The Motive: Guidance (August 2017)

Ragamala Dance Company launches its 25th anniversary home season with an evening of dance by legendary dancer/choreographer Alarmel Valli from Chennai, India. Guru to Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy since 1984, their training with this master artist formed the foundation of their aesthetic and has been fundamental to the work of the company.

Says Aparna, "When I was 8 years old, I first saw Alarmél Valli perform in Minneapolis, and to this day, seeing her dance is akin to seeing something otherworldly. From that moment, I was forever changed. Ranee and I -- although from different generations -- underwent intensive training with her side-by-side, day in and day out, living and breathing this timeless, poetic art form." 

"We learned from our guru that the art is bigger than us, and we need to respect the lineage we come from," Ranee says. "Practice doesn't just mean doing the same thing day in and day out - it means exploring the depth of poetry, philosophy, musicality, theatricality that is the bedrock Bharatanatyam. We are honored to bring her to Minneapolis in September to learn from her and show this community the inspiration and motivation behind the work that we do."

Experience Alarmel Valli - September 14 & 16 at The Cowles Center

About Alarmel Valli

Ranee Ramaswamy, Alarmél Valli, and Aparna Ramaswamy post-performance in Chennai, India

Ranee Ramaswamy, Alarmél Valli, and Aparna Ramaswamy post-performance in Chennai, India

Ranee Ramaswamy, Alarmél Valli and Aparna Ramaswamy at their guru's home in Chennai, India

Ranee Ramaswamy, Alarmél Valli and Aparna Ramaswamy at their guru's home in Chennai, India

Ashwini Ramaswamy studying with Alarmél Valli in Chennai, India


Ashwini Ramaswamy studying with Alarmél Valli in Chennai, India

Thursday, September 14, 7:00pm
Artist Talk: The Moving Temple: Dance and the Divine
Ticket: $15

Saturday, September 16, 7:30pm
An Evening of Bharatanatyam by Alarmél Valli and a musical ensemble from south India
Ticket: $29

Artist Talk & Performance
Ticket Package: $40

Smt. Alarmél Valli's artist talk and performance are made possible by generous support from the Dr. Dash Foundation (Lead Sponsor), whose mission is to preserve and promote the rich heritage and culture of India; the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from theMinnesota State Arts Board and the Crane Group; Swathi Javavel, Priya Gopinath & Narayan Lakshmy, Godan & Savithry Nambudiripad, Shanti Shah & Stefan Peterson, Carla & Venkat Prakash, and Usha & Mukund Rao.

The Motive: Disruption (July, 2017)

Rekha Malhotra, aka DJ Rekha, is a true trailblazer in her industry. She exemplifies the idea that if you can't find what you want or need, you can create it yourself and disrupt the existing system. In an interview this week, she talks about her first encounter with Ragamala:

Malhotra confessed that when she first came into contact with Ragamala Dance Company while in residency at an art space, she assumed the director who had paired them together did so thoughtlessly because their artistic mediums were so different. However, what she discovered was a company that both challenged and advanced her way of thinking about performance, "Yet, what happened was that we found synergy. It wasn't because our art practices were similar, or the content of our art practices were similar, but in some ways, our methods were similar. Or our challenges were similar. Or our desire to build audiences." DJ Rekha said, "So, we were working with something that has a lot of preconceived notions, and we're trying to disrupt that."

 Read the full interview

The Motive: Exploration (June 2017)

This month, Ragamala's Choreographic Associate Ashwini Ramaswamy and Co-Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy focus on exploration, both collaboratively and geographically, in the creation of new work.

From Ashwini Ramaswamy, choreographic associate/dancer:

I am thrilled to announce that I will be the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music Series' Artist in Virtual Residence for the  2017-18 season!  Liquid Music's trendsetting virtual residency program will track the artistic process of my work with New York-based composer/DJ/author  Jace Clayton as we develop an original work slated to premiere in 2019. 

As a dancer/choreographer interested in the nuances within artistic and cultural hybridity, I am very excited to work with Jace, who dexterously defies categorization. To me, this project is akin to a Rubik's Cube with myriad possibilities and no absolute solution. 

I initially conceived the project after reading Speak, Memory, the nonlinear memoir by Vladimir Nabokov (whose art and life were heavily shaped by his transnational existence). Like a phantom limb, my Indian ancestry is a lingering presence that I carry with me - informing my artistic work and daily interactions - and sparking my interest in the specter of cultural memories throughout society. 

Among many splendid artists on the season are Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), TU Dance/Uri Sands, and Vijay Iyer. I can't wait to get started this summer!

Liquid Music 2017-2018 Season

 

From Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, Co-Artistic Directors:

Next week we depart for Bellagio, Italy for a Rockefellar Foundation residency to begin work on our large-scale project, Sacred Fire: Bone Within Ash (premiering in the 2019-20). While we are always together - brainstorming ideas and creating work-uninterrupted time for research and rumination is a rare gift. This month-long creative residency will allow us not only that time and an inspirational setting , but also the opportunity to engage with illustrious scholars and artists from around the world. We look forward to sharing insights from our time in Bellagio!

Liquid Music Ashwini Website Blog.jpg
 
Left to right - Aparna and Ranee working in Chennai, India (May 2016)

Left to right - Aparna and Ranee working in Chennai, India (May 2016)