Ragamala Dance and Rudresh Mahanthappa: Song of the Jasmine
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Ragamala Dance and Rudresh Mahanthappa: Song of the Jasmine

“Aparna Ramaswamy infuses the formal rigor of Bharatanatyam with fluid spontaneity and rock star allure.” —Dance Magazine

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 that are the lifeblood of the Indian psyche.

Ragamala Dance’s codirectors Aparna Ramaswamy and Ranee Ramaswamy collaborate with jazz saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa for an absorbing investigation of identity that conjures the past in order to experience the power of the present. Heralded for his “roving intellect and a bladelike articulation” (New York Times), Mahanthappa heads a new ensemble that features Rez Abbasi (guitar), V. K. Raman (South Indian flute), Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam, south Indian drum), and Anjna Swaminathan (violin) for a live soundscape of jazz and Carnatic music for five Ragamala dancers. Run time 75 minutes.

World Premiere/Walker Commission

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  • Commissioned by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Walker Art Center with support provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Cocommissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and Lincoln Center for Lincoln Center Out of Doors. In honor of Dale Schatzlein (1948–2006) and his important work in dance and jazz in the Twin Cities, additional support is provided by Emily Maltz.