Kandyan dance is an ancient art form the up country of Sri Lanka, region of Kandy. The first institutional school of dance was established in 1944 which led to a whole new chapter within the Kandyan dance tradition. Previously Kandyan dance was practiced via local Buddhist temples. Following the opening of Chitrasena’s Dance Company (1944), various gurus began to teach their own forms of Kandyan dance. SLDA is a Kandyan dance school and performing ensemble. Founded in 1992 by Tanya DeSilva, the program is now led by internationally recognized professional Kandyan dancer Dilhan Pinnagoda. Pinnagoda was able to bring the dancers to the next level of Kandyan dance.

After a year of practice, in August 2014 NWDT (now SLDANY) presented "Pahim Path Mangalya," a debut and graduation ceremony for its 11 most senior dancers. This was the first time this ceremony and right of passage, common for advanced Kandyan dance students in Sri Lanka, was performed in the United States