RAGAMALA DANCE is a nationally and internationally acclaimed company that unfolds the beauty, elegance, poetry, and driving rhythmic complexities of Bharatanatyam, the ancient classical dance of southern India. Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy bring to audiences a synthesis of the philosophy, mythology, and spirituality of India. With each new project, they push the boundaries of Bharatanatyam and strive to answer the question of what it means to be 21st century choreographers working within a classical, culturally-based tradition.
NEW: 1,001 Buddhas: the bards, the gods, and the guardians (avail 2013-14) Full details on the Ragamala website, premiere at the Cowles Center, Minneapolis, March 22-24, 2013.
Sacred Earth brings two rich and ancient Indian visual art traditions-Warli paintings and Kolam rice flour drawings-into conversation with Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Southern India. Performed against projected images of Warli paintings by master folk artist Anil Chaitya Vangad, Sacred Earth transforms the stage into a sacred space and invokes a deep connection to the Earth. Performed with an ensemble of Indian musicians.
Yathra (Journey) A visual reflection on the human experience, called "movingly meditative" by the New York Times, Yathra represents the cycle of one day, metaphorically tracing a human being's journey from the dawn of birth to the twilight of life.Yathra is set to an original score played live by Shubhendra Rao, acclaimed Indian sitarists, and Saskia Rao, a pioneer in the Indian music world for introducing an Indian cello she designed.
Sthree: inspired by the ancient Tamil epic Silappathikaram (The Anklet), and set to an original scored composed and played by Dr. L. Subramaniam -- one of India's greatest violinists - Sthree is an evening length work that transports the audience to the splendor of India's Sangam Period. Accompanied by English narration, Sthree is a haunting contemporary adaptation that explores the underlying tension between the principles of karma and dharma, the basis of the Hindu belief system.
Ragamala Dance offers one of the most respected residency programs in the country, encouraging students to explore the arts and culture of India while inspiring them to respect diversity. The company has commissioned several acclaimed artists of diverse backgrounds, including Japan-based taiko group Waidaiko Ensemble Tokara, and Bali-based Kecak artist I Dewa Putu Berata.
Ragamala Dance has won wide critical acclaim for its work: "only uncommonly open, creative minds could have dreamed up Bhakti." "Ragamala astounds audiences with works that expand one's perceptions of dance, cross-cultural collaboration, and spiritual meaning." Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Ranee Ramaswamy was chosen as a McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist in 2011, and Ranee & Aparna were named as "Artists of the Year, 2011" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.