Can a single stage transcend global barriers?
Choreographers Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy use the philosophy and myth of Indian traditions to explore the interconnectedness between humans and the landscapes that shape them. Accompanied by live music, the evening builds from silent, meditative beginnings to a thrilling crescendo as the performers surrender to the beauty of the sacred earth that has been given to us to safeguard, cherish, and pass on to future generations.
Sacred Earth’s choreography, ranging from contemplative to ecstatic, brings both internal (akam) and external (puram) landscapes to life through two ephemeral visual traditions — kolam floor designs and Warli wall paintings — creating a sacred space and becoming a link between the intimate home and the vastness of the outside world. Kolams are rice flour designs made each morning by women in southern India as conscious offerings to Mother Earth. The Warli people of western India revere the land and live in perfect coexistence with nature. Using their everyday lives as inspiration, they create dynamic wall paintings that find the spiritual in the everyday.
Sacred Earth reframes the cultural specificity of the Bharatanatyam dance tradition, bringing the eloquence of the form to universal themes in order to spark a global conversation.
Where does inspiration come from? What makes an artist tick? Join us for a post-performance Q&A and get a glimpse into the lives and minds of the artists that bring creativity to the stage. Must have a ticket to this evening’s performance to attend.
Program Book [PDF]
Ragamala Dance’s Artistic Directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy bring their culture’s unique sensibility of mysticism, myth and sanctity to the contemporary stage. The mother-daughter duo was named the 2011 “Artist of the Year” by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Ranee Ramaswamy has been a master teacher and performer of Bharatanatyam since 1978. Since 1984, she has been a disciple of Alarmél Valli, one of India’s greatest living masters. Ranee has worked with celebrated artists such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy, legendary composer/ violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam, the Çudamani ensemble (Bali, Indonesia), and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara (Nagano, Japan). Among her many grants and fellowships are 13 McKnight Artist Fellowships, a Bush Fellowship, and an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International.
Born in India and raised in the U.S., Aparna Ramaswamy is a protégé of legendary Bharatanatyam artist Alarmél Valli, one of India’s greatest living masters. Described as “a marvel of buoyant agility and sculptural clarity” (Dance Magazine), “thrillingly three-dimensional,” and “an enchantingly beautiful dancer,” (The New York Times), Aparna and has been featured at prestigious venues throughout the United States and abroad, both as a soloist and as principal dancer with Ragamala. She has been awarded several honors, including two McKnight Artist Fellowships, a Bush Fellowship, an Arts and Religion grant funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, two Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grants, an Artist Exploration Fund grant from Arts International, the Lakshmi Vishwanathan Endowment Prize from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India), and the Sage Award for Best Dancer (Minneapolis).
This performance marks the UMS debut of Ragamala Dance.