The Motive: Curiosity (July 2017)

This month, I traveled to New York to begin work with Jace Clayton, aka dj/rupture, on our commission for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. While there, I attended a performance by Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigarawa and his company KARAS, and visited the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and The Rubin Museum. An artist should be curious, and being in New York always deepens my curiosity to explore.

While in New York, I attended the North American premiere of Sleeping Water, by Saburo Teshigarawa/KARAS, at Lincoln Center. Teshigarawa is a true auteur, and it is apparent that he plans his work down to the minutest detail. He is the costume designer, set designer, light designer, and choreographer; he is also a performer who, in his sixties, is on par with the other stellar dancers he shares the stage with. I cannot say that the show had no flaws, but I have not seen movement like his before and I will be looking for more opportunities to see this company in the future.

The Whitney Museum reminded me that one of the reasons I love going to museums is to be in a collective space with people whose sole purpose is the consumption of art. They are active in their seeking of new ways to look at the world. The artists on display, including Willa Nasatir, Helio Oitcica, Jessi Reaves, Deana Lawson, and the featured artist, Alexander Calder, exemplified a gathering of diverse, and sometimes competing, aspirations, beliefs, symbols, and histories.

The focus of the Brooklyn Museum is an exhibit on Georgia O’Keefe, but not a retrospective of her work. This was a look at O’Keefe’s worldview, and how she curated all aspects of her life to align with her aesthetic – to fill space in a beautiful way. I was surprised at how big of a role fashion played in her life, and how she incorporated a minimalist beauty throughout her surroundings.

The Rubin Museum, which focuses on Asian and Himalayan art, featured a new exhibit called “The World is Sound,” curated by former Ragamala board member Risha Lee. The crux of the exhibit is to learn to listen with your whole body, and it was a new museum experience for me – an interactive, immersive world that explores how sound and our sense of hearing shape our daily lives, our traditions, and our history.


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)