Aunty Oosha: Lots of respect and love

  • Oosha Saravanamuttu Wijesinghe (19 October 1931 – 24 June 2019)

By Kapila Palihawadana

I met Aunty Oosha when I was at Kelaniya University as an undergraduate. I was with the Oosha Garten of Ballet for nine years. Today, I am the founder, choreographer and artistic director of Sri Lanka’s first professional contemporary dance company – nATANDA Dance Theatre of Sri Lanka. 

Although I met Aunty Oosha in my 20s, it feels like it’s been a lifetime and that I have known her since my childhood. 

There are never going to be enough words to express how thankful I am for everything she has done for me, though I sure can try.

Thank you Aunty for the countless hours you’ve spent working with me. Thank you for providing me with all the tough love I could ever ask for. Thank you for inspiring, helping, and motivating me to achieve things I never thought possible. Also, thank you for providing me with a home away from home. 

Aunty Oosha taught me so much that I will never forget. She has taught me that it’s okay to fail and fail again, and if something isn’t working, there is another solution. She taught me to be patient, to know that the greatest victories come only after the toughest battles. She showed me how to be a leader; to aspire to inspire always and to never give up on people. She taught me to earn respect. Even when I was unsure and not confident, she taught me how to earn the respect of my peers and everyone around me. 

Last but certainly not least, she taught me that blood does not define family. In the time that we’ve known each other she has become family to me, and she has shown me that dancers truly are family. She has welcomed me with open arms, and even though she is gone physically, her blessing and love is still around me and the bond we have will remain forever.

Let me tell you, please don’t ever think that I don’t need you Aunty. You have made one of the greatest impacts on my life and there will always be a time when I need a kick in the rear end or a helping hand. 

Oosha Saravanamuttu is a big reason as to why I do what I do. She has touched not only me, but all her students in a special way. 

I will continue your legacy with lots of respect and love.