation