Ragamala Dance Company: Song of the Jasmine
Ragamala Dance Company (Bharata natyam, Indian Dance)
Creators Aparna Ramaswamy, Ranee Ramaswamy and Rudresh Mahanthappa
In India, the jasmine flower traverses the world of man and the world of the gods. This inspired new work freely moves between past and present, composition and improvisation, music and dance, delving into the concept of longing through the lens of recollection, appeal and total surrender.
Guided by the rich poems of the Tamil Bhakti poet Andal, Song of the Jasmine embodies the spiritual and the sensual elements that are the lifeblood of the Indian psyche. Mother and daughter choreographic team Aparna and Ranee Ramaswamy collaborate with jazz saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, known for his uninhibited musical culture-crossing.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This engagement of Ragamala Dance Company is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The presentation of Song of the Jasmine was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This presentation is also supported in part by a generous gift from Janet and Jay Hawley.
Preview by The Washington Post
Choreographed by Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy of the Minneapolis-based Ragamala Dance Company, in collaboration with saxophonist-composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, the piece takes inspiration from the writings of the Tamil mystic poet Andal, known for her devotion to the god Krishna.
— CELIA WREN, The Washington Post, January 30, 2015
Preview by The Gazette
Through their traveling performances, both Ramaswamys hope to bring Bharatanatyam into the mainstream, creating different access points for audiences through the inclusion of music and visual art.
— KIRSTY GROFF, The Gazette, February 4, 2015
Review by The Washington Post
But the dancing could be fierce as well as soft. Light jumps and rapid barefoot pounding punctuated the curving, gentle bharatanatyam style of classical Indian dance, with its velvet footwork and tinkling ankle bells. At times the women would gaze into the audience with such a fiery focus you felt an irresistible pull.
— SARAH KAUFMAN, The Washington Post, February 8, 2015
Review by The Diamondback
It was the kind of soul-bending encounter that you can’t find in a church, a temple, or any place filled with incense and the chanting of monks. It could only be felt through a performance that demanded the complete surrender of your mind, body and soul, accompanied by an arsenal of magnificent musicians pouring their art into your pores.
— KARLA CASIQUE, The Diamondback, February 9, 2015