Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Fires of Varanasi
Co-artistic directors Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy’s work embodies the artistic and spiritual traditions of India while creating a dialogue about the contemporary human experience. Fires of Varanasi, the culmination of an academic-year long partnership with Northrop, is a ritual for the stage where time is suspended and humans merge with the divine. Ragamala’s exquisite Bharatanatyam choreography, layered with an original score and an immersive set design, expands upon the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to illuminate immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora.
“Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer. This is an excellent company… Aparna Ramaswamy is an enchantingly beautiful dancer.” (The New York Times)
This event will be captioned, with other accessibility services available upon request.
Notes from the Northrop Director of Programming Kristen Brogdon
We will close the 2020-21 Northrop Season with the culmination of the Ragamala Dance Company's residency, titled Ragamala Rooted, with a student matinee of Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s new work, Fires of Varanasi, for students on Apr 30, followed by a matinee and evening performance on May 1. As one of the six companies featured in the new Northrop Centennial Commissions program, Ragamala's Fires of Varanasi will be the first piece you’ll be able to see at Northrop.
The artists of Ragamala are known nationally and internationally as a company that uses modern stagecraft to enhance the ancient storytelling art form of Bharatanatyam. They are one of the companies I programmed for my last season in Wilmington, NC, before starting this job at Northrop a year ago. Fires of Varanasi is large in scale and touches personal and societal themes of pilgrimage, migration, life, and death.
The Ragamala Rooted program includes a technical residency for the company this fall, which means the artists will work on our stage and with our technical staff to finish the work and prepare it for its performance life. One of the wonderful things about working with a Twin Cities company is that we are able to host the residency with campus and community engagement activities every month during the upcoming school year. Those activities will be online in the fall, and we’ll host in-person and online activities in the spring. The culminating performance of Fires of Varanasi will be a glorious finale for the Northrop Presents season. And following the performance, we’ll be hosting a special event called ENCORE, with remarks from the artists, drinks, and dessert on the Northrop Plaza. We invite you to join us and hope this event, and the whole season, will feel welcoming for all of our communities. Join us, and be moved.