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Making new strides with Rangi Fernando

By Mahika Panditha 

Meet Rangi Fernando; dancer, movement artist and instructor, meditation coach, and yoga teacher. Rangi started dancing at the young age of seven alongside her sister at the Channa Upuli Dance Foundation. Coming from a musical background, with her father being a musician, this was only natural. “As much as it started off as a hobby, it became more than about performing. After some time, my relationship with dance changed. I started improvising and dancing for myself rather than for others. Giving myself permission to move in any way that I felt like was a complete opening of a new life – a big unlock for me! It became an internal journey,” she said.

We had the chance to have a chat with Rangi earlier this week, and we got to discuss her style of dance. “It’s become my way of finding a balance and also my way of understanding myself better. It stayed with me through the years, almost like a religion and a belief system. Apart from that, movement also gives me the ability to dream,” Rangi told Happinez. She mentioned that she was also a shy kid, so it is still surprising to her when she sees her videos. Check out her conversation with us. 

 

Tell us about your style of dance: What’s your style? 

 

The type of dance that I prefer changes based on whatever I’m going through in life – movement becomes almost like my journal to me and my way of expressing different parts of my personality. I do learn the technicalities of dance, but my practice is mostly about letting my body move freely; moving with my heart instead of restricting. When I move, I blur the lines between styles and I’d like to think that’s my way of challenging societal norms instead of fitting into a neat checkmark box.

 

Tell us about your venture Sync & Move.

 

I formed Sync & Move in 2019 with the genuine calling to help people, provide people with tools to unlock layers of themselves, and open up new avenues in their minds through movement and meditation. I wanted to share the love for movement, yoga, and meditation with as many people as possible, as I realised that if it worked for me, it could work for others.

Through Sync & Move, I host personal, group, and also corporate guided movement sessions. The sessions are usually targeted and curated for specific themes, be it yoga, meditation, dance, or combination sessions. The foundation of all the sessions is to access the mind through the physical body and moving with the breath. During the sessions, participants gain access to techniques of breathing and meditation, stretches and movement they could incorporate into their lifestyles. Since its inception, Sync & Move has had over 900 clients taking various sessions and programmes, both in person and online.

 

Tell us a bit about the masterclasses you have been hosting, which have been the talk of the town.

 

I am constantly looking at ways to offer more to the people who watch my content and people who love dance. 

The masterclasses came about through this as I wanted to add another layer to the creative projects. As much as the videos motivate and inspire people, I felt there’s another step. After one of my projects – “prathihari” – I got messages from girls asking to learn it. I ended up hosting one random session which grew more and more until I had held five of the same session and continued to do two more. 

The masterclasses last two days with a packed schedule of a heavy warm up for both body and mind. I share insights into the techniques I practice, the routine, and training on performance skills etc. The girls also get to perform the routine at the end of the session. 

The sessions are empowering and it’s a quick boost of confidence for most. It’s hardly ever just about the dance! I conduct the sessions with the intention that each participant leaves the workshop happy, gaining more than they had when they walked in. 

 

What would you like to tell people about meditative movement? How can they get involved?

 

Meditative movement is really something that came to me in a different way, since for me it felt like free movement was meditating, so I went to explore more of it. I started researching more about it and went on to become a meditation coach. Meditation is really about finding the technique or type of meditation that works for you. It’s not always about sitting and meditating in the traditional way. Yoga is something which works for most people.

It’s also not something which happens magically, since it’s about showing up and dedicating that time consistently for the practice. 

Most of the time, the hardest part is trying it for the first time and making it to class and saying yes to a new experience!

 

Aside from dance and movement, what do you enjoy doing?

 

I am a qualified accountant and I come from a corporate background of 10 years in PR and marketing. So there is a very studious side to me that loves to study and read. 

Writing is something I enjoy doing, and I publish blog articles on my experiences and learnings in life, whenever I have time. Writing helps me to keep some of those learnings and memories alive more than a picture could. 

 

Do you have any advice for people who want to start on this path or get involved in dance?

 

I would say, find something that gives you the ability to dream – it could be anything – and start taking active steps towards it. It’s really about trusting yourself, working very hard and consistently towards your goals, and never being afraid to be a beginner and saying yes to new experiences.

PHOTOS © SANJEEWA WEERASINGHE