Ragamala Dance Company will perform FIRES OF VARANASI at Soorya Festival this month
Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Ragamala Dance Company, now in its 30th year, presents Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim at the 45th Annual Soorya Festival from October 11-17, 2022 at various locations in Kerala, India. This six-performance engagement is part of Ragamala’s 22/23 season, which culminates with a 30th anniversary gala celebration in July 2023. For more information, visit ragamaladance.org/upcoming.
Rooted in the expansive South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, Ragamala Dance Company manifests a kinship relationship between the ancient and the contemporary. In their final one-night performance, Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim, eleven dancers conjure up a realm where time stands still and humans merge with the divine. Award-winning creators Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy imagine a metaphorical passageway that enters a ritual world of immortality, evoking the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor the life and death experiences of immigrants in the diaspora .
The reigning deity of Varanasi is Shiva, whose locks flow the Ganges. He is celebrated, invoked and worshiped in this sacred city, where his dance transforms the desolation of the cremation ground into a wonderful bhakti experience.
Bharatanatyam artists Aparna Ramaswamy and Ranee Ramaswamy have toured their work extensively and are renowned for their rigor, physique and poetic expression. They are senior disciples of Padma Bhushan Smt. Valli alarm.
The performances will each take place in a different location:
October 11, 2022: Kovalam
October 12, 2022: Varkala
October 13, 2022: Changanasseri
October 14, 2022: Vadagara
October 15, 2022: Pinarayi
October 17, 2022: Thiruvanathapuram
Ragamala Dance Company is the vision of award-winning mother/daughter artists Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy. Over the past four decades, Ranee and Aparna’s practice in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam has created a unique trajectory for culturally rooted performing arts in the United States to create an exemplary company in the landscape of American dance. Through intimate solos and large-scale theatrical works for the stage, Ranee and Aparna enhance the South Asian American experience. By engaging the dynamic tension between ancestral wisdom and creative freedom, they reveal the kindred relationship between ancient and contemporary that today’s world urgently needs. ragamaladance.org
About Ragamala Dance Company
Ragamala Dance Company was founded in 1992 by Ranee Ramaswamy and is under the direction of artistic directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, and choreographic associate Ashwini Ramaswamy (mother and daughters). Rooted in the South Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, the company has been hailed by The New York Times as “moving, imaginative, and rhythmically infectious.”
Ragamala Dance Company is a pioneering, cross-generational, family-based organization committed to the idea that while history is tied to time, the stories we share are timeless. Ragamala’s work in the performing arts is extensive. Ragamala looks far beyond the stage to realize the kinship between ancient and contemporary that today’s world urgently needs. Ragamala engages in collaborative practice with a myriad of artists and aesthetics and is rooted in the idea of Bharatanatyam as a dynamic living tradition. Ranee and Aparna’s training under legendary artist Alarmél Valli is the foundation of a creative philosophy that stems from beauty, truth and spirit.
With Aparna Ramaswamy as the principal dancer, Ragamala has been commissioned and performed across the United States, India and abroad, highlighted by the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Joyce Theater (New York) , Lincoln Center (New York), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (MA), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), American Dance Festival (Durham, North Carolina), The Soraya (Southern California), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT), Cal Performances (Berkeley), Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Just Festival (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India) and National Center for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), among others.
Ranee Ramaswamy sits on the National Arts Council, appointed by President barack obama. Recent awards and honors include Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellowship (Italy), United States Artists Fellowship, and McKnight Distinguished Artist Award.
Aparna is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship (Italy), Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Research Fellowship (Italy), Joyce Award, and Bush Fellowship for Choreography, among others, and was selected as the one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to watch in 2010. ragamaladance.org